The need is overwhelming / De nood is zo groot

(For English scroll down)
Familie en vrienden,

Vanochtend hebben we tijd doorgebracht in een van de dorpjes aan de rand van Blantyre. We hebben meer mensen kunnen bereiken met hulp.
De nood is zo groot en hartverscheurend. Maar we kunnen de last delen door de families en de ouderen te bezoeken en hen te helpen met noodhulp. Vandaag hebben we meer warme dekens en plastic uitgedeeld en ook hebben we 2 families kunnen helpen met voedsel. Zij hebben alles verloren tijdens de storm.

De nood is GROOT! Vandaag bereikte ons ook het nieuws dat de huizen van zeker 50 families in een ander dorp zijn geheel of gedeeltelijk ingestort en veel van deze mensen hebben geen plek om te slapen. Niemand, geen enkele organisatie of de overheid heeft hen hulp geboden (terwijl ze al 4 dagen zonder huis zitten…) We moeten hen HELPEN!

rek. nr: NL85 RABO 0160228557 tnv St. Bergambacht Helpt.
Onder vermelding van: Noodhulp Malawi

Wat is nodig?
– warme dekens
– plastic voor het dak en om hun muren te beschermen
– klamboe’s, om de mensen te beschermen tegen malaria. Er zijn veel muggen op dit moment.
– water behandeling, om veilig drinkwater te creëren
– voedsel, voedzame pap voor kinderen en mais, bonen en soja voor de hele familie

Vandaag bezochten we een oudere man. De achterkant van zijn huis is volledig ingestort (foto 1 en 2) al zijn eten was door de regen vernietigd. Hij heeft zijn matras nog kunnen redden maar hij heeft geen klamboe. Hij had al 2 dagen niet gegeten. En andere familie met 3 kinderen heeft ook al 2 dagen niet gegeten… We hebben hen mais en groente gebracht.

We hopen dat u ons wilt helpen om hoop en hulp te brengen!
Warme dekens: €4
50m plastic: €5,40
Water behandeling: €0,50
50kg mais: €11
Klamboe: €7

Giften kunnen gestort worden op:
rek. nr: NL85 RABO 0160228557 tnv St. Bergambacht Helpt.
Onder vermelding van: Noodhulp Malawi

(Foto 3: this is where her house used to be… just a heap of rubble remaining)

Family and friends,

Today we spend the morning in the village, reaching out to those who lost part of or even their whole house.
The damage is overwhelming and the knowledge that there is only a little we can do now, makes me sad. But we can walk beside them and support them in little things. Today we handed out more blankets and plastic sheets and also food to those who lost everything during the heavy rainfall and floods.
But the need is HUGE! Today we got news from another village where more than 50 houses have collapsed and a lot of people have nowhere to go! Nobody, no organization has come in to help them yet (even though they lost their houses about 4 days ago…)We have to help them NOW!

What they need is:
– warm blankets
– plastic sheets for roofing and protecting their walls
– mosquito nets to prevent them from getting malaria as there are a lot of mosquito’s around
– water purification to treat the water
– food support; nutritious porridge for the children and maize, beans and soya for the whole family.

Today we met an elderly man. The backside of his house completely collapsed (photo 1 and 2) and all his food got destroyed. He managed to safe his mattress but has no mosquito net. And this is just one example. He didn’t have any food for 2 days. We provided some food for him.

We hope you’re willing to support us in bringing hope and relief.
Warm blankets: €4
50m Plastic sheet: €5,40
Water treatment 150ml: €0,50
50kg maize: €11
Mosquito net €7

rek. nr: NL85 RABO 0160228557 tnv St. Bergambacht Helpt.
Onder vermelding van: Noodhulp Malawi

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Disaster hit Malawi – appeal for help!

Dear family and friends,

Malawi has been hit hard for the past 4 days by at least 2 cyclones which have caused major flooding. Houses have been swept away or collapsed, people drowned, belongings lost. And there is more stormy weather on the way.
The water supply has been cut off for 3 days now and electricity comes in sporadic. But the major concerns are the 100000 displaced people and the missing people.

We need your help to assist the families in need. The urgent things they need are:
Warm blankets: €5
50m Plastic sheet: €5,40
Water treatment 150ml: €0,50
50kg maize: €11

Gifts can be tranferred to following account:
rek. nr: NL85 RABO 0160228557 tnv St. Bergambacht Helpt.
Onder vermelding van: Noodhulp Malawi

Today we managed to get to one of the communities we serve and we managed to support 4 families there with some emergency items. We handed out warm blankets and plastic sheet. Tomorrow we hope to go back and hand out water treatment so the people can use rainwater for drinking and cooking.
But many, many more families need to be assisted!
Pls get in touch if you want to donate towards rebuilding houses.

Thank you very much for your help and please remember us in your prayers!

Kenneth&Margreet Mbendera
OperatieAfrica
Blantyre, Malawi

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2014… What did we do?

It’s the beginning of a new year, and therefore it’s time to look back on 2014. 2014 hasn’t been an easy year for the world. We’re so blessed we’ve been kept safe and we’ve been able to help a lot of people through our different projects.
Besides my work at Beit Cure Hospital, where we managed to perform 1219 surgeries during 2014, we have also been able to bless a lot of children, adults and families through our community projects.

Community Health Project – Mobile clinics
During 2014 we’ve seen our mobile clinics develop further. We have added more medicines to our medicine box and therefore we’re able to help more children and adults during our clinics, saving them the long, tiring and time consuming trip to a hospital. We’re now able to test and treat for malaria and to treat skin infections and eye infections. In 2014 we treated:
Fungal infections: 84 patients eye infections: 14 patients
Wurm infections: 69 patients Diarrhea: 11 patients
Malaria: 6 patients
Multivitamines for underweight: 17 patients
Wound care / First Aid: 28 patients
Referral to hospital: 98 patients
In total 1512 children attended our clinic. Fortunately most of these children were not sick!
The number of adults attending our clinic has increased during 2014. At the moment we see 2-12 adults per clinic.
Twice we conducted a mobile ear clinic at a primary school. During these clinics we treated 10 children with ear drops, we referred 7 children to the hospital, we treated 1 child with a skin infection and 1 child with an eye infection. And we treated 30 children using a conservative method. A great improvement has been reported!

Hygiene Project
In 2014 we’ve also started with a project aimed at improving hygiene in the households and in the communities. We make antibacterial soap available for a subsidized price. We sell it under the market price and even under the whole sale price. We buy boxes of soap and sell it to the people for a very small price. The communities have, and still are, really appreciating this project as before they could only afford to buy cheap laundry soap which is full of chemicals They would also use this for bathing. This caused a lot of skin problems. We have seen the number of skin infections gone down over the past months!

Food & Education project
In 2014 have we started a new project Food & Education. We paid schoolfees for 6 children, we provided schooluniforms, new shoes and excercise books.
We provided food support to some needy families and we’re sponsoring an HIV positive family, the Basjao Family, with a field, seeds and fertilizer to get them self-sufficient and independent of support. Till the harvest is ready, we provide them with monthly food support.

Vision 2015
Unfortunately we won’t be able to increase our mobile clinics as I have only 1 day a week available for this project. But we’ll continue diagnosing and treating the children we meet in our weekly clinics.
In the coming months we’ll be focusing our Health&Hygiene project (teaching)on First Aid lessons and how to prevent accidents like burn wounds. We’re also going to extend our First Aid and Health and Hygiene lessons to a primary school with 1500 students.

We’re also planning to extend our Food&Education project. At this very moment, we’ve already paid schoolfees for 12 children, and 4 new school uniforms have been made for 4 new students.
We also hope to add another needy family to our project. We’re looking forward to bring hope for a new future to another family. At this moment a new family hasn’t been identified yet.

Thank you
Without your support, your prayers and your gifts, all the above mentioned projects wouldn’t have been possible. Thank you so much for your ongoing support!
A lot of good and positive results in 2014, but there is still a lot more to do in 2015!

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Christmas wish

Dear friends and family,

Christmas is just around the corner and from the ‘warm heart of Africa – Malawi’ we would like to send our Christmas greetings to you.

Don’t forget the reason for this season; Jesus our King and Saviour, came into the world, to live among us. The Father’s greatest gift to us. The gift of life, eternal life! Enjoy this Christmas season. Share the joy with your family and loved ones. And when you enjoy your Christmas banquets don’t forget those who can only dream about those banquets. Share a little piece of your banquet with them. They will be forever thankful!

empty buckets everywhere

Lieve vrienden en familie,

Het is bijna Kerst en vanuit ‘het warme hart van Afrika – Malawi, sturen wij jullie allen een kerstgroet.

Vergeet niet de reden voor deze feestelijke tijd van het jaar; Jezus onze Koning en redder, kwam in de wereld en leefde onder ons. De Vader’s grootste cadeau voor ons; Leven, eeuwig leven! Geniet van de komende Kerstdagen. Deel in de vreugde met familie en dierbaren. En wanneer jullie van de Kerstlunches en diners genieten, vergeet niet dat er mensen zijn voor wie dit alleen maar een droom is. Deel een stukje van je Kerst lunch en diners met hen. Zij zullen jullie voor altijd dankbaar zijn.

empty buckets everywhere

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Human Rights Day 2014

Today is Human Rights Day as declared by the UN in 1950. Tja Human Rights in Malawi; a lot of nice speeches, but in reality???

For the past months this has been the reality everywhere around town and in the village… empty taps and empty buckets.
empty buckets everywhere

Is it not a RIGHT for all humans to have access to (clean) water??? After my last blog the situation has gotten worse. It’s no longer only in the outskirts of Blantyre and the villages, also down town including the hospitals face sporadic water supply. At our place we have water for about 4-6 hrs a day. Imagine having to give birth in a hospital and there is not water… this is everyday reality here. 2 weeks ago I heard about a man who was called to bring a bucket of water to the hospital as his wife was in labour, but the hospital had no water!
In my community work I face the outcome of the reduced water supply in the communities. People have to use unsafe watersources like polluted river water. And as a result: a lot of children and adults are suffering with skin infections, ring worm infections, diarrhoea and abdominal pain.

Talking about Human Rights, children and babies also have rights, right? A right to be and feel loved, be protected and cared for. About 2,5 weeks ago a baby from one of the communities I’m serving, was stolen from the hospital. And for the past weeks we’ve been busy trying to trace the baby and to simply get an update on the baby’s where abouts and health. A lot questions have gone round and round in my head. The situation is confusing, difficult and tragic.
Baby Harvey, 4 months old
The baby’s mum passed away only 2 months after giving birth, due to AIDS. The father had no interest in the baby and even kicked the baby and the mum out of his house before she died. The baby was being raised by the grandmother. But when we find out the baby was HIV positive, the baby was stolen from the hospital by relatives of the father. After almost 2 weeks the father was finally summoned by the police, but unfortunately the police is currupt (money had been given), chose the father’s side and thus decided to do nothing … We can’t give up and we haven’t given up. We are still doing everything we can to get the baby back as we’re afraid what might have happened to the baby. And the longer it takes to find the baby, the slimmer the changes of finding the baby alive. We found a lawyer who offered to help us pro bono, but… the courts are closed due to a 3 month long strike of support staff and judges. All they care about is more money in their pockets, but where can we find justice??? The police cells and prisons are completely packed with people waiting for their court case. And what does the government do??? Nothing, the government is quiet.
So Human Rights, we can talk about it, the government can give nice speeches, but what do we really do???

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Water is life

Just stop reading for a moment and think about how many liters of water you’ve used today…
… and yesterday… and for the past week…
Today I was supposed to do a clinic in a village on the outskirts of Blantyre and in the afternoon a teaching session with the women in the same village. When I arrived in Baluti village this morning, it was almost as if the village had turned into a ghost village; there was nobody, all the houses were silent, the doors were locked, not even kids playing and running around.
When we arrived at the feeding centre, the building we use for our clinic, we found 3 children sitting on the ground and one caregiver of the feeding centre. The problem??? Madzi palibe, mabvuto kwambiri (No water, big probleem). The village has had no water for 5 weeks now! The women leave their houses between 2 and 3am(!) to walk 15km(!) to collect water from a borehole.
Back to the first sentence… can you imagine you had to walk 15km at 2am this morning to get your water from a borehole? Where, after arriving, you’ve had to queue for hours and hours. Then after filling your bucket/basin with 50L water, you have to carry in on your head back home! And that not only today, but every day for the past 5 weeks and who knows how many more weeks? And will one bucket of water be enough for your whole family?
The Blantyre Waterboard hasn’t provided any water in the taps in the community for about 5 weeks now! And this is the case in quite a number of areas in town! Baluti village is depending on the water board for their water supply as there are no boreholes in the village.
We met a lady in the village who just came back from the borehole. This was at 9.30am. She left her house at 3am, she queued for hours at the borehole, but… came back with an empty basin! The water was finished… Now what? I heard the women discussing that if nothing changes they have to go to the river and get water from the river. But the rivers around Blantyre are so polluted, due to industrial waste, that the water is not safe. And therefore if people start using the river water for bathing, drinking, and cooking, their health will be at risk!
It’s so hard to see the people struggle, knowing that there is hardly anything that we can do for them. We are so blessed that we are staying in the area of town that has enough water supply. And I thank God that up to today there is no Ebola virus in Malawi! We pray for those countries that are facing this deadly virus and we pray for the restoration of our water supply in Blantyre and protection against waterborn disease(like cholera and diarrhea)here in Blantyre. Would you join us in prayer?

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Kids Program in the village

Hereby an impression of the Kids Program we’ve started a couple months ago. The program runs while I’m teaching the adults. The kids listen to a Bible story, they are singing songs, playing games, eating some snacks or bananas and enjoying a drink.
My housekeeper and friend Priscilla is joining us for this Program and she is doing an amazing job! She is not only keeping the kids busy, so they don’t disturb my teaching, but above all she is sowing seeds in the lives of these young kids! And by running this program we’re trying to give them an opportunity to be a child for at least 1,5 hr every week, but also teach them discipline, respect and hygiene!

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A new project: Farming Gods Way!

Good morning everybody! While writing this blog, I hear the caregivers in the children’s ward singing… amazing! Wish you could all be here and hear it for yourself. A great and encouraging start of the day!

Last Friday and Saturday I’ve spend most of my day in Chigwaja village. This village is highly depending on farming. It was and is my desire to help these people. And yes, I can’t provide the rain when needed so the crops can grow, but I could help teaching them a different way of farming with increased crops! This is called Farming Gods Way. I’d read and heard about it and so contacted them. Dixon, one of their fieldworkers has been our amazing teaching for the last 2 (hot) days! This farming method is based on biblical principles and is using what God has provided for us in his creation!
On day one the main focus was the explanation of the biblical principles and the explanation of Farming Gods Way. Half way the teaching it started raining very heavily. And on the iron sheet roof, this makes a lot of noise. Dixon was shouting over the top of his lungs and people still couldn’t understand him. So we decided to sing and praise God for the rain! Amazing!
The focus on the second day was putting in practise what we have learned! A test field was chosen. And together as community the field was prepared, followed by a nice lunch of nsima (maispap) and beans!

This method is very new to the people and so different to what they have been doing for the past 100 years. We’re praying that the result of the test field will convince the people and that indeed people will have more food security! This is the first new project we’ve started in the area of food security! “Cause for being healthy and staying healthy, you need good and ENOUGH food!”

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Ice cream and more…

We’re going towards summer in Malawi, which means rising temperatures! For those of you that know me a bit better, you know I love summer, sunshine and warm weather. Unfortunately it also comes with a little discomfort: sweat and dust. But as long as you know there will be a shower waiting for you when you come home, it’s okay. Well in Malawi, the shower is not always waiting for you as you hoped for; no power and no water! But still rejoice! It can be so much worse (or not?!). And when both water and power are back, you enjoy your shower so much and it makes you appreciate the blessings! Do you still appreciate your shower???

Last Friday, it was another warm, dusty day in the village! On our way back we bumped into an ‘Ice Cream Van’, yes an Ice Cream Van in the village! It’s something you wouldn’t expect in an African village, would you? We enjoyed a great Ice cream on our way to the next village! What a blessing!

In one of the villages we visited last Friday, we see quite a number of mentally challenged children during our clinic. This is a real challenge for the family in Malawi as there is hardly any help or special school for them. It’s always difficult to see them and knowing you can’t do anything. It makes me wonder, what future do they have? How blessed we are with good (mental) health. Do you appreciate it? And what do you do with it?

Ever wishing your car had air conditioning? We saw the ‘perfect’ solution for it today; just take the whole back window out of your car! Nice and airy! I’m not sure if it will be theft prove though!

Conclusion: I still love living in Malawi!

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A smile on a child’s face, happiness in my heart!

Last week one of the sponsored children, Shamimu, came back for her 2nd surgery. In April she came in for treatment of bilateral clubfeet. Unfortunately her deformity was very severe and therefore she needed a 2nd surgery. Shamimu is one of the children whose treatment was sponsored by you via OperatieAfrika! Thanks you once again very much for your support!

Shamimu is such a beautiful, quiet, always smiling, little girl! It was good to see and hug her again, even though I wish is was under different circumstances!

After the surgery, I went to visit her. She was doing well and not in much pain. She was sitting on her bed with both her legs in plaster. At some point she turned around and said: “When my feet are healed and I’ve shoes, I’ll come and stay with you, Auntie!” Haha!
I had some children’s nail polish with me and painted her nails! Beautiful blue with sparkles! She loved it! After that all the other kids also wanted to have their nails painted! It was so much fun and touching. At some point some of the older boys also wanted their nails painted! That’s how much they love the little bit of extra attention. I decided not to paint their nails (and turn them into girls), but to paint on their plaster instead! Lots of smiles and happiness!
These little simple things, go a long way!

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