Dear Kudimba friends,
It’s that time of year again, time for a Christmas newsletter and an update on happenings at Lifuwu.
Everything is going well at Kudimba and we have had another good year with great progress for the project.
Our main achievement was of course our solar power structure, which makes daily life a lot more comfortable. Apart from some minor hiccups that were resolved fairly quickly, the installation is working well. These glitches have helped us to streamline the system as we now know that we can rely on local people to solve problems, if they occur.
Since the installation of the solar power system, we have had some uninvited visitors at night, probably trying to get their hands on the valuable batteries. Fortunately, we managed to chase the crooks away and as a positive outcome we have drawn important lessons from that experience.
First, we have made our technical room for solar equipment even more secure. We also hired two new night guards to keep an eye on the project and on the people living on the site.
Our night guard with the Buffalo bike with the child seat.
Another improvement we decided to implement after the attempted break-in is an additional wall on the side of our property. Our project is surrounded by three walls and on the fourth side, the southeast side, we had colourful plants, huge trees and dense bushes between Kudimba and its neighbour. The place next to us housed a lovely little guesthouse, with its own night watchman. Unfortunately, the people who rented the place have left, and so did their guard. Since there was no wall, it became an inviting entry point for potential visitors with bad intentions.
We decided that a fourth wall is a priority, especially now that we have our solar power system, and all the more so as we plan further work to expand Kudimba in the coming months.
The building of the new wall.
Before starting this extension work, we will start renovating the floor of the education centre. The original foundation was not well done and the sandy ground kept shifting and cracking the floor. This was not only unattractive, it also became unsafe. During the Christmas holidays, our construction team will remove the floor in the education centre and replace it with a brand new and stable foundation.
After the floor renovations, we are finally starting work on the kitchen extension, something we have been planning for several years. This is an essential upgrade as the current cooking facilities are very modest -to say the least- and unsuitable to cater for a large group of people. In developing this kitchen and in all aspects of food preparation and preservation, we want to make sustainability a priority.
Mercy and the provisional kitchen
Some healthcare related news from Kudimba…
We have had problems with scabies in Kudimba and in Lifuwu. Scabies is a skin disease that causes very itchy patches, is highly contagious and very uncomfortable. It is difficult to control in a humid and tropical area where most people live in very basic conditions without access to running water. Even government hospitals ran out of treatments for patients.
Fortunately, Kudimba managed to get hold of a supply of the treatment and, thanks to our in-house nurse Rodney, we tackled the problem. In case of infection, we are now able to help our young participants and their families, providing them with counselling, medicines, bathing soap and laundry soap.
We also recommend temporary isolation of participants with scabies, at home with their family. The result of this successful approach is that we currently have no more scabies infections in Kudimba.
At the same time, Malawi is facing an outbreak of cholera. Since March this year, the disease has spread across the country. Fortunately, we have not had any cases in Kudimba. Cholera is an infectious bacterial disease caused mainly by poor hygiene and sanitation. It can be life-threatening and its main symptoms are diarrhoea and vomiting. In Kudimba, we stepped up hygiene measures a notch and also conducted a number of additional workshops on cholera for staff and participants. A class on hand hygiene and hand washing techniques was taught by Rodney. As you can see, his contribution to Kudimba and his nursing skills have been invaluable over the past year.
Here is some news on the Kudimba participants:
Juma is one of Kudimba’s participants who is hearing impaired. He is one of the kindest people around and is most humble and grateful. He is the third born in a family of nine children. The family is struggling to make ends meet. Juma has had a difficult time and came to Kudimba about two years ago. He is now seventeen years old and has received support to pursue vocational training as a carpenter.
He has received some carpentry tools from MaCoHa (Malawi Council of the Handicapped) to set up his own small workshop. We are very proud of Juma and wish him every success. We will continue to support him and are keen to try out his skills for the further development of Kudimba.
Juma and his carpentry tools
Sometimes things don’t go the way we want in Kudimba. Our young Mustapha, who started boarding at Mua School for the Deaf, is back home with his family and back in Kudimba for daycare. Unfortunately, shortly after he started school, he became very unwell and was diagnosed with severe malaria. He was admitted to the hospital in Mua and his mother was rushed there. Once he was somewhat better, it was decided that he would go home for further recovery.
Back home, we all agreed that this was a difficult and traumatising start for little Mustapha. He now remains in Kudimba and we will try school again next year, when he is a little older and stronger. We are sad to see him miss this opportunity for now, but of course we are happy to have our little man close to us again.
The young Mustapha
Our young Masa and his family have left Lifuwu, so Masa is no longer attending Kudimba.
Sometimes families move for a period of time and then return later, as is the case with our adolescent participant Hayiya, who recently returned after a long time.
We hope Masa will join us again in the future, we will miss him, his determination and his gentle nature.
The gentle Masa
Occasionally we get a message from people to say they would like to support the project, but they are hesitant because their contribution would be too small and irrelevant.
We receive donations in a very wide budget range and even the smallest contribution makes a huge difference, because a little goes a long way in Malawi.
If you would like to make a one-off or a monthly donation to Kudimba, please do not hesitate to let us know.
Last but not least, a little reminder that donations of 40 € and more are tax deductible in Belgium, this donation can be made in a single contribution or spread over a whole year.
A heartfelt thank you to our loyal sponsors for their continued support and our warmest Christmas wishes,
Kudimba greetings from the team