Last full day in Lilongwe and project visits

Sunday, October 12, 2008
Mangochi, Malawi
Today is our last day fro our visiting in people's homes of those who have received LifeNets grants. So far we are very pleased to see the progress and improvement in their lives. We start by picking up Wordsworth Rashid at his home and heading west toward Zambia. We will visit the Jumpha Clinic run by Cephas Chapamba and his wife Patricia. We have become more and more brave driving by ourselves on Malawi roads.  

Driving an ambulance has been a great advantage. There are occasional police roadblocks who check for your driver's license and insurance registration. Sometimes they check cars for hemp and other drugs. When they see our ambulance they salute us and allow us to pass with no questions. I have learned to snappily salute back. However, at one intersection I saw a figure what appeared to be waving at me in a uniform. I came to a screeching halt. However, upon closer examination, it was a woman in a colorful dress doing some kind of dance for fun. I didn't even need to salute!
Back to our day. We picked up Wordsworth and proceed west. We stopped by the home he used to live in where he was robbed on August 22nd. Two gunmen climbed over a wall, tied up his security boy and went on into his and wife's Roselyn's bedroom where they accosted them and locked them in the room. They got a hold of all their cell phones to cut off their communication. As I've said Cell Phones are one of life's necessities here. It could easily be said that the four needs of humanity here are food, clothing, shelter and cell phones. The robbers took a laptop computer (that I had just sent a new battery for two months previously), money, the cell phones and some other items. The most frightening thing, though, was being assaulted by guns. One of the men was masked. Wordsworth followed the tracks of the thieves that led towards another home. The next day neighbors said that people in that house came back from town with lots of purchased goods. But, it will be hard to prove anything. The police do little or nothing and when you are robbed you are on your own.
On to Cephas Chapamba's! We arrived in his village called Nkhwazi where the Jumpha Clinic is located. He is the owner and chief medical person here. He is what officially is called Medical Assistant. He is on the LifeNets Developing Nations Scholarship Program studying in Blantyre to upgrade to the position of Clinical Officer. He has one year to go. This will put him in a status just below doctor. He will then be able to do surgical procedures such as C-sections, hernias, bowel obstructions, bilateral tuba ligations and much more.
While Cephas is in school he a Medical Assistant by name of Fred Chakombo who runs the clinic. He has been Medical Assistant for seven years. In the first five years he has been run the clinic from his home. He has since built a nice building across the street. He calls it the Jumpha because that's Cephas Chapamba's middle name. LifeNets has provided this clinic with medicine for the past four years. We found that while there what appear to be many clinics in Malawi, most do not provide any medicine. Also, some are not clinics and only fronts for other businesses. Some do not have properly credentialed staff and the government has been cracking down on the corrupt clinic culture. Many many clinics are there because they are sponsored by churches from the West or NGO's like LifeNets.   
He gave us a tour of the clinic. We were impressed! There are about 150 patients who come through every day and this is the slow time of year. The clinic gets much busier during the rainy season. The busiest month is March. The village of Nkhwazi does not have electricity, therefore the clinic has no electrical power. At his home Cephas has solar panels and an inverter that powers his television and a few electrical appliances.
Then we looked around his property. He has just extended it further back where he plans to build a home and then turn his current home (which had previously been the clinic) into a maternity ward.  
The clinic is within Malawi, but is very close to the border of Zambia and Mozambique. In those two countries there are no nearby clinics, so people come to the Jumpha Clinic.
After the tours we came back into the house and talked some more before leaving. By the way, Cephas is the brother of Jesse Nyalubwe and the son of Deloes (the woman who had the stroke). His children was are George (born 1999) and Deloes (named after his mother and born 2004).  

Our next stop was in Likuni Village where LifeNets has financed a small grocery outside the home of Evans and Esther Kalima. He is a school teacher in this village. This is actually where Wordsworth lived and taught.
As we drive on the bumpy road children should "Azungu."  We think it's a greeting. It actually means "white man."  Children see an ambulance filled with white men. It's an event.
LifeNets has financed a little grocery that is run from a stand right next to his home. Here they sell small 7-11 type items to their village such as sugar, salt, detergent, soap, kerosene, batteries, air time for cell phones (of course), eggs, fruits, cookies, candy and such. The location is great. They attended Jennifer Myer's Business 101 seminar in June. They still have some business hurdles to get through for greater profitability, but they are getting there. We humorously call his enterprise "Evans Eleven." 
It starts raining very hard as we drive up to the store and the Kalima's home and we are escorted one by one by Evans Kalima into the house. Then we visit in the home. Their children Chimwemwe (meaning "Joy."), Emmanuel and Chicongi (meaning "Love") appear. Also a chicken comes running into the house and raises a clucking fuss. No worries. The chicken is cared for in the adjoining room.
As our visit nears its end we are presented a gift: The Chicken. Really! They tied the chicken's feet and gave it to us. We asked for a box. No problem-one appeared. And after a few more pictures we headed off in the light rain to our next stop.     Wordsworth commented how Jennifer loved the color of the reddish soil which is called "katondo." 
Our next stop was James and Loveness Luwanja. I officiated their marriage two years ago at this time of year. He is a plumber and she is a beautician who have their own businesses and operate from home. We have have helped them with tools and beauty equipment. They are now wanting to place their business in the market area and have their structure half-built. It is a small building in two sections that will be for each of the businesses. We are pleased by the entrepreneurial attitude shown by this young couple.
Then we picked up Howard Elia and his wife who are building a nursery school in Lilongwe's Area 49. This project has been started two years ago, but has had a few miscommunications. It was come out to the site and to see it first-hand. It always makes a big difference to see a project on site in the context of the people and the environment. This school will be a pre-school for those age three to six. It would operate as nursery school until noon and as an enrichment school for high school in the afternoons. There is a great demand for both here.
The foundation has been laid for the school having two classrooms, reception and an office for teachers. We want them to complete one classroom and start the school. Being a private school it would charge parents. With the profits from starting the school as a one room school we would complete the rest of the school. We were very glad that we came out here to see the school. We do want to create a school committee before we proceed further.
From here we went to Albert Gama's property were he farms. He and his brother Pearson have a piece of land that's about two to three acres. It's very fertile and the crop beans, bananas, tomatoes and other vegetables looked quite good for the dry season. They have a source of water that seeps from the ground. The way they water is draw water out this hole with sprinkling cans and hand water the entire crop. Very difficult. They would like a grant for a treadle and engine pump.
We have several new grants like this consider and will consider them as we budget out our anticipated revenue for the coming year.   
From here we went back home. We had to fill up with diesel and thought it might be nice to have a bottle of Coke. A locked refrigerator was opened. As our vehicle was filled we were told that we could not leave with the bottles. We had to finish them on-site. They had not process for paying for a bottle deposit.
From there we went to an Indian restaurant called Blue Ginger. With the Lockwood's we had another enjoyable evening. From there back to the Ufula Gardens-home-for relaxation. I stayed up a while going through the two sermons that I've coming up starting tomorrow night. 
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