Friday, May 15, 2009

Hello from Malawi

We fly back to Harare tomorrow. We have had a busy week here - checking out projects as well as having some fun sight-seeing trips with the Bouwhuis. They have been great hosts and have treated us royally and fed us too well!

We have seen some beautiful scenery - from the very top of a mountain to down at a couple of game farms. WE have lots of pictures that I will send later. We saw girraffes, elephants, warthogs, impalas, waterbucks, zebras, wildebeests, bushbuck, red hartebeest. The first elephant we saw was off in the trees so we waited as he wandered closer to us so we could get a picture. When he got to the edge of the trees he didn't seem to like us much - or perhaps he was just feeling fiesty but whatever the reason he suddenly trumpetted and started to charge at us. Elder Bouwhuis quickly gunned the engine and got us out of there. We did get some pictures though. It was a little scary! We saw him again on our way back and he was in the middle of the road so we stayed back and waited for him to leave. We saw a total of 12 elephants.

At a game park we visited a couple of days before that we saw 16 girraffe and got some good pictures of them. They didn't bother with us.
We visited Queen Elizabeth Hospital this morning and the matron took us on a tour of some wards. Wow! I hope I don't need to go there! We are looking at doing an initiative there - donating some items that they REALLY need: patient trolleys, dressing trolleys, blood pressure machines (manual), kidney dishes, thermometers, and a couple of other things. They could use some wheelchairs too. The conditions were pretty sad compared to our standards. There are not enough nurses - people must have their own caregiver to help them. They are over crowded with some mattresses on the floor and not enough bedding, gowns, etc. etc. etc.

We looked at another couple of possible projects here in Malawi as well - the pig project where a bred sow is loaned to a family and they care for it and must give back 2 piglets (1st litter) and 1 piglet (2nd litter) and they can learn to use the project to become self sufficient. The organization that we would partner with seems really good. They want us to pay for 6 or possibly 12 pigs to get some people started. Bouwhuis' did already buy 1 sow for them and it has had 9 piglets (1 male, 8 female). So - that is a good start and people who see this lady that is taking care of the pig are now interested (they thought she was crazy to begin with - but now they can see results). They have to be able to feed the pigs and build a proper pen etc. etc.

Our other project here that we looked at was a place that is building wheelchairs. Handicapped people do the work so it would be helping them as well. Their methods are rather archaic but the chairs look pretty good - using bicycle parts for easier repair. They are 3 wheelers and are driven by the hands with pedals in front of them. They are good for rough terrain or hilly areas (as is the case in Malawi). They also make regular wheelchairs.

We have to decide which projects we should do and which ones would be good partner organizations that we can trust and also we look for a 'champion' (person who drives the organization). It has been interesting.

Malawi seems to have much better roads overall than Zimbabwe. We were in a grocery store that actually looked like a regular grocery store with more modern things on the shelves. There are areas that are high density with the street merchants/markets and I wouldn't want to go there to shop. Also areas and children that have very little. We didn't really go out to any villages but there are lots of them throughout - same as Zimbabwe. Overall, I think Malawi seems a little better - maybe!

The Bouwhuis' leave to go home in 3 weeks (to Clearfield, UT). They have been here for a 23 month mission. There 11 children and 49 grandchildren will be happy to see them and vise versa.

Must run. Will try and send more on the weekend. Love, Elder/Sister Bullock

1 comment:

  1. I have found your list of projects very interesting and all these beautiful and detailed photos amazing. IT was like I was right there! Thanks SO much for sharing your experiences, as you have the time. What a priceless journal you are keeping!