May 2016 update

During our visit in 2014, Ernest expressed the wish to extend the grounds of Grace Orphan Care and provide the orphans with a sleeping facility for ten boys and ten girls. After getting to know the teachers and mentors at the center, we decided to support this endevour. Ernest began to work out a plan, which included the costs of construction, a floor plan of the building, employment of local workers and the final use of the dormitories.

Construction commenced at the end of 2015. Ernest kept up a lively corespondece with us regarding the construction, and in May 2016 we flew to Zomba to see the progress with our own eyes.

As reported, the foundation was already finished and the exterior brick walls were standing. Since the orphanage is located in very rough terrain, most bricks must be made on site. The bricks are produced by field firing. First, the blanks are poured in the open air.  These are made of clay and cast in a wooden mold.  After they've formed, the blanks are stacked in meter-high piles and the spaces between are filled with burning material. This is then ingnited and the firing process can take up to six weeks until the blanks have hardened into bricks.
We met the workers responsible for both the excavation and the masonry. This was not only to give them their wages, made possible by our supporters' donations, but also to get to know each of them personally.  We also met and thanked the waterwomen, who had performed the back-breacking job of transporting water for the cement mixture from the nearby wells.

In the mean time, Ernest had fleshed out the blueprints even further. Stable concrete window lintels will be used, the inner walls of brick must be laid and a roofing contractor from Zomba has been commissioned. During the rainy season (when brick production cannot take place), there are other tasks around Grace Orphan Care. The walls of the hall will be painted white and the toilets for children should be renovated. A garden is in the planning stage.



2014 report

Our first project was the trip to Malawi from July 18, 2014 to August 16, 2014.

I spent one week working in the hospital with Christian Konrad from the Wehr Klimatechnik air-conditioning company.  We accomplished a lot, including repairing an x-ray machine, two air-conditioners, and the power supply for the heated cribs.

Anna worked for two weeks in the orphanage, which is run by local people. She visited the village, built a swing, taught the children, prepared games, and got to know the way of life and the culture of the Malawi. She discussed the disposal of waste and the burning of wood from the local forests with the children, and they created a poster about it. 

Until now, Grace Orphan care is a daycare center. Children spend the morning and afternoon here to study, completing their homework and receiving help with their weaker subjects under teacher supervision. Primary school children are given extra lessons in reading and writing. Teenagers have the chance to participate in debate groups and be part of physical activity such as playing soccer. At night, most children will find a place to stay with their relatives. Usually, the houses of relatives are too small to fit another child, meaning they live in poor conditions with the lack of a bed and proper hygiene.