Shonga Bridge Opening

shonga-bridge-openipngThere was great rejoicing at the official opening of the new Shonga Bridge. The people of the area will now have year round access to health and education services and to markets. Before the bridge was built the villagers were cut off from these services as, in the rainy season, the whole area floods and the old bridge is submerged to a depth of 6 feet. To cross the flooded river safely, the new walkway bridge has been built some 9 feet above the old bridge level. The length of the bridge is 130 feet and was designed by Prof Alan McGown.

Nutrition Unit at Ekwendeni

nruAt Ekwendeni Hospital a well established Nutrition Rehabilitation Unit is led by Mrs Joyce Makandawere. Due to the poor harvest, Joyce and her team are seeing an increasing number of malnourished children. Normally, at this time of year, there would be no children there but on a recent visit 24 children were being cared for and this number is likely to grow.

The children are given Lukini Phala (a maize porridge enriched with soya and vitamins) and a specialist food bar to chew on. Each family takes home a supply to cover them until the next hospital visit and in addition the unit teaches mothers about diet, nutrition and growing vegetables and provides support and basic needs to the families including, clothing, most of which are donations shipped out in Raven Trust containers The families also have social issues which Joyce is able to address.

With funds raised, the Raven Trust has recently made available some £300 to help the unit with costs

Dundee Depot Full

15109537_925519360885856_7383305328091618747_nThe depot is now full and cannot accept any more boxes that have not already been arranged to be received. A container will be loaded as soon as sufficient funds become available. . We would, therefore,  ask that you delay deliveries until after FCL 105 has been loaded . Thank you.

Zenda Maize Distribution

Malawi is once again facing food shortages due to droughts in some areas and floods in others. The World Food Programme, Christian Aid, Oxfam etc. help where they can but these large agencies have great difficulty reaching remote villages which have no road access.dscn1384

In April Marion and Kevin Bickerstaffe accompanied John to a very remote village – Zenda. The chief and villagers told them of the village’s forthcoming food crisis. The Bickerstaffes decided to help and bought maize to send up to Zenda, where it was shared out among the most needy families.

Marion returned to the UK and, with the help of the local community in Blairgowrie, raised over £2,000. In Malawi, 150 x 50kg bags of maize was sourced from a large farm and a village which had excess. The chief at Zenda was able to identify and give tickets to families in his community who needed maize. When the Raven Trust team visited Malawi in the autumn, they collected and transported the maize to Zenda where it was distributed to the img_3741familes who had been given the tickets – 2 bags to each family. Chief Zenda and his people gave a very heartfelt vote of thanks to Marion and Kevin. Their gift (and the funds raised from the folk from Orkney to Plymouth, including the communities of Collace, Woodside and Burrelton ) ensures that, not only will families survive the “hungry season” this year, but they will also have enough energy to prepare the ground and plant next year’s maize.

Shonga Bridge

img_3513At  the beginning of September, John returned to Malawi. His main aim was to finish the building of  a walkway bridge over a stream at Shonga that floods to a great depth in the rainy season. The river, in the dry season, is only a few feet deep and can be crossed by a  wooden walkway made of tree branches. This lady is using the “old” bridge (with the addition of a few planks to make it safer during construction) to take her firewood home.

In the rainy season the whole area floods and the branch bridge is submerged to a depth of 6 feet. To cross the flooded river safely, the new walkway bridge has to be above this level so the walkway will be some 9 feet above the old bridge level. The length of the bridge will be 130 feet and was designed by Prof Alan McGown.

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In a short time the bridge began to take shape and the bridge approach was built.

 

 

 

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The construction went on apace. (“Old” bridge can be seen on the right of the new construction)

 

 

 

 

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Unfortunately, John had to leave Malawi before the bridge was completely finished, leaving Bob Baxter and Alan Laverock to “finish up”. This bridge will make a tremendous difference to the lives of the villagers, who will now have access to medical services, schools, church and markets during the rainy season.