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Malawi, Kondani Update


September 2008

Dear Friends,

I have just come out of the learning centre were our children study. I had an interesting conversation with them which kind of left me wondering why I spoke to them in the first place.
Last week one of the children’s work book instructed her to write a letter to her daddy. Our children work at their own pace so it was not all of them who had to write a letter.
She went to Fiona her teacher and said, Assisi Fiona, (the way they address her), how can I write a letter to my daddy because I do not have a daddy. Fiona said, God is your Father and you can write Him a letter, and that is what she did.
For me it was a sign that the time had come to talk to the 9 and 10 year olds about them being orphans.
They all sat on the mat, very quite, as if it was a holy occasion, little faces looking up to me, wondering what mummy wanted to tell them, and me praying for all the wisdom I could get, to tell them in the right way.
I went ahead and told them that all of them I had chosen as tiny babies to come to Kondanani, and that I was so very happy to be able to care for them. I continued to say that their mammy and daddy had gone to live with Jesus in heaven. I also told them that there was a sickness called AIDS and that many people in Malawi had died because of that sickness including many of their parents. Well I was so moved by my own story that I nearly cried myself when I looked at all these beautiful little faces.
After having finished my “sad” story, I asked if they had any questions. One finger went up and the first question was, when are we moving into our new school. I was completely taken aback by the response, other fingers went up because they wanted to know when they were going to the game park. Here I sit telling them what I think is very serious story and they don’t even react.
I now realise after having spoken to my fellow missionaries that, the children have no idée of a “normal” home with a father and mother. They live in a home now, they have their brothers and sisters and mummy is always there or the house mother, all their needs are met. They must have wondered what MY problem was, and wondered what they were suppose to be missing..
What I wonder about is, will there be a time in their lives that they will grieve over the loss of their biological parents ?
If that happens I am sure we will be able to deal with it although I am not sure yet at this stage.

Every Tuesday evenings, as missionaries we split up into different houses and do special things with the children, it may be hide and seek or playing games. Last Tuesday evening the 4 year olds wanted to have a talk with Cherie. They were intrigued by the fact that the cleaning lady of their house had had a baby and this had to be discussed at length. All of them had a theory as to how the baby had come out of her tummy and felt the need to express it. One of them was very sure she had the answer, she said, she saw Annie, (the name of the cleaning lady) going to the toilet every day (must have had morning sickness throughout the pregnancy) and she was always coughing in to the toilet, so when the baby was big enough she coughed it up, and that was the answer and all of them agreed because they had seen it too. I just love them, kids can be so amazing with their answers.

The children are on holiday at present, they are having a great time helping where ever they can. I watch them and I can see that it really makes them feel big helping the gardeners or the carpenter and they love helping at the farm.
Mpatso was a bit naughty today though, he decided to be very bossy and told the welder that if he, Mpatso, could not do the welding, (the welder told him that it would be to dangerous), he would be reported to mammy and be fired. In fact he told the secretary he has a list of workers he is going to get fired. He will one day become quite a leader we just have to steer him in the right direction.
Mpatso had to come to my office with the welder and got his lesson on how to respect an adult and apologise. No doubt they are growing and as they grow older they get a bit cheeky sometimes , part of growing up but they have to learn the right way.

12 of the bigger children have gone to the game park for 2 nights, they will be back today and no doubt have a lot to tell.

I pitched the big tent in my garden, and for the last two nights spoiled 2 groups of the bigger children, we had a swim, made a big bon fire, baked the marsh mellows in the flames, sang songs around the fire, looked at a DVD and slept in the tent. I get so much joy out of them having joy.
In case you can’t remember the ages of the children, the oldest are now 10 and the youngest I am not sure, it’s a little baby.

We have just had a very busy weekend and a very exciting one too.
A few hours ago I had a group of 52 women here at the office, full of joy, the joy had lasted since Saturday when they, in our small village caused a traffic jam. The reason being that Kondanani arranged a Choir Festival for our area and the Catholic Women’s Choir won first prize, they took up the whole road dancing and singing after they had won the prize. An amazing day we had, Kondanani Choir won 2nd Prize, we were proud of our staff.
We want to have an impact on our community, we want them to know that we care.
The first Wednesday of every month a village headman comes with his poor people and they have a meal with us and we give them clothing.

I have to wear so many different hats here at Kondanani, most of them I did not expect to wear when I started. This morning I had to be the City engineer. It is all very well to build buildings, BUT the infra structure has to be develop along with it, in a city, electricity, water and sewerage has been provided for, but not in the African village, I must be honest I don’t always find that an easy task, but I am learning all the time.

There has been lots of activity here, This coming Monday the older children are moving into their new school, it looks amazing, please have a look at the web side www.kondanani.com The children are doing very well at school, soon it will be December again and I wonder what the average will be for the year, last year it 96%,very good and all the credit goes to the principal Fiona and the teachers. We thank Father God for the wisdom He gives.

The new “Caring Hands” is being roofed at present, things are a bit slow but as long as we get the roof on before the rains we can continue with the project. A building of 610 sq.m is quite a big area, it is going to be very beautiful for our babies.

We have moved the pigs to their new home and will soon not have enough space again. We have to use some birth control with the pigs. But it is a good income generating project.
I have got all the farm staff on profit sharing, but, what a battle to get them to understand the principal. I have long lectures with them about debit and credit, words they have never heard or understood. But it is fun because, there is education at the same time.
In their mind, if we get more staff members, more work gets done, and I am trying to in still into them that they need to work harder to achieve more, to make more profit, because more staff members eat into their profit.
They are learning, they have a good mind yet never had the opportunity get an education.

Our nursery school is being extended by 5 class rooms, it is nearly up to roof height and I am pleased that we will be able to put the roof on before the rains come, the work will then continue.
We have a new principle since Jan this year her name is Samantha, she is well qualified to run a nursery school and is doing an amazing job, in fact I am learning from her every day about early childhood development.

In a weeks time we will be having an other couple come from Holland to adopt one of our little ones. It will be the 5th child to go to the land of my birth. The first two visited me in May 2008 when I was in Holland, and now they speak Dutch, they are so cute, only this week the parents phoned me and the children were singing Dutch songs to me.
The families over there are really great people and are getting together at times with their Kondanani children.

We also had a local adoption, a wonderful well off family, who were prepared to adopt a 5 year old abandoned child. Praise God she now has a loving family.

I can’t think of anything sad, so rejoice with us. Pray for our protection, we have frequent burglaries this of course is not pleasant, but that is not were our focus lies.

Meriah who went to Nigeria for prayer is doing well, she will go to big school next year. Ones again thank you for your contribution towards her trip.

We as Kondananians sent our love to you all.
Annie Chikhwaza.

2008 Sep