Mpachika ban 3

Our Twinning Partners – Before the second visit to Malawi

In September 2005 a group from Malawi visited Aberdeen.  Regrettably no one from our twin congregation at Mpachika was able to make the trip.  In the Christmas 2005 “Messenger” news from Malawi was not so good as you can read here, but Aberdeen Presbytery, including St Mark’s was able to send financial help.  The Watchnight Offering from St Mark’s as well as special offerings during Advent all went to Blantyre Presbytery to help.

Malawi – December 2005:

At time of print it is now some 10 weeks since the Malawians returned home from their trip to Aberdeen and I am still receiving letters and e mails from many of them saying how much they enjoyed their time in Scotland.  It is good to hear their news as well as keeping in touch with the friends Margaret and I met and those we stayed with when we were over in Blantyre in May.  It seems St. Mark’s was “on everyone’s lips” when they got home. They were so impressed by the hospitality they received from the dinner at St. Mark’s and the visits to the OAK café – especially when we did not have anyone visiting from our own church of Mpachika.  I have had disturbing reports from many of them about how the current food shortages and collapse of crops is affecting them and their families.  I hope we can do something soon to help but meanwhile, please remember them in your prayers during the festive season when many of us will have more than enough food to go around.

On a brighter note, John had this short piece in the Christmas “Messenger” as well.

Before the 2006 visit

I am delighted to inform you that I will be going to Malawi between 14 – 28 September 2006 to represent you all and to visit our host church Mpachika.  I hope there will be at least one other person from the congregation travelling with me but details will follow.

To facilitate the expenditure incurred on the travel and accommodation contribution, I hope to be having some fund raising events during the year, which will go into our Malawi fund.  I will keep you all posted on this.  Of course, if any person wishes to make a donation to this fund they are very welcome to do so.
John M Watson

The latest news (Spring 2006) from Malawi comes direct from Caroline Kandiero in Mulanje.

For the past two years, Malawi as a country has been experiencing food shortages.  As an African continent, not only is Malawi affected but many other countries have the same problem due to either dry spells or diseases.

In its effort to save the many lives of rural Malawians who are badly affected, considering the economic situation in the country, the government of Malawi sources funds and food items from donors as well as well-wishers.

The World Food Programme (WFP) came to the rescue and through many organisations in the country, like Oxfam, World Vision, Concern Universal and ADRA Malawi in collaboration with the government has managed to distribute food commodities to about 4 million people who were at the brink of death from August last year.

Here in Mulanje, which is under Oxfam care, the targeted beneficiaries are 72,594 and are picked from all the traditional authorities around the district.  Those targeted are those that keep orphans, orphan headed families, landless without income, small landholders with severe crop losses due to floods or dry spells and households keeping chronically-ill and elderly people.  The beneficiaries started receiving their entitlements in August and they will end this month (March).  That has been 50kg bags of cereals of maize, rice or sorghum per month.  But later increases in commodities of pulses were also given out – mainly peas and beans.  The pulses were given as 5kg per household and later increased to 10kg and at the meantime it has been scaled down to 2kg per household per month.

Apart from the cereals and pulses there was also an addition of vegetable oil in the month of Novemeber and each household was receiving 2 litres per month, but as of now each household is getting 4 litres.  Each household is supposed to have a single ration card no matter how big or small it is.  This is so, in order to reach out to as many hungry people as possible.  Though the entitlement might sound enough on paper, in reality it is not enough to cater for a rural family, which normally has a minimum of seven members and mostly goes beyond ten.

According to African culture, distant relatives matter a lot and many households keep relations and there is also a high rate of orphans being kept by grandparents due to HIV/AIDS, which is killing many youths and is the major cause of high numbers of deaths per household.

As for Malawi as a country, we thank all the donors and well-wishers for their support, as many lives have been saved.  All in all, this year promises good harvests and our only prayer is that the rains should stop in time so that the harvest should not go bad.

By Caroline Kandiero, Mulanje, Malawi