This morning we visited a village called “Tembwe Village”. I am going to have to keep this post relatively short and focus more on the pictures because we are packing up tonight for an early start to Lake Malawi, which is about a four hour drive from here. As I am writing this it is actually day 5 here, not day 2 but the days are so packed and there is so little time in the evening to write, not to mention the daily power outages.
Tembwe Village is similar in many ways to the village I wrote about in the previous posts, I have noticed however that the children here were not that afraid of us compared to the other village. We were greeted in a similar manner to which we were greeted the other day at the first village, absolutely amazing singing and dancing in beautifully coloured clothing, this seems to be a custom because it happens to us almost every day – It is absolutely an incredible experience, I love it. As you can see from the picture below, this is definitely a smaller group than the group that met us on our first day, the reason for this is that it is all women that belong to a breastfeeding club that has been setup by World Vision.
Very young children getting sick and dying is a big problem here and one of the major causes is because women have not had a proper understanding of breastfeeding. Most believed that feeding their babies occasionally was adequate, and their primary diet was some sort of corn meal that did not provide them with the required nutrition. They have also been taught generation after generation, that they should never feed their babies the first milk right after they are born. In fact the opposite is true, and without this first milk they are actually missing the antibodies required to fight off germs and disease. World Vision is aware of these misconceptions and sets up “clubs” in these villages to educate women on the correct procedure. Woman after Woman got up and spoke to the benefits they have seen since this education process has been established. They all acknowledged that their children were no longer getting sick and were growing up much healthier.
One of the women (kneeling) is giving a demonstration on how they make corn meal. The lady standing is “Ivy”, our World Vision contact that has setup all of our visits and acts as our translator.
This is the community bathroom…
And, this is the toilet…
I’m still a bit of a curiosity here, the children are usually a little reserved and shy at first, but once they have had their picture taken, they can’t get enough. They actually swarm you trying to get their face in front of the camera yelling “jambala” (I would be amazed if that is the correct spelling), which means “take my picture”, and “me”, “me”, then they giggle and laugh when you show them their image on the camera. Nothing gathers a crowd faster than that here.
This is a typical reaction; this young girl hovered around with the other children at first in a curious manner, but would run and hide if I pointed the camera at her – finally she reluctantly gave into it as though something might happen to her, laughing the whole time. Once they show an interest in having their picture taken I would concentrate on making sure I got their picture. Once I do it always appears to be the greatest thing to them. The innocence of these amazing children is absolutely unbelievable, we have now seen hundreds of children up close and I have yet to see an exception to this.
After the demonstration in the village, we returned to our meeting place at the edge of a large field with 2 rough soccer goal posts setup. This was a good time to give the children of the village one of the soccer balls that I had brought along. You can barely see the ball in the photo below, but after an invitation to come and put their hands on it and get their picture taken at the same time we had pretty much all of the children in attendance touching the ball. If you would like to see what almost all children use for a soccer ball, have a look at the next picture. I mentioned to our driver one day that I wanted to find someone with one of these homemade balls that would be interested in trading me for a new one. The next morning he showed up to pick us up and had this ball, sent from his son to trade me for a new one. I didn’t notice it immediately, but it appeared as though this ball had never touched the ground. He confirmed for me that when his son heard the offer that was on the table, he spent his evening making this ball!
As you can see, the homemade ball is significantly smaller than a standard #5 ball, but it is quite amazing how it is put together. Now that I have seen them all over the place, they are normally covered with some plastic garbage bags to make them waterproof. You will see in future posts that I am giving away a few of these to schools and other organizations wherever we go. In all of these places, with the hundreds of children I have now seen, I have not seen one real soccer ball.
After the kids played soccer for a little bit, this one ended up being the caretaker of the ball…