Container FCL 58 was loaded at Stirling on 21st July. We were lucky that the day was bright and sunny as the days before and after were wet. The container was loaded with school equipment which was surplus to requirements due to rationalisation of schools in the area, collection of the goods being co-ordinated by Trish Cooke. Most of the goods are bound for Bandawe Girls’ School and Ekwendeni Girls’ School in Northern Malawi.
Recently Keith Feay from Oldham came out to Malawi. He was able to work on the x-ray equipment at both Livingstonia and Ekwendeni. At Livingstonia he was amazed at the Gorodi which the equipment had been transported over! Yet after an hours work on various cables he was able to complete the installation and x-rays were being generated. It took a while longer to sort out the control side. Then a test negative was produced with a local bone from a goat. Fantastic to see this equipment working.
Likewise at Ekwendeni the equipment which had been idle for some-while, due to building work, was soon producing x-rays. It took a day to re-wire the various control cables. In both instances Keith was assisted by John Guyaner of CHAM, their field engineer and the local hospital electrician. After the rewiring the equipment worked and an x-ray of keys was taken.
This was the first visit of Keith to Malawi and he is already thinking about returning to undertake training in repair and maintenance of CHAMS x-ray equipment across the nation. There was much rejoicing at both hospitals at getting the x-rays working. At Livingstonia this is housed in the DOCI (Department of Clinical investigation) that has been funded by the Macnair Medical Institute. Besides X-ray this building now has modern Laboratories, Ultra sound and blood transfusion facilities also a generator shed providing back up power.
A few days after getting the equipment working, two radiographers arrived from Northern Island with Dr Maureen Stevenson. They were thrilled to see the x-ray working when previously it was just a pile of wires in a big box. It was not long before they had the equipment working and doing various tests then the patients arrived. Patients with suspected TB (which they were able to confirm) and a bad head injury etc. At long last they have the equipment fully working. The next stage is to provide automatic developing facilities.
A wonderful achievement by many people and organisations for the people of Malawi. Over the past few years much of the equipment for this unit and the hospitals generally has been sent out by one of the Raven Trust containers.
During John’s last visit, the fishing boat, recently built at Chilumba, was afloat but rather low in the water as it had broken its mooring and hit a local rock. Patrick, the builder, is going to get the boat out of the water and repair it so that on the next trip to Malawi I will get it sailing and working for its living.
Work is progressing on the clinic boat being built at MacDuff for use down the lake from Mlowe by Livingstonia hospital. It is hoped to have this finished and ready to launch in November. Safety equipment is still required and a few important items.
Container FCL55 has just arrived and container FCL56 is in Beira awaiting clearance and transport to Lilongwe. Once the containers leave the UK there is still much paper work to undertake and our clearing agent, Smile Namagonya, does a wonderful job in clearing the goods through customs and arranging delivery. This is not an easy task and each container has arrived safely and unopened. Recently the fuel cost in Malawi has gone up 25% and this will have an effect on delivery and shipping costs.
Number FCL57EKW was loaded on the 25th June from Strachur. It is wonderful how people turn out to help with the loading and the supply of food for everyone. The goods being shipped represent the love and care of many people and organisations across Scotland for the people of Malawi. Some have questioned the viability of the work and the answer must be in the joy in the eyes of those who receive the goods and the letters of appreciation from the institutions being assisted.
The Raven Trust now has a new website, which we will be able to update from the office. We hope to add much more timely news, keeping supporters and associates up-to-date with how projects are progressing and what the needs are. We hope also to provide more detailed information on individual projects so that others can find out what lessons have been learned. At this stage, there will be some gaps in the site as we create the new content, so please bear with us. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.