Arriving in Malawi on 9th April it was hard to believe that it was 8 years since either of us had been there and 30 since our first contact with Booker. Teresa, our administrator, was then a small child and now has two children of her own. After viewing many photographs of the developments over the past few years we were about to see it all for ourselves. Our first impressions of Lilongwe were that, like many cities, it seemed bigger and bustlier than ever. Indeed over the next few days we were to realise that while some people have become more affluent many have become poorer. It seemed apposite then that our latest project is an orphanage for children left destitute. Janet House in Lilongwe had just taken its first three children the week before we arrived. Eventually there will be 25. Later in the week we were taken out to the countryside where another development is under construction to house children from the rural villages.
Taking on the long term fostering of children is of course a big responsibility and one which needs a great deal of thought and support. BFM has purchased land to create a smallholding to help provide food. Currently the harvest is ground nuts but later in the year maize will be sown and hopefully other crops will follow. There is a need to drill for water to make this project sustainable in the long term.
Falls and KAPS schools continue to thrive. Although the schools had broken up the week before we arrived we did meet many keen students who were putting in some overtime, revising for summer exams. Both schools take children from pre-school, enabling them to study right through to the Malawi Certificate of Education which is the equivalent to our A-levels. There are upwards of 600 pupils in the two schools. A brand new science lab is about to open at KAPS and we were able to help with buying some furniture and equipment for it. You may remember that we have built three libraries which are then run by the National Malawi Library Service. The library at KAPS is so well used that we have been asked to consider building an extension for it.
We had the opportunity to take the time to discusss the long term future of BFM and have created a BFM Malawi committee to consider the long term sustainability of the projects and the organisation. We appointed Lameck on a part time basis to support Teresa with the development of this so that its long term future can be assured. The first step is to secure the legal basis for the organisation and ensure that the assets are protected for the future.
Ten days whizzed by and we returned home reassured that some really great work is been carried out. We were also enthused and excited by the new projects realising that there is much vital work to be done.
We would like to say a HUGE thank you for your support over the years, particularly when there has been long silences but be assured that many, many children and students have benefited from your
help and generous support.
Sandy and Mark