On Tuesday 28th August volunteers again gathered at the Raven Trust store to help load the latest container for Malawi. Over 1,100 boxes were trollied out of the store, lifted onto the container and carefully packed for the long journey by ship via Greenock, Antwerp, Coega (South Africa) and Beira (Mozambique) and then by road to Lilongwe and on to the final destination – the secure store at Ekwendeni. Thankfully, the rain held off until we were closing the doors of the container and we headed into the store for a short prayer and a celebratory cup of tea.
Thanks once again to our catering team who kept us all fuelled on tea, coffee, pancakes, scones, soup and filled rolls. Bon voyage FCL 83. We pray that your contents will prove a blessing to those who receive them in Malawi.
In partnership with Killearn Church, the Raven Trust is project managing the building of a house in Mzuzu to provide accomodation for overseas visitors and volunteers who assist with various projects. The house used at present will no longer be available as it is needed to house Synod personel. The new house has been given the name Jamieson in honour of the lady whose estate provided a trust fund administered by Killearn Church.
The house is almost ready and, in September, John will say goodbye to the house used at present and move to Jamieson House to complete and furnish the building ready for occupation by other visitors.
Dr Ross Muiry (affectionately know as Dr Ross) is a volunteer obstetrician who also looks after sick and premature babies at Embangweni Mission Hospital in Northern Malawi. When John Challis visited him this summer Dr Ross told him of the problem of the high neo-natal death rate (death in the first days of the baby’s life) when Dr Ross arrived in Embangweni in September 2011. On one morning he had arrived to find that three premature babies had died overnight due to a power failure which had caused the incubators to fail. The death rate has greatly improved since Dr Ross has taken over the care of the sick and premature babies but he explained to John the huge difference that having a dedicated special baby unit would make to the lives of these fragile babies and their mothers.
Some materials and equipment are already on their way to Embangweni in the same container as the “Robert Laws” marine ambulance and Dr Ross’s home church has begun to raise funds for the project.
Hilltop Craft House, although not quite finished, was in use when John Challis visited in July. It has been established by Ruth Nyondo just outside Mzuzu with support and funds from and through the Raven Trust. Here Ruth brings together local women and trains them in all sorts of craft and machine skills in order that they can help and support each other and gain skills with which they may be able to generate income for their families. The women make clothes for their children or can sell the articles. It is hoped to open a shop on the site where the completed crafts can be sold to provide some income for materials and overheads. The picture top right is a sample of the bags which some of the women make for sale.
The Raven Trust has also sent sewing machines, knitting machines and boxes of fabrics, wool, knitting needles and sewing equipment to Hilltop Craft Centre in its containers.
During his last visit to Malawi in July, John Challis was invited by Rev Levi Nyondo, General Secretary of the Synod of Livingstonia, to visit Mzuzu prison where Levi had been held during the troubles in Malawi last year. Rev Nyondo spoke to the prisoners and pointed out the door of the cell where he had been held. John then gave a Tambuka Bible to each cell and then went on to the women’s section of the prison where there were 8 prisoners. Each woman was given a Tambuka Bible. We have since heard that newly released prisoner has been in touch with the Mzuzu Evangelism Association and has asked for a Bible.