I’ve finally got round to writing up the last few days in Malawi and reflecting on the trip. As always I’ve been in a bit of a daze this week trying to readjust to westernised life.
After leaving Mzuzu we spent the last few days visiting my friends. First stop was Holy Family parish, Nkhamenya. I had spent two nights here last year whilst on the recruitment programme for St. Patrick’s and we had such a great time that they insisted that we visit this year also. Holy Family is Fr. Daniel’s home parish so first stop was to visit his mum. This woman is an absolute joy and without her speaking a word of English she manages to totally lift your spirits. It’s easy to see where Daniel gets his personality from. The two priests, Fr. Robert Mkandawire and Fr. Peter Ndolo, were also in sparkling form and could even rival the Rumphi priests. It was lovely spending time with them again. We then headed to Lilongwe to visit the Okoronkwo Family. Daphne taught at St. Peter’s for 10 years and she came to Scotland on the 2010 exchange trip. After a lovely meal and evening with the family Daniel escorted us to the airport for an emotional goodbye.
This year’s trip was undoubtedly a great success as I was able to drive the development work undertaken by St. Benedict’s but it was overshadowed for me by death of my good friend Fr. Francis. However I’m extremely grateful I got to spend some precious last minutes with him and attend his very moving funeral and burial. I was also honoured to be part of the form four Graduation which was especially meaningful in seeing Simon, Peter and Chikumbutso graduate.
All of the development work is of course due to the wonderful support I receive at St. Benedict’s from staff, pupils and parents and also the support from myself and Christine’s parish, St. Palladius Dalry as well as my family and friends.
I had more than £4000 to work with on this trip and this has benefited the community in many ways:
All boarding hostels, which were leaking badly, have been reroofed,
An extension has been built to accommodate 10 more form ones,
Every boy has received a new mosquito net,
A hardship fund has been established to prevent boys being thrown out of school due too poverty,
The form 3 retreat was funded,
A donation was made towards the cost of the graduation ceremony,
Every form 4 received a silver pen engraved with St. Patricks graduate 2014,
Each family in the local village received a support pack with sugar, salt and soap,
A hot meal with meat was provided for every orphan at each of the two orphan centres,
All new babies in 2 hospitals were given a set of hand knitted cardigans and hats,
St. Patricks hospital received medical supplies
And finally many priests received their annual whisky medication!
Thank you sincerely to everyone who supports the Partnership. I can assure you that the work I am able to do on your behalf is changing many lives for the better. As my Malawian friends often say to me about the support they receive:
We do not have the words to thank you, we have nothing to give you in return but we pray that God will thank you for the wonderful things you do for us.
Please continue to pray for the success of the partnership in years to come and if you are not already a sponsor please consider joining the Friends of St. Patrick’s scheme which funds most of the development work. A direct debit of £5 or £10 a month wouldn’t make a tremendous difference to your life but it would to their lives. A form can be downloaded from the website.
Roll on next year when a St. Benedict’s group of 25 will head off for another Malawian adventure.
P.s. Thanks to Christine for sharing the experience with me this year. Her first visit I’m quite sure will not be her last.