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Malawi Update from Dustin

August 7, 2008 7 Comments Share

Well here we are, sitting in South Africa trying to figure out what to do with our time in Malawi. The experience hit everyone differently and everyone seems to be processing it differently. We left Malawi yesterday after spending the morning with Partner’s in Hope, a ministry that is providing free HIV/AIDS care to Malawians in need. Our journey out of Malawi went relatively smoothly. Ironically, it was the two correspondents, Carrie and I, who ended up with a little bit of the Malawian stomach. Fortunately for me, I was not feeling so hot during our time at Partner’s in Hope. There is no more convenient place to be sick in Malawi other than a hospital run by American doctors. Dr. Jantz gave me some anti-nausea pills and some electrolyte packets to keep me hydrated. While our flights to South Africa proved to be tough for me we made it and today I am feeling much better. Unfortunately, Carrie seems to be a day behind me and is not doing as well. Your prayers for a quick recovery would be greatly appreciated.

Our internet here at the hotel in South Africa seems to be a bit better so I am hoping data files will send. Despite our internet troubles, Carrie and I still have a number of photos and pictures to post so we will continue to do so even after our return home to the states on Sunday.

Our team would appreciate your prayers as we try to figure out how to sort through all that we have seen and experienced.

Dustin and the Malawi Team. Check out some of the latest pics below!

Andrew with the Kids
Andrew with the Kids

Cindy with the Kids
Cindy with the Kids

Andrew with the Kids
Andrew with the Kids

Keren with the Kids
Keren with the Kids

Jason Holding a Baby
Jason Holding a Baby

7 responses to “Malawi Update from Dustin”

  1. emily fazakerley says:

    hi, all! it’s awesome to read about the ways God’s been using you over there.

    hilary, come back. i miss you. i can’t wait to hear how you coped with no luggage for most of the trip. you are a trooper!


  2. I received this e-mail from Marilyn Mulcahy which I would like to pass on.
    You cannot miss the excitement, the energy and the sense of accomplishment in her words.

    I can’t believe that I can finally send an e-mail. We have been in some fairly remote areas and the computer speed at the Lilongwe internet cafe was interminably slow.

    Firstly, this has been AWESOME, AMAZING, GREAT… Pick any superlative adjective. Malawi has won my heart and I see a connection there.

    Not sure if you all know that our trip began with bumps in the road. Our flight was cancelled out of LAX and 15 hours later we flew to Germany to connect with a flight to Jo’burg. We were able to enjoy a most hearty lunch on a lovely, warm day in Frankfurt and filled up on sausages and kraut (okay, glasses of beer made the rounds). am happy to say that the flight to Jo’burg on South African Airways was wonderful, they spoiled us and we had no turbulence( re: I flew drug-free). Air Malawi was another story. While 3 people were still standing, the pilot began pulling out from the terminal and heading down the runway. His take off could teach some pilots from John Wayne a few tricks about immediate ascent. We were all so surprised by the jerkiness of the takeoff and the inability of the plane to stabilize that we just laughed. We decided that the pilot had been rejected from all the other companies and Air Malawi (“Making Flying Friendly”) was hiring anyone–licensed or not. Landed safely and in the end that is all that mattered.

    There is much poverty in Malawi. Several embassies are located in the capital of Lilongwe but it seems that the corruption at the top is interferring with the money getting to the villages. World Vision is a fabulous organization and is doing great humanitarian work there. I visisted there offices and they are not wasting one penny on themselves. You would be shocked at how sparse the offices are and inadequately heated. The workers are all heart and dedicated. Support the children at $35/mo because it is some of the best donated money you will ever designate.

    Most of our time was spent with the children of Ministry of Hope, an organization that my church helps sponsor. They feed about 4000 orphans a day at their 5 feeding centers located in the rural areas of Malawi. The children get a plate(they bring their own) of nsima ( a congealed glob of maize flour and water) along side a scoop of mustard greens, tomato water on the nsima and possible some chicken. The people there love that stuff and we ate it for days on end if we didn’t eat PB & Js on the bus. Meals were tortuous except for breakfast where we always got scrambled eggs and toast.

    The children are very poorly dressed and if you have ever sent old clothes to some drive, they may have ended up here. I have seen many US brand clothes on our children and they hand them down when they no longer fit. Keep sending your clothes and shoes. It is still winter here and the wind can really whip around on the plains yet the kids lack coats or sweaters.

    Our 5 day camp went really well. If we did nothing else than take their picture with our cameras and show them how they look on the viewfinder, we were making their days. How they love to have their photos taken. I let some of the kids take my camera for a while and go take their own shots; many times it was of them at arm’s length. They just break your heart. You look into a sea of faces that have no expression on them. Then you zero in on one child and when they recognize that you are looking at THEM, their face just lights up. Most of them speak English as it is required in primary school (free education through 8th grade) and talking with them is so easy. They just open up about their lives and their struggles. In fact the last day all 14 of us from St Andrew’s stood around the auditorium and the teens came up to us to have us pray just with them. Very moving.

    The biggest laughter came the day at the lake when most of the kids were swimming when all of a sudden there was a stampede out of the water. “Poto!” “Potok!” That is Malawian for Hippo! We all just jumped up and down and laughed, we were so excited to see it. The hippo stayed out about 100 feet and watched us for about 1/2 hour and then left. He yawned a few times so we could clearly see the expanse of his jaws. For many of the kids, it was the first time that they had seen the lake, gone in water, swam and/or seen a hippo.

    At the feeding center, we handed out coloring sheets with some crayons for each child. You would not believe the number of them that thought that was it. They had no clue how to color or how to use a crayon or why. We had an earlier project where we passed out cardboard crosses with a sticky side so that the kids could stick colored beads, etc on them. We ran out of supplies in no time as the kids had never been given any thing before and just stampeded us for more. At one point I was surrounded by children with their hands outreached in my face–very symbolic for what they really need.

    Today we are in South Africa at a wonderful hotel located in a preserve. We have spent a lot of time debriefing as we have all been profoundly affected by the devastating poverty and possible hopelessness of the situation in Malawi. Some of our group have contracted the “Malawis” and not faring well. This hotel has been a godsend as all the food and water can be consumed and we have made pigs of ourselves.
    We leave tomorrow for Jo’burg and the beginning of our trip home on Saturday. Should be in my own bed by 8 pm Sunday night.

    I have seen and experienced so much that I am overwhelmed. I have found possibilities and answers that I was seeking and I am so grateful and blessed that all of you helped me get here. Please check out all the photos once they get posted. And thanks to you who have written our blog and sent me good thoughts and prayers. I am aware that Cheryl has and I think someone else did but Dustion didn’t remember the name as he has been really sick.

    I miss all of you and can’t wait to tell you more–especially the deplorable bathrooms! And please don’t ever offer me nsima. Jimmy, please pass this on to Cheryl as I didn’t bring her e-mail address. Peter, please forward this to Monika, Sandi and Sally G. Rick, please forward to Peggy.

    Ready to come home but would like to go back to Malawi and help out. Found out that I am still a teacher.


  3. Scott Dickson says:

    Dear Dustin, Carrie and team partners…..My prayers have always been with each traveler….Your service to your lord and mankind has been a witness of your faith..Dustin I still believe that some day you will follow your Grandfather in the ministry at some professional level wether it may be as a minister or volunteer or a helping hand to those in need……you have so much to give and administer…Thanks again for being my son and my prayers will be with you as you finish your journey back home…..THANKS AS I SAY THANKS TO GOD AND TO JESUS CHRIST WHO HAS GIVEN ALL YOUR TEAM GUIDANCE AND FAITH IN THEIR CHRISTIAN TRAVELS TO LANDS OF THE LESS PRIVELEDGED….THANKS AGAIN AND GOD BLESS

  4. Tim Yee says:

    It’ll be great to have you all home. I know you will carry Malawi in your heart forever like many of us who have gone before. Welcome to the club!

  5. Jim and Carol Hamilton says:

    We are thrilled to read about your experiences with the precious people in
    Malawi. You bring back a flood of memories and feelings Jim and I had
    on our first trip to the very “warm heart of Africa”. We know what you mean about processing all that you have seen and done. . I just knew that they were, as Tim puts it, in our hearts forever. Thank you, Marilyn, for your account that Peter put on the website. Oh, I wish we could have seen those kids’ faces when the hippo surfaced!
    We received an email from Fletcher Matandika today – and he told us that he had touched base with your team at Ulemo’s wedding! What fun! Can’t wait to hear all about it.
    Thanks again, Dustin and Carrie – for your faithful writing. We are so sorry to hear you have been sick! Do hope by now you are both feeling much better now. We love the pictures!!!
    We are praying for good R&R there in So. Africa and for a safe trip home for you all. Can’t wait to see you.

  6. Thank you Peter for sharing that wonderful letter from Marilyn with us all. I am so looking forward to hearing from Keren of her experiences there. This was a very imformative letter and touched my heart so much. Thank God our loved ones have been able to experience God in this way.

  7. Jeff Minard says:

    Thanks to the Malawi team for these notes and reflections- you make me cry with memories of those beautiful and earnest children. They so appreciate your comong, have no idea who you are or why you are there, and take such joy in everything you say or do with them.
    I went on the first trip from St. Andrews in 2005 – and I want to go back!

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