John and Alan in Malawi

John Challis and Alan Laverock have returned to Malawi for a short visit in order to monitor progress on the water wells project and hold discussions with various bodies on projects to be undertaken in 2010.

John will be discussing holding technical workshops and x-ray training in Lilongwe with CHAM (Christian Hospitals Association of Malawi) as part of the ongoing x-ray maintenance programme.

John and Alan will also be travelling to Livingstonia to discuss maintenace and repair of various DGMH properties and houses with Primary Health Care and the management of the David Gordon Memorial Hospital, using a skill sharing programme.

Farewell to Container FCL65 and to Liz

On Wednesday, 18th November FLC65 was loaded at Strachur and set off on the long journey to Ekwendeni. On board were over 1100 boxes and packages including an x-ray unit for Embangweni Hospital, blood bank, other hospital supplies, wheelchair, water tanks, tools, blankets and clothing, books and educational supplies, toys and teddies.

The rain, which poured down later in the day, held off unitl the last few boxes were being loaded. The doors were closed and sealed and, a few minutes later, the container was off on the first leg of its journey.

Wednesday’s loading was the last for Liz Keddie who is moving away from Strachur. For the past couple of years, Liz has helped Iain at the store in all weathers, with the long job of labelling all the boxes and packages and listing them onto the shipping manifest.

Liz is seen here with Donald Macnab, one of the volunteer container loaders. Farewell Liz – we will miss you. Thank you for all your hard work, We wish you much happiness in your new home – from all the team.

Water Wells Project

One of the objects of Chris Challis’s visit to Malawi in June was to finish a survey of wells in the Ekwendeni district. Many were found to be defective – some with minor problems, but about 40% were in need of major repair.

Funds have now been donated to undertake a water well maintenance project through the water department of Ekwendeni Hospital Primary Health Care. In this pilot project, the wells will be repaired and local committees set up to report maintenace requirements and test water quality regularly. John will be visiting Ekwendeni soon to monitor the progress of the project.

It is hoped that this project can be rolled out across Malawi, as the provision of clean water will make a great difference to the health of the region.

Ox Plough for Jumbo

Funds raised were used to provide a plough and ridger for the villagers of Jumbo, a village approximately 30 miles northeast of Ekwendeni. Villagers already owned a pair of bullocks which were used to pull a cart. They are now able to plough in 8 days the ground that formerly took around 10 weeks to prepare by hoe, enabling them to increase the yield of their land. In addition, the equipment can be hired out to other, nearby villages, thereby providing some income to Jumbo and helping to lift the people out of the poverty trap.

“Good Hope” on station at Mlowe

The Good Hope is being used to ferry patients, staff, supplies and the community down the lake, to and from Tcharo and Zunga, two villages which are very remote and have no road access.

The boat is coping very well in all kinds of weather and is greatly appreciated as it provides a life line service  to remote communities.