We were up & ready earlier than usual on this Monday morning so Rev. Ted Creen and I took the opportunity to walk the few hundred metres from our chalet to the Likhubula Pools – it’s a gorgeous spot. Then we were on the bus and headed into Mulanje.
Our first stop was Apatsa School – an off-shoot of the Mulanje Mission – where 150 children, mostly orpans, are educated and fed. Presbyterian World Service & Development pays for the tuition, books, shoes and uniform for up to seventy-five students. The school was started by three retired Malawian teachers and these three women – now in their seventies – are still running the school day-to-day. To say that they are amazing women doesn’t begin to describe them.
When we arrived, the children had prepared several presentations including songs, dramas, and “acrobatics”. They then went to their classes where members of the PCC group were invited to help out with the various lessons. The children were then fed a meal of nsima porridge and it was suddenly time to say goodbye.
We stopped in Mulanje for lunch where we had what must be the best pizza in Africa. The group was glad to lounge a bit while our lunch was prepared. While the temperatures were not terribly hot (mid-20s celsius) the intensity of the sun so close to the equator can be quite tiring.
After lunch, we visited the Mulanje Mission Hospital where we given a tour and a presentation on the healthcare situation in Malawi. To protect the privacy of patients, of course, there aren’t many photos of the hospital.
Our last stop of the day was a village that is a member of the Uchembere Network. The Network, a project of the Blantyre Synod, that “aims to attain sustained comprehensive integrated Sexual and Reproductive Health services that are accessible, acceptable, effective and safe to individuals, couples and communities.” Each participating village has an Uchembere committee and this was the group we met with. They explained how the Network had helped improve maternal and reproductive health by encouraging births to happen in hospital and by discouraging teenage or other unplanned pregnancies.