The weeks here are really beginning to fly, it’s hard to believe we’ve been here for a month already! We finally started work this week which we were all really happy about; we all feel like we have a proper purpose here now. The last week has been quite a tough one, not only was one of our team members sent home with malaria, but our electricity was also cut off and we’ve had no running water for ten days which meant only one thing, showering out in the yard under the tap!
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We’ve finally arrived in Salima! We’re all ready and raring to get our project underway. Over the first few days in our house, the colleagues we’ll be working with dropped by to introduce themselves. First of all we met Janet who was to be our house-helper for the next 8 weeks, and our guard who watches our house at night, although we did catch him having a sneaky nap one night!
After a week of culture training, some of the group decided they wanted to experience some of the things we had learnt first-hand. On Sunday we woke up bright and early and headed down some dusty roads to a local church. On arrival we split up into boys and girls and took our seats in different areas of the church. The church leader was happy to see us attending, and got us to stand up and introduced us to the local people. Those near us all shook our hands.
Following two weeks of intensive in-country training, we will be heading off to Salima to work with Malawi Interfaith Aids Association. We will be involved in projects aimed at changing communities’ views and perceptions surrounding HIV, AIDS, gender issues and abuse. The aim of this blog is to keep you as up to date as possible with information on our experiences.
Whilst we where staying at the hotel, UNES, our partner organisation, mobilised and had supplies shipped in to be sorted and distributed to the shelters around San Salvador. We got involved and for the first time, for myself anyway I felt like I was positively impacting the current situation of this vulnerable country.
We arrived in Peru after a long tedious flight, which was particularly difficult for me as a result of my long legs. As soon as we got out of the airport we were met by our in country coordinators who were greeting us enthusiastically to our new surroundings. Easily noticeable, as we were all wearing our Progressio t-shirts, they quickly introduced themselves and ushered us towards the mini bus to take us to the temporary accommodation where we would be having our in country training, in a bohemian district called Barranco, in the capital city of Lima.
Admittedly John Lennon (quoted in the title) was my least favorite member of The Beatles but this week I believe that this quote has been proven to be true time and again. The plan was to leave Suchitoto (El Salvador) and stay at an organization called CBC (Centro Bartolome de las Casas) where we would stay for one day and then jog on to San Julian, the location of our first placement.
On the 12th October we visited Kalolo village, about an hour’s drive from Lilongwe. Malawian villages are organised hierarchically with a Traditional Authority (in this village, Traditional Authority Kalolo), Group Village Headman, of which there is approx. 198 in Kalolo and Village Headmen.
Welcome to our team blog, TEAM LIWONDE LIONS. Just as a little introduction we are taking part in the ICS Empower programme, working with MANERELA (Malawian Network of Religious Leaders Living With or Personally Affected by HIV/AIDS) in Malawi to reduce HIV/AIDS-related Stigma, Silence, Denial, Discrimination, Inaction and Mis-action. So expect to read loads more about our 10 week placement but this first week has been filled with presentations, visits and learning new stuff.
By the Malawi ICS Empower team
On the 10th and 11th of August we did a workshop for the villages of Selemani and Kampanje respectively. These are both villages in the Lozi community, with a fairly even divide between those who are Christians and those who are Muslims.
In Selemani village we had 14 children and 33 people over the age of 14. In Kampanje village we had 23 children and 28 adults.