October Newsletter 2016

Our Smile Malawi family has grown again! We now have 43 children in our care - including 7 year old Deborah, pictured above.

During Elspeth's recent visit to Malawi, she agreed to take 4 more little girls in need into our home. Deborah comes from the local village, Kapeya, and has known Elspeth since she was tiny as she used to sit watching the local football matches on the pitch right next to the home. Her mother passed away last year and she was being cared for by her grandmother together with her little sister Dorothy. Unfortunately life in Malawi is getting harder, especially after the recent drought; the family could no longer feed them, so they have come to live with us.

Another of the little girls is 7 year old Felesta. Elspeth met her whilst walking across our land late one afternoon.She was carrying a small bowl of Madeya on her way from her home in Machemba village to the maize mill, (Madeya is the waste husk from the maize kernels and is usually used for pig food) as that was to be her family's only dinner that night. The imminent famine, caused by the drought, is already affecting the villagers and Madeya is all they have left from their meagre crops. It turned out that Felesta's mother had also passed away some years ago and she was being cared for by her elderly grandmother along with her little sister Faith. We asked her to send her grandmother to see us the next day who was relieved and delighted when we offered the girls a home.

Felesta, age 7...
..and sister, Faith


After reorganising beds and buying additional mattresses, all our new children settled straight away and are so happy in their new home. We are now full with 43 children, but it is really good to know we are helping so many of these vulnerable children to have a better future yet they can all maintain contact with relatives and are still in familiar surroundings within their own culture.

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This little piggy...!


On the Home front...

Our pig farm is surviving and we have had two more litters this year. Half the building was washed away in the floods last year, but it is still large enough for our needs. The older pigs were ready for sale last month and four have so far been bought, mainly by local villagers who want to breed from them. It is not particularly profitable as a business venture, but it's good for the children who feed the pigs each day and clean out the sty.

The second round house is well under way and will be ready to receive the roof before the rains come. It is hoped it will be complete by next summer ready for more guests. Everyone says the existing round house is lovely to sleep in as the thatched roof keeps it so cool. 



Round house being built.

Our thank yous to you...

Smile Malawi guests, Wendy and Madison Freestone, stayed recently in our round house. Our thanks go to them for all the lovely craft days they spent with the children, as well as helping at Machemba school, which the teachers really appreciated. They brought masses of Lego with them too, which will give the children hours of fun. They visited a small game reserve on the way back to the airport and were thrilled to see zebras and even a giraffe.

Childrens presents

Elspeth had collected 5 suitcases of clothes from friends and work colleagues to take with her, as well as several computers. The children were thrilled with all their gifts and send thanks to everyone who contributed. Check out Facebook for the girls in their pretty dresses, but here are the boys looking very smart on their way to church.

Vandyke Upper School Fund Raising

A big thank you goes to Sittingbourne Community College in Kent for their brilliant fundraising events in the summer and to Balfour Beatty at Greenwich who held a charity night in September and donated all the funds to Smile Malawi. These events are really appreciated as, together with gifts from our regular donors, they provide essential funding for buying food for the children and all the other operating costs, so thanks from all of us to all of you!

Childrens presents


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Our plans...

We are busy seeking sponsorship for the bridge project and are hoping to start construction in March next year at the end of the rainy season. Meanwhile Elspeth met with Chief Kapeya and Chief Machemba on her recent visit and they are currently consulting with the adjacent landowner to gain final approval of the route.

There was of course so little rain last year that there is hunger everywhere, but we are hoping that this season will be better. Planting will start during November. We are going to plant more maize this year as we have plenty of land and we have already employed some of the villagers to help prepare the soil and dig the ridges that the corn is grown in. Let's hope we can then feed all those extra mouths!

Our Children with their presents on Boxing Day

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