I had plans on expanding on this post further because there is a lot to tell but I’ve decided to just post a few pictures and tell y’all my future plans, letting the details blossom in time.
Long story short, I got plugged into the orphanage by a friend named Jonea who knew of this orphanage managed by an azungu (foreigner) couple. Fifty percent of Malawi’s population is under the age of 18 because of issues related to HIV/AIDS, malaria and other serious diseases and illnesses related to poverty. I was curious to see this statistic firsthand.
I made plans to stop by the orphanage en route on my monthly trip to the bank about eighty kilometers away. The orphanage is called Tiyamike Malungu Center (rough translation: We Should Thank God Center).
I showed up at 2 o’clock and met most of the 116 kids. We played for a few hours and then I met the managers. We had dinner and talked without pause for a spell, all the while the kids making their way in and out. It was definitely a busy and pleasant atmosphere.
The compound is a decent size, approximately two acres. It has the mangers’ residence, classes for primary and secondary school, dorm-style rooms for the 116 kids broke up by gender and age, a mess hall and kitchen and a few areas for the kids to play (though there is a large soccer field right outside the front gate). There are several other out-buildings as well. For instance, one is for stores, one for a clinic and another shop for a part-time carpenter.
The compound is an environment more than adequately suitable to foster the growth of all these beautiful children! Most spoke English very well and were very intelligent, appeared to be clean and healthy and were all bursting with vivaciousness and verve! Compared to a youngster’s life in a rural village (which indeed exists right outside the confines of the compound’s walls), these children appeared to be doing exceptionally well (though that isn’t to say there aren’t happy kids outside the orphanage — there certainly are).
I really look forward to working with the kids. I plan to teach them about environment issues, horticulture and ANAMED in an interactive and fun format once a month (think guitar, learning games and hands-on sessions!).
Because once you’ve told a child, you’ve taught the world, right?