This morning I spoke to Azikiwe. He is doing a fine job running Itatu. He left Ntcheu for about two weeks to attend a funeral in his home in the north. Before he left, he made sure the children had the food they needed and that the cooks had the money they needed to buy vegetables and eggs. Upon his return he learned that Mabvuto had not paid the cooks’ salaries as promised. He promptly paid their salaries, after seeking my approval.
He has proven to be an excellent manager. He has sent detailed financial statements which I hope to convert into dollars and post on the website once it is updated. He makes no major decisions without first consulting me and informs me when things happen with the cooks or the children.
This past week the Director of the Social Welfare Department approached the CBO to enquire about the status of the Day Care. He seemed to want to hear that things were not going well under this new management. He was surprised to learn that everyone is happy. This man is an unkind man and made me cry upon meeting him last year. I suppose he feels somehow insulted because he was not involved in the original planning process. Oh well, he’s involved now and he should be happy that the children are well cared for.
Azikiwe is pleased that he will receive a laptop when I return to Malawi. He is fluent in the use of Excel and Word and would like to be able to allow the orphans to use a computer now and then. It is a skill that they can definitely use as they grow up. Leonard, Azikiwe’s son, is very confident on the computer at the tender age of ten.
I have applied for a teaching job at an International School in Lilongwe. The job is that of a grade one and drama teacher. It is in the City Centre, which houses all of the NGOs and international businesses. My friend Kalirani knows one of the administrators. It is scary to think how well suited this job is for me. The drawback is that it will begin in January 2010. That means a lot of quick decisions. I know myself well enough to know that a quick decision is better. I don’t do decisions well. I think it’s best for me to have to decide quickly but I also know that this is something I’ve been thinking of for many years.
Thank you to those of you who let me know that you follow these posts. I am flattered by the fact that some of you still read even though you no longer have a real connection to me. I want to thank you for your words of encouragement and support through the tough times and thank you for believing in this project that I am now, once again, excited about.
Last year my sister-in-law, Danielle filled out all the necessary forms for me to obtain charitable status for Itatu. She is confident that we will be successful. I am in the process of writing a constitution which among other things must include the names of the directors of the organization. I am writing to appeal to anyone who has an interest in helping. The Board will consist of myself, Danielle, possibly Collin and hopefully one other. The meetings will be very casual and likely very infrequent; I envision once quarterly. I will still handle the bank account and transfer of funds but would like to name someone as Treasurer who can write receipts and keep an eye on my book keeping. My expectations are low as I know this is my passion, not yours but I do need some assistance to get it off the ground. If you are willing and able, please let me know. If you live far away, we can arrange teleconferences if need be.
I am very excited with the new management of the Day Care. Azikiwe is doing a fantastic job of keeping me informed and keeping the children well cared for. I know the project will now be a success and I only hope it can grow to meet the increasing need in Malawi.
Thank you for your support,
I am finally home and feeling relatively normal. The last week in Malawi I got a bladder infection, which was not fun, especially while on a 10 hour flight. I am not enjoying this heat and humidity though. I also have jet lag like I’ve never had before.
Because of a workers’ strike at Kenya Air my original return flight was cancelled. I decided not to risk flying through Kenya the following day knowing it would be chaos and fearing I might miss the connecting flight to Amsterdam. Being stranded in Kenya was not something I looked forward to. I got a new ticket home, which was operated by Air France and flew through Johannesburg and Paris. I was happy since the wait times in the airport were much shorter and I’d be able to experience something different. The journey home was actually comfortable and enjoyable. I was very glad to see my parents at the airport. It’s always nice to be welcomed home instead of coming home alone.
I left the Day Care Centre in good hands. As of now we have purchased 150kg of rice, which will feed the kids for about 9 months. We paid about 85 cents per kg. It is always better to buy in bulk.
I’m a bit nervous because we are now feeding the children a more varied diet and the budget my exceed that which I had originally anticipated. I hope to generate some donations again to help subsidize this project. Unlike last year, I am very confident about the project being successful and possibly even growing. I will soon look into getting charitable status.
I am thinking of getting a laptop for the Day Care. It would be used occasionally by the kids to read letters my students write, look at photos and type letters. Of course, Azikiwe would also use it to send financial reports, updates and correspondence. I am hoping that someone out there is willing to sell a used laptop for a cheap price so that I can donate it to the Day Care. It would definitely help with communication between the Board in Malawi and myself.
Anyway, things are feeling very exciting and positive. The children and cooks are happy and hopeful once again. I am finally allowing myself to feel proud of what I have accomplished. I know the Day Care will now be stronger and better than it could ever have been in the past.