22 May Meet Mike
This is probably my favourite Malawi picture. I call it the Mike Photo.
It was taken in 2006 when we had built the first half of our orpahnage and it shows one of the orphans, Mike, sittting on the foundations, studying the plans of the second half of his own home.
I like the picture because it speaks of progress and development; it speaks of the involvement of the people themselves.
It could equally have been taken at the main part of Medic Malawi’s work, the hospital, which has grown and expanded so much in the few years since its opening in 2001.
Medic Malawi was founded by Mac and Dot Forsyth, formerly teaching colleagues of mine at Kamuzu Academy in Malawi.
Not content with supporting a tiny nearby local clinic, they had the vision to build a new rural hospital.
For 10 years every penny they have raised has gone to the people who need it. No salaries, no expenses have been taken out. It’s all been about giving.
What you give is what they get.
The hospital has grown beyond everyone’s expectations, along with Mike’s orphanage and a feeding centre which is critical in an area where food supplies are so vulnerable.
To visit the hospital and the community now is uplifting. It shows how much can be achieved and how much there is still to achieve by focusing resources on working through the local community.
The village has grown up around the hospital, which now includes two excellent government schools, and it is becoming an engine of development for the whole district.
Thousands and thousands of people depend on the care of this small rural hospital. They arrive by ox cart and on foot with all sorts of problems, knowing that the hospital will offer care, a clean and disciplined environment and that it has a supply of much-needed medication.
It now even has a small operating theatre which can be used thanks to the donation of a generator by a benefactor in the UK.
In the centre of this new village stands the church. St Andrew’s church, with its dynamic Anglican clergyman, Rev Frank Dzantenge, holds the community together and gives it a special sense of purpose and unity.
To join the St Andrew’s church at worship on a Sunday is one of the special and memorable experiences of a trip to Mtunthama. I recall taking a group of students to a service on the second Sunday of our visit (the service the previous Sunday having lasted about three hours) and overhearing one of the pupils saying to another: “I don’t think I have ever looked forward to going to church before”.
With your help we can continue to develop this wonderful work.
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