October 31, 2005


voici donc mes premieres photos. Il commence a faire tres chaud ici! Je pars la semaine prochaine quelques jours aux bords du lac Malawi. J'ai hate d'y faire des photos. Je prefere photographier les paysages, je sais vous trouvez ca sans doute plus chiant. Je continuerais de prendre les enfants!

October 28, 2005

First Week

Hi there! I hope I soon succeed in posting some pictures on this blog! I am using some pretty up-to-date computer equipment from an internet café in Blantyre center. IT business seems to find fertile grounds just about everywhere in the world, don’t they?! And that’s good I must say! As a result, I think I’ll be able to upgrade this blog at least once a week!

So where to start? Well, once upon a time, there was this retired English lady who’d been living in Malawi for a couple of years and who one day decided to start helping the local communities suffering from poverty. Malawi is probably the second or third poorest country in the world. Most of the population lives under the poverty line, in remote rural areas, on a soil, which the rain just seems to boycott! AIDS and malaria are big killers out here. In addition to these diseases, hunger, maternal deaths and crime have orphaned millions of children. Out on the streets, these orphans become the victims of ill human natures. Some are trafficked into prostitution and pornography circles; others are used as trading commodities and turned into human slaves. Fortunately, orphans vulnerability is a well-known plague in the country and many local initiatives exist to fight the problem and protect the kids. There is not one family in Malawi not taking care of at least one orphan. Sylvia, my British lady, is one to support such initiatives.

Since I have arrived, she has taken me to visit a few of the villages’ orphan centers she supports. These centers operate during the daytime. Children come after school, which ends in the late morning, and are fed, bathed, and entertained until the late afternoon. At nights, relatives, neighbors and other caring community members take in orphans. These orphan centers function as Community Based Organizations (a term well-known amongst development experts, right?!), registered with the local authorities and recognized by the whole community or village. CBOs can benefit from local funding, but very seldom do, and also from the private sector, usually the expatriate community. Sylvia personally funds about 10 centers. A group of close friends in her UK home have organized themselves into a charity committee and regularly do fundraising activities for her project. Such a small-scale project, (between friends really if you think about it!) works really well. With the money collected and transferred to her, Sylvia can provide the different centers with bags of maize, soap, sugar, grains, clothes and other basic goods. When she returns to the UK, she meets with the committee to show them pictures, drawings and the like, and also to discuss the next year budget. As a school teacher, she feels she doesn’t handle the accounts as professionally as she should be. However, I think she does a very good job. She never ran out of resources for these centers. Today, she built about 3 schools, bought land for food production, and has helped and encouraged small local groups to become proper CBOs. She has called her project the Joshua Orphan Care Project. And all ten village orphan centers are children of the Joshua Project. Today, we are looking into making Joshua a NGO so that we can get more continuous funding from big international foundations (and a tax-exempt 4X4!! Yes we do need one!). However, we are not so sure to benefit from that much more as a NGO. It could just give the Malawian government an excuse to ask us for money (registration fee….) this is where I come in. Anyhow, it’s a lot to take in, and my days are full. I am adjusting to this new adventure but I find it surprisingly hard this time around. I am still on an emotional rollercoaster, but I suppose that’s what homesickness is all about, isn’t it? Until next time! Ciao…..

October 24, 2005

Enfin arrivee!

Et non, je n'ai pas pris le bus... Arrivee a la gare routiere, personne n'a pu me renseigner sur la route que le bus prendrait. Car si le bus passait par le Mozambique, alors il me fallait un visa... Bref, en plus j'etais la seule blanche, la seule femme... Je me suis dit, quand meme je suis une occidentale, ne l'oublions pas, donc TAXI! En route pour l'aeroport! Et la, pas d'avion avant samedi! Que je suis organisee! Ca vous surprend?
Quelques jours plus tard, et apres un vol de 2 heures sur South African Airlines, je suis accueillie a l'aeroport par Sylvia, femme anglaise retraitee, vivant depuis 8 ans au Malawi. Elle est institutrice a l'ecole privee de Blantyre. Elle vit dans une grande maison qu'elle partage avec une femme du meme age, une Suisse qui vit au Malawi depuis environs 20 ans. alors oui, on a electricite, eau chaude, eau potable, 5 chiens de gardes (enfin des gros faignants plutot) et 3 hommes domestiques! Je ne depense presque rien, uniquement cet acces internet. En fin de semaine je telechargerais des photos!
Sylvia m'a deja emmene faire le tour de quelques uns des centres d'education dont elle s'occupe. J'ai pour premiere mission de donner des cours d'informatique a 3 ados du bidonville du coin. Cela va me permettre d'apprendre a les connaitre et surtout a identifier les besoins et les realites de la communaute. Apres quoi, je serais prete pour monter l'ONG qui prendra en charges tous ces centres (10 en tout).
Sylvia a aussi prevu de me faire voyager! On va faire des virees randonnees pret du lac et son ami va m'emmener dans le nord du pays quelques jours. C'est genial.
Enfin, vous me manquez tous enormement quand meme et le soir je me sens tres seule. Alors je lis jusqu'a m'endormir! J'ai deja fini un livre! Heureusement, Sylvia aime sortir et boire du whisky. Ce soir elle m'emmene a l'auberge de jeunesse du coin pour rencontrer d'autres volontaires et touristes.
Voila, je vais vous quitter! Je vais faire des photos cet apres midi pour vous les envoyer tres bientot! SVP, laissez moi des petits mots... cliquez sur "comment" en bas de ce texte et laissez vous guider! Merci! Gros bisous!

October 19, 2005

Sascha and Carolina, the little German neighbor made in South Africa!

October 17, 2005

Welcome English Speakers!

My Dear Americans, Irish, Danish, Indonesian, Colombian and Dutch Friends! Greetings to all of you whom I have not contacted in a while... hope all is well! Thanks for checking out my blog. Since you last heard from me, I have returned to South Africa and tomorrow I am boarding a bus to Malawi. It's going to take about 30 hours... I am travelling all thoughout Zimbabwe and that should be quite exicting! I set up this blog to share with you all the good and the bad stuff! But I won't write too much of the bad stuff as to not worry the family...(overprotective father!) I am volunteering with a local NGO taking care of orphans and vulnerable families victims of AIDS. I should stay for about 6 months. Not more to say for now but keep on visiting my blog to find out! I am staying with a retired British couple who have established a primary school in the village and who are very involved with the NGO's activities.

Please leave me comments and let me know what's happening in your corner of the world. I will try my best to alternate French and English writing!

October 14, 2005

Nouveau Depart

Voila, 2 jours apres mon arrivee sur le sol sud africain, et je suis deja prete pour repartir! J'ai achete mon billet de bus pour le Malawi. Je pars mardi matin de Johannesburg et je suis censee arriver mercredi en fin d'apres midi a Blantyre. Le couple anglais vient me chercher a la gare routiere. La femme m'a deja prepare tout un programme! J'espere que la connection internet locale sera asse puissante pour pouvoir illustrer mon blog avec des photos. Mais rien n'est encore sur!

Aujourd'hui je bouge chez une copine, Dessie. J'ai hate de la revoir! Je quitte la famille Sauberlich (mon ami Sascha) et Pretoria pour aller chez elle a Johannesburg. A bientot!