Newsletter April 2015
Malawi keeps surprising us. We arrive at the airport of Lilongwe and learn that the exchange booth refuses to accept our currency due to the decline of the Euro exchange rate.

Yesterday we visited a family in the village. We were surprised to see how reliably Peter was able to find his way through the bush. The family's nine-year-old handicapped son, Daudi, had been on our waiting list for half a year. The Baptist Clinic in Senga Bay had given us a wheelchair for the boy. He can neither stand nor walk. We came unannounced, but the grandmother offered us a warm welcome. She even owned three quite stable chairs for us to sit on. We found Daudi outside, sitting naked in the dust. At once his family got a basin  and he was lathered with soap and dressed after that.
Today he was at Kunyumba for the first time and slid laughingly across the meadow on his bottom. We hope that he will be able to learn how to walk one day through a lot of therapy and training - just as it was with our Ruthie.

In the course of Sunday breakfast a fully grown male baboon ambled through our garden, just a few metres away from our table. Sofia, our new young watchdog, a little paralyzed, didn't seem to be a match for the intruder. So he remained undisturbed by her.

Peter had prepared everything so nicely: In the backward of his church we held a reading-glasses event today. Together with Marlise Lüthard, our guest from Switzerland, we had brought plenty of glasses and also lots of children's clothes and shoes. The church choir sang, we were asked to introduce ourselves, then somebody delivered a short sermon and said words of thanks. After that everybody with eye problems was allowed to pick appropriate glasses. Unfortunately, we hadn't made proper arrangements for the distribution of the clothes, so we were not able to really cope with people grabbing, hitting and fighting. The strongest triumphed.

It's just so depressing how little money Malawi invests in education. Where does all the foreign aid money go? Today we visited Senga Bay Primary School. Two of our handicapped children, Sifati and Ruthie, are students there and we do not have another option for them at the moment.
About 90 to 100 children were sitting on the ground and took part in the lesson with more or less discipline. The teacher went to the greatest lengths possible to make a good impression on us. The experience left us deeply concerned: poorly trained and badly paid teachers, no desks, no benches, no books. I watched some children scribbling in their torn exercise books they held on their knees. A boy kept moistening the tip of his pencil to make it smoother. We were not able to stand staying there for very long, the stench in that dirty room was just unbearable.
The headmaster asked us to talk about a few things in his office. He was full of praise for the work being done at Kunyumba and asked for our support regarding a girl badly in need of help: Hanifa is ten years old and very shy, she has to use two crutches to walk as her left leg is too short and stunted. Her mother has five children and neither husband nor income. She gathers firewood to sell. Saying goodbye we promised the headmaster to get back to him about his request after having talked to Peter and our board.

It's unbelievable how quickly Hanifa has become integrated into Kunyumba. It's fascinating to watch her play ball games. Using one leg and one knee, she physically exerts herself and gets nearly as fast as the others.
Marlise Lüthard personally took care of Hanifa's family (helping them to help themselves). She bought the mother two female goats and paid for the family's keep so that they will not have to worry until the animals have offspring. The nanny goats' pregnancy lasts  150 days, then one to three kids will be born - and the family will be able to start its little business.

Today Hanifa changed schools. Seven of our children attend a small independent school in Senga Bay, which is run by our carpenter and his wife and daughter. They put all their money and a lot of passion into this project. Classes are small, the teachers are paid adequately, and children, who sit on benches, can enjoy high-quality lessons. Unfortunately, only few families can afford the tuition fee of 16,500 Malawi Kwacha (about 35 Euros) per year for their children. And the carpenter lacks the money necessary to further expand his school.

We start our journey back. Those long trips seem to get more and more arduous as the years go by.

Vera Kleinstoll
Translation: Heidi Stäger


Kunyumba e.V.
Am Beethovenpark 40
D-50935 Köln