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Container Tales (2)
The Tale of the Kwenderana Partnership
The Church of Scotland congregations had supported and helped the folk in Ekwendeni for over 20 years. The connection became even closer when neighbouring churches Busby, Giffnock South, Greenbank and Williamwood joined together to form the Kwenderana Partnership 9 years ago. (Kwenderana means Walking Together) In November 2009 a covenant was signed between those churches and Ekwendeni CCAP church to confirm a Partnership, the main purpose of which is to support each other in prayer and by sending help in material ways. They also involve the local community and schools in their work
Since the partnership was set up there have been several exchange visits and they have sent hundreds of boxes of clothing, bedding, household goods, stationery, educational materials, medical equipment and tools to Ekwendeni and these are distributed by the Kwenderana Committee in Malawi, not only in Ekwendeni, but also in the villages and through Prayer Houses in the outlying area. They have also sponsored children through secondary education and raised money to repair boreholes and help with building school classrooms
Container Tales (1)
The Tale of the Orange Elephant
Early in 2013 an unusual delivery arrived at the Strachur store. It included 2 elephants, a horse, 2 motorbikes and a fire engine – all part of a complete set of playground equipment sent from Ballymena in Northern Ireland on its way to a school at Msongwe, just outside Mzuzu, Malawi.
On loading day Trustee Alan Laverock undertook to test some of the equipment – namely an orange elephant! The whole lot, including swings, see-saws and slides were loaded into the container.
Scroll forward 15 months, and Alan was reunited with his little orange friend in its new home in Malawi where it gives much enjoyment to the local children – and, we suspect, to Alan!!!
The third container to be sent from Dundee loaded on Saturday 5th July and is now on its way to Antwerp on the first leg of its sea journey to Malawi. Congratulations to all the team in Dundee. The variety of goods loaded into our containers is enormous – clothing, shoes, bedding, hospital and educational supplies, bicycles, household goods, sewing & knitting machines, craft materials, building and electrical supplies, toys, computers and tools. But what happens to all these goods when they get to Malawi? Where do they all go and who receives them?
Firstly, we are very grateful to Regent Gondwe (Senior Administrative Officer at Ekwendeni Hospital) and Jeffrey Mwala (Administrative Officer in Charge at Ekwendeni Hospital) who organise a team to unload the container and oversee the unloading at Ekwendeni, inform recipients that there are boxes on board for them so that they can be there to collect their goods and store boxes for those who cannot be there at the unloading. Without their help the work just could not continue.
Over the next few days we will post a short series of “Container Tales” with just a few of the stories of goods sent and received
A bridge for Henga
The Henga Valley is a fertile tract of land north east of Rumphi in Northern Malawi. In 2010, funds were made available for the people of the Henga Valley to purchase 2 bullocks and a plough to help improve food production. Sue visited the bullocks last year and found them (now names John and Charles) healthy and well cared for.
However the improvement in the lives of the people of the area was being held back by the lack of good roads, and in particular, a safe bridge over a deep gully.
In Spring 2013, John surveyed the “bridge” and work was begun during the autumn with local people, including Rev Major Highson Gondwe, supplying the labour. Unfortunately the bridge could not be finished in the time John had in Malawi, but he left instructions for the stabilising of the sides of the gully and returned this Spring to finish the bridge when the bridge slab was cast in concrete. The roadway approaches will be completed by the local community. The bridge will open up the village at Henga for domestic traffic – kids will be able to get to school all year round and commercial crops, such as cabbage, onions, maize etc., will be able to get to market.
FCL 92 arrives in Ekwendeni
We have heard that the latest container from Strachur arrived and was unloaded this afternoon (28th June) It has taken just 2 months from Strachur to Ekwendeni and Jeffrey Mwala, the co-ordinator of Primary Health Care for the Synod of Livingstonia sent us this message:-
I write to inform you that we have successfully off-loaded the container Shipment No. FCL 92 EKW this afternoon here at Ekwendeni Hospital. Most of the members whose items were in it came to witness and collect them.
We want to commend your trust for the untiring support being rendered to us in this country. Please extend our appreciation to all who share their resources to us so that we can serve God’s people well. May God continue blessing your trust and all others supporting us.
We pass on the thanks of all who receive the goods to those who donate, collect, pack, list and load containers in Strachur and Dundee
Thanks from Ekwendeni
We recently received this letter from Kistone Mhango – Director of the Primary Health Care Department of Ekwendeni Hospital:-
CHURCH OF CENTRAL AFRICA, PRESBYTERIAN
SYNOD OF LIVINGSTONIA
Greetings from Ekwendeni Primary Health Care Department. On behalf of the department, I am writing this letter to express our sincere thanks for the gifts that came to PHC Department through the recent container. We received the clothes for the children and knitted cloths for adults. We distributed these clothes during one of our static clinics and the recipients were very happy to get them as per the photos above. Besides that, we received the curtains and utensils. We have put the curtains in the windows of the PHC Block. Please extend our heart- felt appreciation to individuals, groups and congregations and of course to the Raven Trust team for organizing and put these items together for us. May God bless you abundantly.
Beekeeping in Malawi and Kenya
During his visit to Malawi, John visited the Livingstonia Beekeepers Cooperative – the end result of a project Begun by the Raven Trust 10 years ago when John was asked to send hives from the UK so that poor widows and families could generate a little income. Instead John taught locals to make their own hives and organised the training of Hudson Chisambo who, in turn, trained others in beekeeping and production of honey with the help of a colourful little book “Bees in Central Africa” which was written by Paul Latham and translated into the local language. In 2006 the “Honey House” was built to provide a clean space to produce, bottle and label the honey ready for sale. The cooperative now has 54 members who, between them, produces 7 tons of honey last year and Hudson has become a “trainers of trainers” in demand all over Malawi and beyond.
On his way home last week, John stopped off in Kenya at the request of a charity working there, to visit a community who would like to do the same as the Livingstonia group and advise them. He explained how they could progress with simple tools and equipment. Paul Latham’s book has already been printed in Swahili – the local language – and, it is hoped, that Hudson might also be able to visit to train and advise.
We have received a letter from Jim McGill of the Water and Sanitation department of the Synod of Livingstonia thanking the Raven Trust for the gift of a special water test kit which was donated to us.
Jim writes – We are assisting villages with potable water. Wells are drilled to 30 meters by hand in this area, which decreases the costs of water production and therefore allows us to produce more wells from the donations given for this work.
The geology of the area is challenging as it is at the end of the copper belt and on the rift valley and is such that there are variable concentrations of salts within the aquifers below the villages Although we find that the hand-drilling technology works very well in this area, we could not know the whether the concentrations of the salts were too great for the water to be considered potable. The Test Kit allowed us to see exactly how much salt is in the water, so that we could then determine which aquifer we needed to target for the village water supply.
This gift has been a tremendous assistance in our work to provide safe and drinkable water that will better lives through improved health.
First Dundee container arrives in Ekwendeni
FCL 90 EKW – the first Raven Trust container to be loaded in Dundee arrived in Ekwendeni today and was unloaded amid great excitement and happiness. Mr Regent Gondwe, Hospital Administrator at Ekwendeni Hospital kindly sent us this picture of the container being opened and unloading getting underway.
Congratulations to the Dundee team!
From beginning to end
The second container (FCL 93) to leave from our new depot in Dundee was loaded on Saturday 15th March. The weather was fine and a large team turned up to help load and to feed the volunteers. Thanks to all.
On Wednesday 18th March FCL 91 was unloaded at Ekwendeni. Mr Regent Mataka Gondwe, Senior Administrative Officer at Ekwendeni Hospital, sent us photos of the unloading along with a note of thanks to all those who donated the goods and all those who gave their time and energy to load the container. FCL 91 was loaded at Strachur on 17th December 2013, so it has taken almost exactly 3 months to reach its destination. We pray that the contents of the container will be used wisely and will bring joy to the people of Malawi.
Dental Supplies to Ekwendeni
During their recent visit to Malawi, Dunoon dentists Nigel and Vicky Milne discovered that there was a severe shortage of dental anaesthetic in the area. On their arrival back in Scotland they set about organising a supply to be sent to Ekwendeni and we have just received a message from Jeffrey Mwala, the Principal Hospital Administrator at Ekwendeni Mission Hospital, to say that a supply has arrived and will be shared between various facilities in the Ekwendeni and Mzuzu area. Dentists and patients alike are very grateful for the gift of the anaesthetic.
Second container ready to load at Dundee
The new team at Dundee will load their second container on 15th March and are hoping for another fine day. Goods have been arriving regularly and the team have been very busy. Goods arriving in plastic bags have to be repacked for the journey so it would be of great help if those sending goods could make sure that they pack them tightly in strong cardboard boxes (banana boxes are best) marked clearly with destination , recipient and contact details for recipient as this saves the time of the volunteers and David reports that they have run out of boxes!
The store is located at 11 Peddie Street, Dundee (DD1 5LP) and a map of the location is available using the following link:- https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=map+11+Peddie+Street+Dundee&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x48865cb614488235:0xe48e8979cc2c2295,11+Peddie+St,+Dundee+DD1+5LA&gl=uk&ei=4PUWU4STD6vnygOvtoIg&ved=0CC8Q8gEwAA
A big thank you to all our knitters
More boxes of lovely knitted jumpers, hats and vests have been arriving at Strachur, ready to go off to Malawi with the next container. The group in this picture are the “Woolly Tuesday Group” who meet every Tuesday in Newton Stewart library to knit for charity and who have recently sent us 2 boxes of knitted vests.
Another group who have been busy knitting are the ladies of Lismore Parish Church and the Lismore “Granny Bus” transport service on the island where one or two of the Senior Ladies have also got their knitting needles out (one for the first time since she was at school !)
Thank you to all of you – your efforts are much appreciated
First Container sent off from Dundee Depot
On Saturday 11th January the first container to be sent to Malawi from our new depot in Dundee was loaded. The day was bright but cold and the new team, under the leadership of David Randall, worked with a will to pack all the donated equipment and boxes into the container aided by Iain MacPhillimy, Rainer Schmitt, Alan Laverock and John Challis. Well done to the Dundee team, whose efforts can be viewed in a video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TXwlXtcHcM.
It is good to see the safe arrival of the containers at Ekwendeni and the distribution of the goods to various departments and hospitals. It is a tremendous operation involving all those who supply the goods, right through the listing, packing and shipping and all that this involves, to those who receive the items after a 10,000 mile journey by sea and road. Everyone has a part to play and praise God that everything arrives safely at its intended destination.
Progress on the Dentistry Front
The dental chair donated by the school in Elgin was successfully installed after some difficult and challenging work. Connections to services were made and welded locally. The return visit to Malawi of Nigel and Vicky, dentists from Dunoon, enabled them to use this equipment to undertake dentistry work in an area where the local people have no access to dental services.
The new mobile dental chair and sterilising unit also means that they can move around more rural communities.
While in Malawi they organised a conference for dentists which enabled colleagues to share experiences and difficulties. It hoped to develop this further in 2014