Travel report

Travel report

Malawi July/August 2018

Malawi July/August 2018

I just came from my fourth vaccination. An important preparation is therefore completed. And soon it will start. It is absolutely clear that Germany could not become soccer world champion, because the Senior Expert Service in Bonn had booked our flight to the final match date early...


On Sunday the feeder machines did not come. Heavy rain had spoiled the start. Neither Michel from Hamburg, nor I from Berlin reached the airport in Munich in time to catch the connection to Johannesburg. We were stuck for two days because all planes were full due to the holidays. Now we will continue this evening: from Munich via Rome, Addis Ababa and after a stopover in Ndola to our destination Blantyre. There we will get back into the current disposition, the appointments with the GIZ and the German Embassy will take place on Friday.


It was not that easy to get into the prepared travel planning, because our luggage did not arrive with us. The next day Michel's suitcase arrived after travel bag arrived on Friday and was directly forwarded to the airport in Lilongwe. There I can pick it up on Saturday.

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Finally in Kasungu. We drive to Chiuno Village and meet the two chiefs, visit the prepared excavations and measure the depths. Then we arrange to meet the next day.


Both chiefs are in holiday clothes. After a preliminary talk, the congregation is called together. The women sit opposite us, the men in the centre and the children at the side. The expectations are high: since 1997 people have been waiting for a well with a pump and have been put off and disappointed again and again.


The pipes are plugged together and the pump is assembled. At the same time the women dance and sing to the drum, because they are the most happy: instead of getting up at two o'clock in the morning, it is now enough to get up at 6 o'clock to fetch water. In no time the pump is mounted and: the water flows.


Housewarming. High level visit from the District Commission, the Traditional Authority, other Chiefs and the village. After the population has taken their seats in the usual group division and some dances to the singing of the women have joined the celebrations, the village poet appears and reads his lines written for the day from a (tree) leaf. Afterwards the speeches follow, one boss after the other, also the head of the village, then the traditional authority and a woman who comments everything again. Finally it's our turn. This is the end of the official part, and the whole train goes to the construction site of the second well, which is still to be built, and then to the finishing, where the dignitaries like to operate the pump handle. The women dance and sing, some of the old people show us great gratitude.


Discussion with the water committee about the construction of the second well. Michel trains in the use of the tools, explains how to maintain the pump and answers questions. We are very impressed by a letter of thanks to the donors, written in Chichewa and translated by Chisomo.


Today we buy building materials, because yesterday there was no car available. Therefore today several transports between the building material store and the the afternoon an excursion to the nearby national park. In passing we see a kudu, from the lodge over the lake antelopes and a herd of hippos. We missed the bathing elephants. A ranger knows where they go and lets us follow. A few hundred meters further in the adjacent forest we are very close to the elephant family, which feeds on trees and bushes. Impressive and beautiful!


The water committee agrees to the further agreement on the second well, the people present sign. At the borehole a big stone slows down the digging. We get stronger tools.


With the stone, the well builders have moved on, but it is slow going. A chief is letting me see a little boy. The two-year-old has terrible burns. He fell down and sat in the open fire. He is missing palms large pieces of skin over several layers, the wounds are wetting in two places. I decide to take the boy to hospital.


We'll get the mother with the little boy. The doctor will look at the wounds, take the temperature and do some tests. Then the boy gets the wounds cleaned, an antibiotic injection and other medication. The treatment must now be done daily for seven days. We bring mother and child to the village and invite another boy with burn injuries. His head is covered with burst bumps, the wounds are bleeding, flies are settling in. The wounds are already septic due to stuck hair and contamination. Tomorrow I would also like to introduce M. K.'s daughter, who is said to suffer from anaemia, to the doctor. The well diggers are fighting with the stone.


We drive to Mayi Gundani, the Traditional Authority, whom we got to know in the village at the inauguration of the well. We ask her for short-term support for an appointment with Senior Chief TA Kaomba. Chisomo is surprised that she gives out his phone number, I am supposed to call him later. He is at a meeting at the Kasungu Inn. We are going there. It's a congress, lots of people at tables in the garden. Then he stands before me: a very devoted and dignified man who reminds me of Nelson Mandela. He leads me outside where we sit down and talk for a moment. A very warm conversation, through which I feel honoured.


The first trip goes to the clinic, where I welcome the women who have to come daily with their children for treatment. Joseph's head looks noticeably better already. Finally we receive the second pump equipment completely and bring it, accompanied by enthusiastic children, to the village. The chiefs receive it. Then the moment has come to say goodbye, a moving situation for me. At 13.01h we are on the road and about 15.30h in Lilongwe.


Chisomo comes to the hotel for breakfast. For the completion of the second well and the further common project work I leave my laptop to him. At the airport we say goodbye cordially. Punctual departure, winterly cold it is in Johannesburg. Also from there we leave on time, also the arrival and the next flight to Berlin. Absolutely on time we land, and my luggage arrives as well.

The journey ends on Sunday morning, 12 August 2018

We set out to build two wells and to create at least one in the short time. Now the second one will be finished after our departure. We are counting on a colleague who has supported us very much and will manage the completion of the second one. The people in the village trust us and we trust them. They want to do more, identify themselves with the project for self-help and are now founding a CBO (Community based Organisation) with a legal form similar to the non-profit association. Thus, the further project phase can be tackled. We want to come back, and the people in Chiuno Village want us to do so. Therefore we are collecting donations to build a school and a kindergarten, an educational and cultural center on a plot of land that is ready for use.