Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bicycle Ambulance to the Rescue

Shadreck Bandawo, Institutional Strength Coordinator, Tsogolo Labwino Project

It was a very hot, sunny midday when I passed a man in his early 70s lying on a roughly made pole stretcher, cushioned only by a thin line of grass. He was being carried to the health center, nearly 30 kilometers away, over the heads of four men who looked tired and hungry.

Patrick Zakaria was the name of the man being carried to the health center. When he fell sick with asthma his community came together and made the stretcher hoping that he would be able to make the long distance in time.

To their great fortune, along the way they passed through one of ADRA Malawi’s impact areas, Namgogoda Kumanga Umodzi (KU) under Group Village Headman Chaseta. When members of the KU saw this group of people struggling with the stretcher they quickly informed their KU leaders of the need. Immediately the Bicycle Ambulance was brought to the group and Mr. Zakaria was transferred from the stretcher to the Bicycle Ambulance.

A sense of relief developed on the faces of the stretcher carriers, the wife of the old man and the other companions. The rest of the journey was a lot easier and quicker and Mr. Zakaria made it to the health care center in good time. To symbolize the end of troubles and as per custom the stretcher was dismantled and broken into pieces.

Early this year the Kumanga Umodzi (KU) group wrote a proposal to ADRA Malawi addressing issues that affected their community, especially sudden sicknesses and long distances to Health Clinics. In their proposal they asked for a Bicycle Ambulance to ease their mode of transport to the nearest health centre situated 15 kilometres away from their village. Thanks to the funding received from ADRA Australia, ADRA Malawi was able to provide this community and 18 other communities with a much needed Bicycle Ambulance.

Patrick Zakaria, from a neighbouring village would not have received the help he required without the support of ADRA Australia and ADRA Malawi. Bicycle Ambulances are a vital form of transport that saves lives.

Friday, June 24, 2011

MACDONALD has a garden

Story by: Mercy Chakoma, Food Security & Nutrition Officer

Elephants are animals that make most people appreciate nature. However, for Macdonald Nyamayasauka who lives in Mkwatire village, Salima, elephants are what destroyed his crops.

In search of food elephants often wonder into people’s fields, especially during the times when food is scarce in the bush. Unfortunately, some people have even lost their lives to elephants during these “food raids”. It is hard to stop a hungry elephant and this is how Macdonald lost half of his maize crop last season. What he was left with was not enough to feed his wife and three children.

However, all was not lost for Macdonald when he found himself among several beneficiaries receiving cassava cuttings and trainings in improved farming from the Tsogolo Labwino project, funded by AusAid through ADRA Australia.

Macdonald received 2 bundles of cassava that eventually multiplied to 1 acre. To avoid elephant attacks on his field he planted his crops closer to his home in a homestead garden. Later he also received 2 bundles of sweet potato vines of which he planted in the homestead garden as well. After applying all his acquired knowledge and skills, the success of his homestead garden has relieved him from fears that he would not be able to feed his family.

These crops have not only provided food but have also provided him with income. With this extra money he can now buy basic needs such as soap, milling and salt. It was easy to see the joy this has brought him.

In the future Macdonald hopes to expand his garden even at the cost of coming across elephants. He is encouraging his fellow farmers not to give up but to keep trying other means of protecting their fields like making noise and lighting fires to scare the elephants. He also thanks ADRA for their help and wishes the same to extend to other needy people in different areas.