We have arrived back “home” in Dedza after our community stay these past 3 days in Mngwere. Its always such a privilege to be able to live in a community for a few days, to be welcomed into someone’s home, and really get to know a community. We had a brilliant time! Not to mention a fun journey, to community and back, via bicycle taxi for the 12km journey which took 1.5 hours due to the poor quality of the “roads”. A great way to take in the beautiful Malawi countryside! Although a little challenging on the back side at times 😉
There is one story from a home visit on our first day which has stuck with me, heavy on my heart, and I want to share with you.
Its the story of Masamba. Masamba is 10 years old (however very small for his age, similar to the size of someone half his age). On meeting Masamba he appears solemn and withdrawn. Masamba’s mum died when he was 5 years old, and his dad subsequently took off (as is common when the mother passes away). Masamba is the youngest of 4 children, which left the then 13 year old sister to care for the family.
Masamba’s oldest sister is now 18 years old and married with a child who is approximately 1 year old. Masamba’s sister, husband, child and the second oldest sibling in the family sleep in the main house.
When we asked to see where Masamba sleeps we were directed to a small hut. In fact, it was the kitchen. A small round hut no more than 1.5m in diameter. Half of the hut was filled with cooking utensils and the live gunea pigs (which will become dinner at some point). What was left of the hut is the space in which Masamba and her 12yr old brother Alfred share to sleep. The space was so small that there is no room for a sleeping mat. Masamba and Alfred just have one blanket to keep them warm as they sleep in this tiny space on the cold, uneven dirt floor. It was honestly heart breaking to see. Additionally, the kitchen hut is far from the main house making it unsafe for a 10 and 12yr old to sleep in alone. If anything were to happen at night, the siblings in the main house would be too far away to hear.
The beautiful feet in this story are those of a care worker named Henry. He visits Masamba and Alfred more than twice a week to check on their ongoing well being. Masamba had been ill for a week prior to our visit and Henry had been visiting the home almost daily. The relationship between Henry and Masamba was beautiful to watch. On arrival at the home Masamba jumped straight into Henry’s lap and clung to him the whole visit. Henry consider’s Masamba as his own child and the affection is clearly mutual. Masamba and Alfred both attend the daily feeding point at the care centre to receive a hot meal and Masamba has started school this year in Standard 1 (grade 1) at the community school run by the CBO.
We walked with Masamba back to the carepoint for the daily meal. As he had been sick, he was still too weak to walk the whole way, so Henry carried him on his shoulders.
Its really tough to see the conditions that our orphans are living in on a daily basis. To see the injustice of these situations they have been born into, totally outside of their control. But I am so thankful for these incredible care workers that give so much of themselves to genuinely care for these children on a daily basis. Please keep Henry, Masamba and Alfred in your prayers.
Psalm 72:12-14 (NLT)
“He will rescue the poor when they cry to Him; He will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them. He feels pity for the weak and the needy, and He will rescue them. He will redeem them from oppression and violence, for their lives are precious to Him.”