Steve Harawa on his way to train at Mzuzu Central Hospital
Monday, 22 April 2013 - Andrew's bar "the Beach Breeze" has continued to do astounding well since its opening almost 3 weeks ago. All 21 TAFA students are funded again for this final term at school and Kwame Phiri has been asked to leave his position as Project Director with TAFA. I have also been working with Chrispin at Glec's International College of Business for their certification in the UK.
So much has happened in the last 3 weeks, it seems like months. Andrew's bar is doing well, beyond his expectations, which certainly is a great feeling and incentive to continue to make things grow. He is working on equipment for entertainment and the kitchen so that he might open the restaurant part of the business. Thanks again to Mary Nyirenda, headmaster at Mkondezi School. All of TAFA's students from last term are back in school and have been funded. Mary has worked tirelessly to get all the funds to all the different school that the students attend. Steve Harawa continues his nurses training at St Johns in Mzuzu and is doing a practical which included inserting his first catheter last week and working with people who have been severely burned.
Some things work, others do not... so much the story of Africa. It is with great sadness today that I announce that Kwame Phiri is no longer working with or associated with TAFA. This outcome is one of my biggest disappointments of my work with TAFA to date.
And it is a good feeling to see Chrispin Gogoda "grow" Glec's International College of Business in Mzuzu. Jacob "Jacco" Mahone, a TAFA student is doing well at the college and I am working with Chrispin to get accredidation with ABE in the UK.
And it is truely a wonderful feeling as many of the students "flash" me so that they might thank me with great enthusiasm for being able to return to school. That is the best part of "it all" :):)
Tuesday, 2 April 2013 - Andrew's bar "the Beach Breeze" has opened this week on Likoma Island. Chrispin Gogoda, TAFA chairperson and the founder of Glec's International College of Business, continues to expand his school facilities in Mzuzu, and meet the standards for being accredited.
I am so proud of Andrew, of what he has done, and what he has achieved over the last 10 months. From leaving Malawi for South Africa, not so sure what he was doing, to now having his hard work and determination pay off. Kwame, TAFA's Project Manager is spending time on Likoma Island to help the bar operate, train staff and most importantly, implement good business practices.
Chrispin has been working hard to expand the teaching facilities at the college he founded in Mzuzu, Clec's International School of Busienss. He has been working hard getting the school accredited by both the Malawi government and ABE in the UK. I have been supporting him with this, having a number of conversations with people in London.
Sunday, 4 March 2013 - FUNDRAISER AT THE BACKSTAGE LOUNGE - A good time was had by all! Attah Wallaaii and the drum circle, Kesseke Yeo, dancer and entertainer, Marc Fournier, one of the best DJs in Vancouver with his Afro/Worldbeat music, with dancing with "Lady Valy" from Lilongwe, Malawi and an incredible set by Ras Longlife. The finale was Mr Fantastik (Jeffry Wood) along with the band Jah Request Rootlife Band.
Mr Fantastik and the Jah Request Rootlife Band
Mr Fantastik (Jeffrey Wood)
Saturday 16 February 2013 - LOVE THE BEAT
TAFA's music days begin on SUNDAY, 3 MARCH!
Sunday, March 3, 2013
The Backstage Lounge & Touch And Feel Africa at the back of the ARTS CLUB THEATRE 1585 Johnston Street on Vancouver’s Granville Island | 604.687.1354 Usually, Easy & Free Parking on Sunday Evenings get directions >>
Love The Beat
Some of the BEST MUSIC, DANCE & ENTERTAINMENT
from Vancouver and around the World
Performing from 2:30pm until 11pm
Supporting Local Vancouver Artists and Education in Africa
School Uniform manufacturing at Mkondezi Village, near Nkhata Bay to provide uniforms and income in the village
Tuesday, 12 February 2013 - Nobody would have believed this two months ago!! :)
TAFA has helped get 2 students into college and is funding university applications for a 3rd student. And two "orphans" funded to Secondary School in the village of Lisale.
It has been an amazing month. "Jacco" (Jacob) Mahone has been chatting and emailing me for a couple of months from Nkhata Bay. He wanted to go to college. He is an orphan, and didn't even have enough money to eat breakfast everyday. So we started working together, something just based on FAITH, not knowing how to have it happen. TAFA does not have the budget to "fully fund" college students, even in Malawi. After working with Jacco on a number of plans, we found he suddenly had a "college opportunity" at the new Glecs International College of Management Sciences (more on Glecs next month). In 2 weeks Jacco's life has gone from "doing nothing and hoping," to studying hard in a course of business at Glecs. I greatly commend him on his enthusiasm and willingness to make things happen with so little resources.
Steve Harawa is now in nurses training at St John's College of Nursing and Midwifery in Mzuzu. With a little help from TAFA, so he could apply for scholarships. That was all it took and he too has embarked upon an incredible opportunity. In Malawi, even to get a scholarship takes fees that most students find almost impossible to find.
TAFA is now working with Lilmedson Ngwira to help him apply for scholarships too. Steve is working with him to show him how to write his test exams for the scholarships. TAFA is providing a little funding. We are all focused on the best for "Medson".
Kwame Phiri - TAFA's Project Manager asked me a month ago, "Mr. Barry, there is a boy that I see in Nkhata Bay from Lisale. He is an orphan, is very poor and is not funded to school. And I believe he is a very good student. After many attempts to reach Ganizani, (Lisale is a small village up the lake from Nkhata Bay, reached usually by boat or a 10 km hike). Kwame spent one day last week walking the 26 km from Nkhata Bay to Lisale to get Ganizani, then walking the 5 km to his school to meet with the headmaster). In the process Kwame met Grant, also in the same situation. Upon verifying they were both good students, they are currently being funded to secondary school and getting their uniforms and shoes tomorrow.
It is important for any of you who are reading this story to realize, that although TAFA has worked with these students to get them into school, buy uniforms, shoes, school supplies and hopefully soon, a mosquito net, so they don't get malaria, big challenges still exist. Food is one of them. A huge percentage of the TAFA students never have lunch and many of them leave home to go to school without breakfast. We are working on solving this situation, which to me each day really affects me. So if you would like to call me or email me email@example.com and talk about how you might help one of these students, please do. You will make my day!!!
January was a busy month, reviewing the needs of the students TAFA funded last quarter, talking with headmasters and getting exam results and meeting students to see what their needs will be for the next 3 months. With the help of Kwame Phiri - TAFA's Project Manager and the continued excellent administration of Mary Nyirenda, Headmaster of Mkondezi School, meetings were had with parents and students, discussions about contributions for school fees discussed and some pictures taken. Thanks to the fundraising at Ten Thousand Villages (Broadway Store, Vancouver and a generous contribution from Julia and Guy Borgen in Seattle, USA, we have been able to place 20+ students in school this term. We had a little money left over and we are discussing what is most important, "mosquito nets so the students don't get malaria, or text books so they had books to learn and study from?" A very hard choice. We will let you know in the next week. Please see our students.
Douglas, Kwame and Mary at the "TAFA student registration meeting"
Thursday, 27 December 2012 - A great time at Ten Thousand Villages - Broadway St in Vancouver.
Our fundraiser on Saturday at Ten Thousand Villages was not only fun, with some great music from Francis and Moses, and great support from Amelia and her staff in the store.
Amelia, the store Manager and one of the staff at Ten Thousand Villages
Moses (orginally from Ghana) with his drums
(Francis) Attah P. Wallaaii (born in Benin, lived in Ghana) played with his keyboard, drums and flute
Louis at the TAFA table talking with customers about Malawi as they came into the store
Emiliano (originally from Equatorial Guinea) playing drums
Friday, 21 December 2012 - It's been a challenging 2 weeks
The day after my last post, Kwame flashed me that his mother had been hit by a car in Mzuzu, was seriously hurt and was in the hospital. My heart went out to him, and if you have ever experienced a visit to a hospital in Malawi you would understand. They just don't have the facilities and equipment to be able to have a very good standard of care. Kwame was worried about his mothers head trauma, broken jaw and possible a broken hip. It took a couple of days to have xrays and get results. I am happy to say that she is now home and recouperating, though still not able to eat because of her broken jaw.
Kwame has 4 brothers living at home, ages 6 to 15. They rapidly ran out of food and with no money to purchase food, they were helped by Mary Waterhouse, in Seattle, WA USA so they can eat for the next 3 weeks.
Kwame's uncle was in the hospital at the same time and sadly, he passed away. Kwame went to the funeral on Monday. A long difficult couple of weeks.
Now time for great news! Andrew's restaurant/bar on Likoma Island
Andrew has been in South Africa now for about 7 months and has 3 jobs. He has not only been hard working, but "brilliant" and has been contracting and building his restaurant/bar on Likoma Island, Malawi while living in Pretoria, South Africa. I commend him and am so proud. His plans are to open in February or March 2013
TAFA is working with Andrew on the project and now, we will have employment for Luke, one of the students we support from Nkhata Bay, who is attending Likoma Secondary School. This is an ongoing project with Andrew.
More students working at Kunyanja
Augustine has been attending Kunyanja Private in Nkhata Bay for the last term. He has employment with the school carpenter and has been working weekends and the last week of Christmas Holidays. Three of the other students TAFA supports will begin working Saturdays in the school garden after Christmas. I give thanks to Kwame and the headmaster of Kunyanja, Sydney, for helping to facilitate this opportunity.
Monday, 3 December 2012 - Malaria, Malaria, Malaria
It's been a rough 3 weeks for many in Malawi and some of the students we sponsor and work with. Robson got malaria 3 weeks ago and was severely sick. It was scary because the more medication he received, the sicker he got. Then it was discovered he was allergic to the medication. Now I am happy to say he is feeling much better and is back to playing basketball.
4 days ago, Sahani was sick with malaria and hospitalized in Nkhata Bay. The hospital has only very basic support and working with his mother and Kwame (TAFA's Project Manager) we got him to the hospital in Mzuzu. He had blood tests done and was given different medication. When I called his mother last night and talked with him, his fever was down and he was feeling much better - but has missed his school exams. This will have to be sorted out next week
I just got off the phone with Kwame. He is feeling better. 3 days ago he told me he was not feeling well. "Maybe malaria Mr. Barry." Last night he was sick too and on his way to the hospital for medication this morning.
TAFA is very happy to be part of a Partnership Day with Ten Thousand Villages on Broadway St in Vancouver on Saturday 22 December. PLEASE CONSIDER GETTING YOUR LAST MINUTE CHRISTMAS GIFTS ON THAT DAY. Not only will you be supporting TAFA and the schools and students in Malawi, you will also be supporting artisans around the world.
Tuesday, 23 October 2012 -Stop DRILLING FOR OIL in Lake Malawi.
To all of my friends, associates, teachers and students. PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION and forward it on to your friends, families and associates. Lake Malawi is one of the wonders of the world. In the top of the deepest and with the most fish species of any lake on this planet. The people of Malawi are also dependent upon the lake for water and fishing.
Monday, 22 October 2012 - I am most happy to announce that TAFA has its first full time employee - meet Kwame Falo Phiri - our new Project Manager!
I have known Kwame for some time and have greatly admired not only his attitude and skills but his committment to helping those around him. And he is not afraid to take risks (see the story of his work trip to Tanzania below) and work hard. Kwame has been one of the primary supporters, with his activism, to stop the drilling for oil in Lake Malawi.
It is with great enthusiasm that I welcome Kwame to TAFA and look forward to working with him to complete our current projects in a timely way, and to bring expertise and knowledge to having the projects remain successful. I also look forward his to his leadership in choosing and implementing future projects.
Tuesday, 9 October 2012 -Almost all of the student fees have been paid for 18 students for the beginning of the school term.
Its been a long 3 weeks working with the students, parents, many students who are orphans, on how to "work out" school fees for the coming year. Thanks so much to Mary Nyirenda, headmaster at Mkondezi Village who has interviewed students, parents and in the last week contacted other headmasters to pay invididual fees.
It is a difficult task to work with parents to determine what they can contribute to the actual school fees, and then if they can be sure their child has shoes, a uniform and the necessary notebooks, pens, and calculators.
I am also in the planning stages with Mary to begin the "manufacturing" of school uniforms in Mkondezi Village. We are currently refining our budget as to costs and how we might distribute them.
The "Nkhata Bay Chicken Farm" is still in the planning stages and we are again revising the plans and the budget.
The people to thank - It is so often that the people who really should get thanked, don't. These days the calls (or flashes on my phone - I must call back) are from students and often parents, thanking me profusely for helping them go to school.
It is not me (generally speaking) who comes up with the majority of the funding for the students. This September I would like to thank David and Steve at Coin-O-Matic Vending in Seattle WA, Milo at Milo European Cars in Vancouver, BC, Michele Ada Alston in Seattle, WA and others for their contributions to make all of this possible.
Thursday, 6 September 2012 - School starts for the year, my phone rings "off the hook" as students "flash" me to call them back to talk about their school fees. The devaluation of the kwacha catches up and makes it hard for everyone. Often extremely hard.
TAFA is taking hard look and re-evaluating it's projects, the students it funds and how the funding is done. We are also well advanced into planning our "chicken farm" to see if some students can make some money to help with school fees.
The Kwacha devaluation, which happened back in May when Joyce Banda became President is traveling through the school system. Last school term, it was greatly to TAFA's benefit and sending dollars to Malawi was greated with substantially more kwacha in exchange. Now the cost of tuition has soared and we are trying to sort out how many students we are going to be able to fund at the beginning of this school term.
I have little doubt, that the substantial raising of school fees will cause 10s of 1000s or more, of Malawi students to not be able to attend school this year. I am most disappointed by the actions of Joyce Banda and the Government of Malawi.
The Chicken Farm... as suggested by Frighton Kachule. This story shows why I work so hard on TAFA and feel what is being done is so important. I ask you to spend 10 minutes now and read Frighton's story. It is a story, not of just Frighton's life, but so, so many of the students we work to help.
For initial "costs in dollars" for the chicken farm click here
I will keep you updated over the next couple of weeks as we move from the planning stages to getting our first chickens.
Sunday, 1 July 2012 - Mary Nyirenda and Dennis Kumwenda, both headmasters, get over their bouts of malari, Augustine returns to Tukombo, (south of Nkhata Bay) for his Grandmother's funeral, one computer seems to be fixed and Andrew gets a "second job".
Malaria, a huge problem in Malawi. It is not uncommon to get it repeatedly in one year. I am very happy to say that Mary Nyirenda (headmaster fo Mkondezi School) is now out of hospital and feeling much better. Dennis Kumwenda (headmaster at Phonics School -where Augustine is attending) is also feeling much better after malaria 2 weeks ago.
A funeral was conducted today for Augustine's grandmother in Tukombo, south of Nkhata Bay. Augustine called me yesterday to let me know and we worked out how to get him transport to get there. (he just called me that he arrived...yes, Africa may be all
the way over "there" but it is generally easy to stay in touch). My heart felt condolences go out to Augustine and the family.
When it rains, a computer can get wet. One of the computers that TAFA donated to Butterfly got wet a couple of months ago when it rained. A huge thanks to Malizani Silavwe in Karonga, who was able to find a motherboard in Tanzania and get the computer up and operating. We will test the computer over the next couple of weeks before sending it back to the media centre.
I am so happy to write that Andrew, who is near Pretoria, South Africa, got a "second job" last week. In addtion to working in a restaurant as a waiter, bartender and kitchen staff 2 days a week, he found another job looking after horses. I laughed, as I have never seen a horse in Malawi and Andrew had never seen one before, let alone touch and groom one.
Work on the "projects" continues. Always looking for additional funding. Please let me know if you can help or have ideas which can help TAFA complete our goals. I am having a telephone conference today with people from Seattle, a couple from Michigan (who have a medical clinic project in Sele, Zambia) and a person from Zambia. Will update the information after our "meeting".
Saturday, 2 June 2012 - Government exams next week, setting up internet at Kunyanja Private in Nkhata Bay, working on CVs and goal setting with students. And our two newest and largest projects - The "Bakery" in Mzuzu and the TAFA "eLibrary".
It's exam time next week and all level 2 (10th grade) and level 4 (12th grade) students must write government exams. TAFA has been funding some students for addition text books, calculators, pens and necessary supplies. I am personally very excited for Augustine Nyirenda, who "disappeared" from Nkhata Bay Secondary last term. With great thanks for his focus, largely due to his headmaster at Phonics School in Karonga, Dennis Kumwenda and teachers Moses Nwakilsalu and Mark Sichali, Augustine is traveling tomorrow back to Nkhata Bay Secondary to write his exams. We all wish him the very best.
Meet Malizani Kabaghe Silavwe, our new "IT" person from SACCO Malawi Teacher's Trust in Karonga. Malizani is accompanying Augustine to Nkhata Bay and will be meeting with Frighton Kachule at Kunyaja Private School to finish (we hope) the final preparations for the connection of the internet service. Frighton has been doing the groundwork and ordering with the phone company and we hope it all can come together in the next couple of days. This is the same project which Softchoice Cares help fund last year, including the 12 computers they supplied for Kunyanja school.
It's hard work creating your CV/resume and writing out your goals. In Malawi, I would say it can be overwhelming. It's hard to get school records, contact people and verify information. Computer access is very limited by resource and time and can be too expensive for a student. Setting realistic goals are a challenge... when you have little or no personal funding and admissions to colleges and universities very limited. The prospect of just getting a "job" next to impossible.. My admiration goes out to William Kamanga, Kwame Falo Phiri, Alinuswe Mwakikunga, Frighton Kachule and Andrew Somalia (who is trying to make it all work in Johannesburg, South Africa). They have worked to provide the necessary first steps to getting admitted and to receive funding for their goals. Now it is up to us to see how we make this all happen.
The "Bakery Project" for funding students to school. I am working hard with Harmony Thiessen here in Vancouver to raise funds. I am so excited about this project as it will create a business so students can earn their own school fees in Malawi. Please talk to me about how you can help!
The eLibrary Projecthas begun. With more students in school this term, there has been a substantial increase in requests for us to provide textbooks from the students we are working with. Like everywhere, textbooks are expensive. Without textbooks, students are severely limited to study and improve their marks. To provide a full set of text books, TAFA has begun our eLibrary Project, with plans to expand it to 100's of students over the next 24 months.
Saturday, 12 May 2012 - Joyce Banda and huge changes in Malawi
It is important to follow some of the noteworthy changes which have happened in Malawi during the last 2 weeks. The new president, Joyce Banda has continued to patch up the legacy left by former president Bingu. Foreign donors such as the UK and the United States, (those who help the government of Malawi) are now resuming their financial aid. (Some of this money still hinges on "Human Rights" policies in Malawi.) Diplomatic relations with the UK have been repaired. The IMF was able to get Malawi to devalue its currency, the kwacha this week, by about 30%. (We will see if this helps with trade and foreign currency problems, or if it just creates a huge bounce in inflation). The government did increase the lending rate now between 17% to 18% to help combat inflation. This may mean that it is even more difficult to finance a business. Food prices have risen over 30% this year, some higher.
President Banda just got back from a trip to Mozambique where previous President Bingu had created tension between the countries. She negotiated for the sale of much needed electricity to Malawi, perhaps a huge step, not only the economy, but helpful in day to day living. Often power was cut to cities, sometimes as long as 4 days. Ms. Banda is also working on an agreement with Mozambique to enable her country to use the port and river system President Bingu had initiated. Bad feelings with Mozambique had made that country shut down any attempt at access for trade by water from the Indian Ocean.
And in hopefully direct help to students in Malawi, it is hoped that the "dreaded" quota system for students at government colleges and universities comes to an end. Students from the north were restricted from enrolling because of where they were from. The fact that Joyce Banda's husband is from the north, should help sort out this unwelcome discrimination.
Saturday, 28 April 2012 - The TAFASchool Book Lending eLibrary
TAFA is starting the creation of a lending library for school books for secondary students. Please take the time to read more!
Friday, 27 April 2012 - 16 students funded for the term!
"Thanks to the donations of some generous donors yesterday, I was able to send off the balance of the student school fees this morning. TAFA now has 16 secondary students funded for this term. See the list of the students and their schools here.
Monday, 23 April 2012 - 11 students last week, trying for another 8 this week.
I sent the money via Western Union on Friday to Mary Nyirenda, the headteacher of Mkondezi school. Mary administers the money for TAFA to the different schools and students around the Nkhata Bay area. We have now funded 11 students and working to raise another $230 this week to fund 8 more students, who without funding this term, may loose their year. This to me is most unacceptable and tragic. For students who already have almost nothing, to have to repeat a year and refinance it too, makes for a rough situation.
We look forward to any help you can provide $10, $20, $100, $500. It all helps so much and I thank you so much. To donate, please click our "donate button" .
When I chatted with Augustine Nyirenda yesterday, he asked me to let you all know that he is currently enrolled in school. I received an email from his headteacher this morning commending him on his attendance and work performance. We at TAFA wish him the best to be able to make up his school year after his leaving school last term.
Monday, 16 April 2012 - It's another school term beginning this week in Malawi.
It is the beginning to the 3rd term of this year's school year. I have been in touch with students in Nkhata Bay, Mzuzu and Karonga. Our goal this term is to add an additional 8 students this term. These are student, that without financial support will not likely be able to finish their school term and their year will be lost.
In total, this is only about $250. Like to help with $10, $25 or $50?
or slightly more than $30 per student.
It really makes a difference. Your donation in the US is tax deductible
(sorry Canadians, I am working on it)
If all goes as planned, we will have 18 students going to school for this term.
I really appreciate your support...as certainly do the students!
Sunday, 8 April 2012 - The president of Malawi, Bingu wa Mutharika had a fatal heart attack on Thursday.
The countries politicians kept things quiet until yesterday, saying he was being treated in South Africa. I am glad to report, the leadership transition so far, has gone smoothly and the new president is Joyce Banda, previously the Vice President. Like all things in Malawi, it is complicated. Although she was the Vice President, she had left Mr. Bingu's party 2 years ago and started a new one. After Mr. Bingu's adversarial stances in his own country, as well as to those who wished Malawians well and wanted to help with aid, Joyce Banda seems like a true blessing for the country.
Well, things with fundraising slowly move forward. I am proud and excited to post here the latest video from my good friend Emiliano "Incorrigible".
Emiliano and his friend Francis Yehoun have been helping me to get together our music nights to raise funds for the kids to go to school. Enjoy!
Ochirra - El Hijo D La Luna
Monday, 19 March 2012 - The ADOPT A STUDENT IN MALAWI campaign - from The Color of Success is in it's 3rd week.
I have received a number of requests for more of an explanation and more information about our campaign to fund 100 more students to school. Please check out the new information I have posted regarding what we are achieving. see our donations page.
Our traveling students Kwame and Andrew, continue their adventures. Kwame had to leave Malawi with only travel documents, as the government of Malawi ran out of passport blanks for over 3 weeks. This made it impossible for him to get documentation in Arusha, Tanzania to work with a Guide Company, helping people gain access to Mt. Kilimanjaro. After having to pay off the police a number of times as he came back from work, he decided to head towards home in Malawi, stopping in Dar Es Salaam. He stayed a number of nights with my friend Max and his family. Max showed him around Dar and then with a little help from TAFA, Kwame was able to get a ticket on the Fast Ferry to go to the "paradise island" of Zanzibar and stay with my friend Jack for a week where his is now.
Andrew now has a job as a "garden boy" in South Africa, getting paid 100 Rand /day (about $12). He says the job is good and his employer good to him. He has managed to save 1800 Rand so far ($180) for college. I commend him for his fortitude.
Wednesday, 7 March 2012 - HOW WE WILL ALL CONNECT GLOBABLY AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE? - This video and its purpose will probably change the way we all connect. Ever hear about JOSEPH KONY? Are you aware of what he has done to children in Uganda? Watch INVISIBLE CHILDREN - we can all make a difference with this. Their website is at: http://s3.amazonaws.com/kony2012/kony-4.html
"We are committed to supporting others who are making a difference in the lives of children."
Founder and President
Connect, Get Involved &
We are asking you to connect by becoming a member,get involved through sponsorships or simple give a donation to change a child's life.
Our newest campaign is Adopt A Student In Malawi. Our goal is help 100 orphan children get an education. Donate today.
Color of Success was created in 1995 as way of making a difference through scholarship and rehabilitation programs. In 2010, we updated our mission to focus on children. Our goals are to raise through grants,auctions and fund raising vehicles funds and other resources to support other non profits, faith based organizations, businesses and NGO's providing relief, food, medical, and families for kids.
It's official! Today starts our official kickoff to Adopt a Student In Malawi. The response has been awesome so far. Go to colorofsuccess.webs.com and give today! Wow, not only puts a smile on my face...but smiles across the faces of many students, parents and teachers...as they see these kids who otherwise would not be able to go to school, now have the opportunity. Thank you Louis!
Wednesday, 29 February 2012 - Students leave Malawi, looking for employment in Tanzania and South Africa...trying to get money for school fees, no modems available to set up internet connection at Kunyanja Private, Augustine found...not sure where he is going next.
It's interesting to sit back and look at where TAFA is going and what I do in a week. Seems I have become a "support service" for "students" leaving Malawi and traveling to other countries in search of work and money...to pay for school fees. Kwame has gone off to Arusha with a goal of working as a porter, hiking up Mt. Kilimanjaro. I have friends in Dar Es Salaam (Max who just visited us in Vancouver and Seattle) and Ali who works in a hotel in Zanzibar, both doing their best to give him support and advice. Andrew just left home and family on Likoma Island (where we met Augustine) and is on his way to Joburg to look for work too. So little for a future in Malawi. They are traveling with next to no money and certainly have a steep "path" a head of them. TAFA is learning and intends to expand its ability to network for the students.
I am also involved in London England in court with a student from Tanzania, trying to get his refugee status recognized in the UK and another boy from Iran who is "in hiding" in Lebanon, and working on his refugee status in Canada.
The internet connection at Kunyanja seems to have hit another "slow down". No internet modems are available. For the last 3 weeks Malawi had no passport blanks and could not issue a passport.
Augustine and I have had a number of short chats over the last 3 days. We are "working" on things...direction unknown. It is a great feeling though to know he is safe.
Chrispin Gogoda, the new chairperson of the TAFA board in Malawi is moving back to Mzuzu and has great plans for our "walk" forward with our projects. Fundraising plans in both Vancouver and Seattle are moving forward. Seems things always move ahead slower than one might like...
Sanu and I spent time last weekend traveling to Snoqualmie Falls near Seattle and to visit friends who live nearby. Sanu who I met initially and chatted with on Facebook when he was in The Gambia. He is now a student at Seattle Central College. Have been working on getting him some work so he has pocket money,
Monday, 20 February 2012 - On Saturday I had my first radio interview on "Head of the House" on Freedom Radio AM1590 with host Louis Howard.
We are doing a big push for fundraising in both Vancouver, BC and Seattle, WA. It was a great feeling to get the news out about what TAFA is currently doing and what our plans are for our projects for our students and schools in Malawi. Talk radio is our first step. We even raised some money. Louis is working hard to support our projects. See his website at: http://www.louishoward.com/
Monday, 6 February 2012
A great video on what it is like to be a school girl in Malawi
We are currently working on our plans for our girl's hostel at Kunyanja Private School in Nkhata Bay. Why don't you join us in our endeavour to help these girls go to school? Give me a call: USA 206-774-5963; Canada 778-786-1690 or Skype bthorsness. Or email me at bthorsnessatgmail.com. I would love to talk with you!
Actually be part of their life! Sponsor a girl to school for a year, know who you are helping, chat with their teachers and headmasters. Even chat with their parents, if they are lucky enough to have parents. And join us in the construction of a girl's hostel, giving these girls a place to stay so they can get an education. It is easy, costs you so very little, and truly will change a girls life for ever.
Tuesday, 31 January 2012 - Meeting others doing incredible things in Africa, Augustine disappears, working on plans for our fundraiser's at Ironworks and a conference call to Kunyanja School to begin hooking up to the internet.
It's been a challenging month!!! I said that below when I described last month. Well, this month continues more of the same...so what do you expect...this is Africa and especially, it is Malawi.
I was most honoured to be invited to the board meeting of Education Without Borders 3 weeks ago. An amazing group of people living in Vancouver, Canada, mostly from South Africa who have devoted so much time and effort over the last 10 years to their school in a township close to Cape Town. I also spent most of a morning meeting with Brenda Lowe of the One Person Project based in Summerland, Canada. She has focused on her projects in Rwanda and Tanzania. She has been responsible for containers of goods, medical supplies and even visiting doctors from Canada in her amazing efforts to help kids in these countries. I suggest you read her blog for a good understanding of what "aid" is to these countries. I am looking forward to a long and wonderful relationship with these people.
Augustine has disappeared. This has been quite devastating for me, both in regards to his future and how I, as Touch And Feel Africa sponsor and support my students. As I had mentioned previously, Augustine had been to the hospital about stomach problems at Christmas. With the help of my doctor in Vancouver, we came up with a drug therapy that we thought might help him. I sent him the money to buy his medicine and he has never returned to school. It has been a "long, heart wrenching story" for the last 10 days. I will post more information as we move along on this journey.
Plans continue for our fundraising events at Ironworks. I have been meeting with a couple of friends from Africa, the owner of Ironworks and hopefully will be finalizing a "start date" tomorrow. I am so looking forward to having an ongoing and stable funding source for the school fees for the students.
I have a conference call with the founders and headmaster of Kunyanja school tonight (tomorrow Malawi time), to begin the finalization of our internet access program. This is to make available internet to the 12 computers that I brought with me last July and set up at the school. Hopefully, we will have web access for all the students and some people in the near by area in the next 30 days.
Our board of directors in Malawi will be going through some changes this month. There will be elections for the various directors including the chairperson. I am greatly looking forward to working with some very wonderful and hardworking directors in the next year.
Monday, 9 January 2012 - 10+ students, back to school for the next term
It's been a challenging month. Many of the students we are supporting to school are trying to get into their preferred schools. Augustine Nyirenda is back to Nkhata Bay Secondary School after spending Christmas and New Years with Mr. Kanyimbo at Palm Private in Chitipa, his math teacher. He spent 3 weeks being tutored mostly in math. We have a new student Gracious Mwandwanga who sought me out by constantly calling and asking for help. He is at Maghemo Secondary School in Karonga. I sent the remainder of the school fees to Augustine and he delivered the money to Mary Nyirenda (no relationship) for distribution on Saturday. The other students are working hard to get accepted into Bandawe Secondary as boarding students. This all takes time, paperwork and much bureaucracy.
Thanks to a generous donor, most of the school fees were met. I am working on funding for 2 additional students and hoping a donor will help very soon.
Friday, 23 December 2011 - A Synopsis of the Last Month
I just got off the phone with Mary Nyirenda, head teacher at Mkondezi School. The telephone network has not been working well and it took me 3 days to reach her. She was just finishing planting maize in her garden at the school. She is doing well and has not had malaria yet this year. The 5 students that I have sponsored through her are doing well too. They are waiting for their school marks before they return to school on 9 January. The solar lights are continuing to work well for the most part, with some now needed battery upgrades. Since it is the wet season, charging them has become more of a challenge.
Augustine, the first student we sponsored is spending Christmas at Palm Private School at Chitipa in far north eastern Malawi with one of his teachers. He has been quite sick which necessitated a bus trip to Karonga, the main city in northern Malawi. Suffering from a combination of a very bad cough, extreme stomach pain and sores around his mouth from malaria, his teacher Mr. Kanyimbo suggested I send him to the hospital as soon as possible. See the next paragraph for more about Augustine and how my "newest" sponsored child helped get Augustine to the hospital. "what goes around comes around".
Gracious Mwandwanga, a 16 year old boy, in level 2 at Maghemo Secondary School in Karonga first contacted me about 6 weeks ago by "flashing" me on my phone. (flashing is when somebody calls you, letting in ring one time, so you can see on your caller id who it is, and then call them back)
I called the number back and asked who I was talking to. "Gracious", was the reply. We chatted about how he found me, where he lives and why the call, "I need school funds", he replied. Well Gracious has been the most persistent "kid" I have ever met. He continued to "flash" every few days. He sent me emails and then a "CV" about himself and his school. He would follow up with "flashing" me again. Did I get the email? He was so persistent and so "good" at what he was doing, I thought this might be the ultimate fraud.
I called Mr. Manda, the headmaster of Maghemo School in Karonga. I asked him if he knew Gracious. Was he indeed a student at his school? We chatted and he confirmed the story.. Gracious was a hard working student who worked "piece work" to try to get enough money to go to school. I asked Mr. Manda about the hospital in Karonga and if he could help me get Augustine to the hospital and perhaps a private clinic. (I've been in hospitals in Malawi...they are often very scary because of the lack of help and facilities).
Augustine got off the bus in Karonga and stayed 2 nights with Mr. Manda and his family. Mr. Manda took him to the hospital which was right next door to the school. In doing so Augustine was able to confirm Gracious's story and his needs for funding, by visiting his home and meeting Gracious's mother.
I was so stuck trying to figure out how to confirm Gracious's story and where to send a very sick Augustine so he could get medical attention. And both problems were a solution to each other. So truly amazing.
It's been an early Christmas present for me! A double present...I have another student I am sponsoring...Gracious. I am looking forward to getting to know him better, in fact getting to know him well. I am sure we will email each other frequently over the next months. I will no doubt talk to him on the phone. And for both of us, our lives will be changed. And I look forward to meeting him in person on my next trip to Malawi.
Augustine is back in Chitipa feeling much better. He has now made two trips to a private clinic in Karonga, and his medicines, although making him feel good, unfortunately according to his doctor are not a cure. They do not have the antibiotics in Malawi that he needs. I guess this will be one of my next challenges for the new year. Augustine was also able to take money for school fees and deliver them to Mr. Manda for Gracious for his next term starting in January.
I am working hard on my fundraising projects for the new year too. Both in Vancouver at The Ironworks, starting in February and in Seattle, probably with a "Silent Auction" early in the year. My projects with the Girl's Hostel at Kunyanja Private School are moving forward. Feston Singoyi, one of the founder's of the school has now sent me plans and cost estimates. I am also working with Timothy Kumwenda, the head teacher at Bandawe School, on an extension to their dormitories. Students at the moment need to sleep in converted classrooms. I have also promised Manuel Kondowe, the headmaster of Nkhata Bay Secondary School to raise funds to help with the bed and mattress situation in their dormitories. Students must sleep two boys on an old single bed mattress. And many bed frames are just falling apart.
I am excited about 2012! I am so pleased and happy about the accomplishments of TAFA with the schools and the students in 2011.
I look forward to working hard to complete the projects we are working on. So much can be done in Malawi...a little money really goes a long way, and really changes lives!
We are working towards our newest project and goals for the remainder of 2011 and continuing through 2012. These include more student sponsorship, the construction of dormitory facilities, especially for girls, our 1000 light campaign and internet access for students. click here to see our projects and goals
It is a great feeling to help these students with their school fees, and often school uniforms and shoes so that they can attend school. Without the help of TAFA these students probably would not have been able to attend school this year.
TAFA has initiated a "volunteer program" with both Mkondezi School and Kunyanja Private where the sponsored students must "volunteer" in projects such as the school garden or as teaching assistants to qualify to receive their school fees. click here to meet the students
The new board is a dream come true. And it is thanks to the belief and commitment of my friend Shadreck Patel who organized the first meeting of the board. "Your work must not die Mr. Barry" was his mantra. click here to meet our board.
Monday, 19 September 2011 - I am back in Seattle and getting ready for the drive to Vancouver
The plane landed after a long, long trip, 2 1/2 hours, Lilongwe, Malawi to Johannesburg, South Africa; 15 1/2 hours, Joburg to New York; and then almost 6 hours NY to Seattle. Time to go home to sleep and catch up. More soon!!
One of the highlights of the trip was my conversation with a CEO of an insurance company based in Zambia who was sitting beside me. I mentioned to him how attached I had gotten to all the kids and the people I have been working with.. He told me his story of how a mzungu (white person) had put him through school many years ago. His "mzungu" was now in his 80's and had become his "father". They still chatted and tried to visit each other regularly. The conversation only re-enforced my commitment to the students and my projects. And confirmed to me how important it all is. It truly does make a huge difference to so many peoples lives.
DHL called. The 2nd box of computers had arrived at their office in Mzuzu. They were going to deliver them this afternoon to Feston at Kunyanja Private. A confirmation phone call 6 hours later to Feston- yes! they were at the school!
It was an emotional day. Mary Nyirenda, the head teacher from Mkondezi school and 4 of the students we are supporting, walked me from the village out to the highway to say goodbye and see me off. We chatted, laughed and carried on as we walked. I asked them what they wanted to do when they finished school and how we were going to achieve their goals and dreams. Much to understand and even more to put into place.
A minivan stopped for me and I crowded in with everyone else. It was one of the first times that I was aware that I didn't want to talk to anyone else. I was already missing the kids and Mary, Feston and the teachers from Kunyanja Private and Mkondezi.
I felt so good at what I had accomplished in my 2 1/2 months in Nkhata Bay, but it was balanced by all the things I feel should come next.
I am not sure when I will be back. I do know that I am so happy to have such a good group of people and students to work with, to keep things going and to initiate and complete new projects. My new board of directors is the "jewel" of this trip to Malawi. Already they are putting into place their fundraising plan in Malawi. More on everyone in the days to come as I update the website.
I went to DHL Saturday morning first thing. The president had turned off the power to the whole of Northern Malawi and the office was dark and the door locked. I called the phone number on the door and talked to Mr. Banda. He was out picking up packages and would be back in 10 minutes. Almost an hour later he arrived and I could see one of the large computer boxes I had sent from Seattle. Needless to say, I took the box with me and one of my board members Hansen helped me to get them to another board member's restaurant - Chrispin and then I phoned a friend and new board member Medson to come get me and take me to Nkhata Bay. I am working with Feston, the founder of Kunyanja school to install them today. The 2nd box is supposed to be delivered tomorrow. Such a great feeling!
Thursday, 8 September 2011 - In Mzuzu - the last trip I hope for the computers - to DHL - now they want a processing fee.
The computers were supposed to be delivered on Monday and a phone call to DHL yesterday and we were told they want more money. Feston Singoyi (the founder of Kunyanja Private Secondary School in Nkhata Bay) and I arrived in Mzuzu a couple of hours ago to pay DHL to deliver the computers. It's supposed to happen tomorrow. Another $60.00 of unexpected fees. Hopefully the last. We have spent the rest of the morning purchasing chains and locks to secure the computers and some education syllabus books for the school.
We tested the Solar/LCD lights last night at a study room with students from Mkondezi School. Yesterday, some students and I spent the morning building "light trees" from branches in the forest. We were very creative and used bricks some neighbours were making and created stands for the lights. Mary Nyirenda, the headmaster for the school arranged for the level 8 students to arrive for their first study group of the year. (School just started on Monday here in Malawi.) I would say the lights were a great success, but with some problems. Pictures and more when I get home in just over 10 days.
We then went off to explore the surrounding forest and watch the monkeys. As the bricks dried for the light trees, three students who Touch And Feel Africa are sponsoring to school and myself went off to watch the monkeys. It was a great time!! I have seen monkeys in many parts of Africa before, but these ones were big and seeing them fly through the trees and often pose and dance for us was a great experience.
TAFA has been able to sponsor 5 students to school this term...thanks to our donors who helped with funds before I left for Malawi in June. School started on Monday here in Malawi and everyone was getting ready. Augustine, the student we sponsored last year left Sunday on his long trip up to Palm Private Secondary School in Chitipa in Northern Malawi near the Tanzania and Zambia borders. The school has an excellent reputation and was recommended highly by many people. We have also helped students to go to school just by helping them buy a pair of shoes or a school uniform. Without these items, going to school is not possible. I am most happy to announce that 4 other students are receiving tuition to go to school. Thank you again to the donors who helped fund these students!! I wish you could have seen their faces and receive the incredible thank you's I got from them and from the parents of the few that have a parent(s). Photos and bios of these kids when I get home in 10 days!
Still working on water projects. On Tuesday it was off visiting more remote schools with the water department. Great time on a motorcycle travelling remote roads and up and down some pretty rough roads. Perhaps it's good to say...still haven't found a school that meets the necessary criteria for the solar water purification unit. More work with the water department next Monday.
Great second board meeting for Touch And Feel Africa on Sunday afternoon. We had a very productive meeting of the new board and choose people to be in charge of the various projects Touch And Feel Africa is working on, now in the future.
Tuesday, 24 August 2011 - In Blantyre working on getting the computers
It's been a long couple of weeks. As I know from experience, things move slowly in Africa. But with my time rapidly running out, I am starting to feel a little frustrated. Arrived in Blantyre this morning after an all night bus ride from Nkhata Bay via Mzuzu. Long 12 hours. Working with the founders of Kunyanja School on getting the computer released from customs. This has been going on almost for a month. Yesterday Feston (the founder of Kunyanja School) and I spent all morning talking to customs. We were referred to no less than 11 people. And all this at costly cell time. So we made the trip here to sort things out. More to come in the next couple days.
Have started shooting the videos for the lights. Will finish up when school starts on the 5th September.
Have teamed up with the Nkhata Bay Water Board to visit schools for the water project. The ideal schools seems to be eluding us. Seems there are lots of schools that need help with their water, but it is usually the borehole and often the pump that is the problem.
Had my first "board" meeting in Nkhata Bay last Saturday. Needless to say, I am thrilled. Thanks to my friend Shadreck Patel who I met last time I was here, he arranged to have a number of different people come to a meeting at Big Blue to support me and become part of a Touch And Feel Africa Board. People attending ranged from the head of the police of Nkhata Bay, to a minister and an IT person. We have scheduled another meeting for September
Saturday, 5 August 2011 - Working on the Projects
It is a fact, web access in Nkhata Bay is some of the poorest in the world. Needless to say, access to email is poor and very limited...thus the fact I can only update this page when I travel one hour to Mzuzu the largest city in northern Malawi.
The computers have arrived in Malawi on time, now it seems we have the long, drawn out task of getting the government not to charge duty and VAT on them, According to the tax structure, the computers are exempt from these charges as they are going to a community school.
Have been testing the lights for the last 5 days. I am impressed by the solar/led lights that come from Nokero. Not only are they bright enough to read and study, they also make an inexpensive alternative to paraffin/kerosene lanterns. Instead of sitting in the dark after 6 pm, we now have light! We are doing a limited distribution to 3 schools to test response to the lights and we will be shooting a video of the distribution and how the lights affect the lives of the students in about 2 weeks.
The water project is coming along. Have spent 2 days evaluating schools that need upgraded water supplies. Some of the schools are somewhat remote and take a while to hike to. The fact that on two of the mornings it has been pouring rain, we are planning to choose a school next week.
My heart goes out to both Mary Nyirenda, whose father and uncle passed away last week and to "Professor Wiseman" whose mother passed away at the beginning of the week.
I continuing to work on volunteer opportunities with the schools and the volunteer-school funding project that we are planning to put into place and evaluate in September.
Sunday, 17 July 2011 - Finally I made it to Nkhata Bay Malawi
It's been a long journey to get here and a bit of an adventure. The all night flight from Seattle to NY was straightforward and the 15 hour flight on South African Airways was long but wonderful. Truly a great airline.
Got to Johannesburg on Monday 11 July. Had a great time with friends and my thanks goes out to Sharon Versfeld who truly is one the most generous hosts and who has helped me in so many ways on my travels in Africa. Thanks also to Gavin Hayward, the publisher of the Exit newspaper who drove all the way to the Joburg airport to pick me up.
I found that on Monday, that all the bus to Lilongwe was full on Wednesday. Was then delayed until Saturday for my two day, all night bus odyssey to Lilongwe, traveling the length of Zimbabwe and across Mozambique to Lilongwe, Malawi.
The bus ride was actually quite enjoyable, (though very tiring). Most of the people on the bus were from Malawi as well as the 3 drivers and concierge (William). William made the trip work for me and was always able to get me to the head of the lineups at customs for both Mozambique (which took me 1 1/2 hours to get my visa) as my African friends (who did not need visas) waited patiently on the bus.
Got to the Malawi border and it sure felt like Malawi. Immigration seemed to be so slow. Then we had to unload the whole bus and a semi type trailer that the bus was pulling...then wait and wonder for the next 6 hours why nothing was happening and where were the officers who were supposed to go through our stuff.
Got into Lilongwe 2 hours earlier than scheduled and Augustine (the boy I am sponsoring to school) and his cousin where there to pick me up which was so appreciated.
I found myself staying in a "township" about 10 km from the center of Lilongwe. As we often walked in and out of the area, I found that seldom or perhaps never had a mzungu (white person) ever walked through the area, let alone stay there. It was a treat. Although the people are some of the very poorest I have seen anywhere, they were wonderful to spend time with. No electricity, 1 LED lantern to light the house at night, the kitchen...an fire on the ground out of the back door both to cook and heat water for the shower (which is a plastic tub you put in an enclosed area outside. Toilet took both some practice to aim and not fall over as it is also the most basic squat over the hole type.
Ended up staying 3 days longer than planned. Malawi had nationwide protests against the president and the government. The city shut down and the police and army came out in full force. Cars and tires were burned and 14 people were shot and killed. Walking down the highway became so dangerous, Augustine would take me on back roads through the township neighbourhoods to avoid the problems.
Spent two days with human rights people (some very prominent attorneys included) working on Augustine's case with his previous school and the school administration of Malawi. As we traveled with these guys we had to use regular unmarked cars as they were being targeted by the President and the police. Somewhat eerie, and I have to admit a little exciting. (more on this later)
On Sunday we took the 7 hour bus ride to Nkhata Bay. I was so happy to arrive. Am staying with Augustine's grandfather, camped outside of their tiny two room house in their village. I love to camp...but this is life even more basic than camping at any campsite in the USA or Canada. Learning so much and appreciating even more. Will write much more in the days to come.
on my way back to Malawi Africa - 9 July 2011
returning 18 September 2100
Projects include: completing the distribution of solar/LED lights
for schools and students
the set up and networking of 12 computers paid for by a Softchoice Cares Grant
funding for student education and supplies including tuition and school supplies
completing an on going plan for Augustine, the boy we sponsored for school in Nkhata Bay last October
designating schools for my "Clean Water" project with the help of our partner, Clean Water Foundation
the “lemonade stand” project a team effort to create sustainable funds for education
confirming volunteer opportunities for our partnership with Project Elevate
and probably most importantly the formal creation of a group of advisors and a team
So much can be done for so little,
And it really does change lives!
The Latest News and what's happening.
Thursday, June 16, 2011 - I am so stressed getting things together for Malawi! My "partners" in Malawi seem so excited. Yesterday I chatted with Mary Nyirenda of Mkondezi school. She volunteered to meet me in Johannesburg in one month and accompany me back to Nkhata Bay. This is a bus ride of epic proportions...and especially in Africa. The bus leaves at 9am travels all day, all night, all the next day and if all goes well arrives about 10pm. This involves travel in Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
I chatted with Professor Wiseman too. The University of Malawi is in its 5th month of being shut down over a walkout of teachers and students regarding free speech at the university. This has greatly impacted my work with fundraising for the girl's dormitory at Msani School, the distribution of the LED/solar lights and other projects Professor Wiseman and I have been working on.
The good news is that he may have "extra" time to help me with projects next month including the video of school students using the LED/solar lights.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - We have nonprofit status! The bank accounts are done. Touch And Feel Africa and the Masanjala Education Foundation will now be known as the Nyasa Education Foundation. (The Nyasa Education Foundation is tax exempt under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code and registered in the State of Washington).
I wish to thank Gerald Macheso for all his help and expert ability to create this entity. His foundation has been providing educational support for schools in Malawi for over 5 years.
And congratulations to Gerald! His parents and priest arrived in Seattle last week from Malawi for his upcoming marriage on June 25th. I cannot image much to be more exciting than to have your parents travel from Malawi to Seattle, for a wedding and their first experience of how we live.
I will be spending time with Gerald's brother Charles in Malawi working on education funding and the water projects with the Clear Water Foundation.
Saturday, May 21, 2011 - Our "project outline" has been posted online. This outline is in the process of being expanding and changed as we proceed with our goals and plans.
I look forward to any comments, ideas, suggestions and most of all questions you may have after reading it. Your questions often help me focus on things I may have never considered, which often are very important to making the project the success we would like to see.
Monday, May 9, 2011 -Touch and Feel Africa received the check from Softchoice Cares for funding for computers, a generator, possibly solar panels for Msani School. We have also provided funding for Mary at Mkondezi School for a data dongle for her school notebook so they can be connected to the internet. We are currently reviewing computers and logistics for shipping and installation of the computers. The computer lab at Msani School is currently being built.
Sunday, May 8, 2011 -Touch and Feel Africa has teamed up with Leon Mclaughlin of Clean Water Foundation. (see Leon's non profit and the NBC newscast on his water project in Bolivia). Leon has committed to work with Touch And Feel Africa with his next water project in Malawi. Paula Boggs, (VP Starbucks and well known singer) was the first contributer to our joint project. Leon is also working with us on our "Lemonade Stand" project in Nkhata Bay and Mzuzu, Malawi to create sustainable funding for our educational projects. More to come shortly.
Monday, May 2, 2011 -Touch and Feel Africa has teamed up with the Masanjala Foundation to support each other with our commitments of support for students in Malawi. The Masanjala Foundation was begun by Gerald Macheso who as a young student was adopted and brought to Seattle, where he currently resides and works at the University of Washington. Our joint project will be called the Nyasa Education Foundation. Gerald currently provides funding for between 25 to 50 students, depending on funding.
Friday, April 16, 2011 - Mary Nyirenda, headmaster of Mkondezi School sent me the pictures of their shopping and supplies for the school.
"greetings! please receive the attached pictures of items we bought with funds we received. on behalf of all students and the community of mkondezi, extend our word of appreciation to the lady who provided the funds"
Thursday, March 31, 2011 - School supplies for Mkondezi School! A donor in San Diego, donated $250 for paper, pens and paint for the school. The money was sent to Mary Nyirenda, the headmaster of the school today. Her plans are to shop for the supplies next Friday in Mzuzu, the closest city (about 30 minutes away) for Nkhata Bay.
Friday, March 11, 2011 - The best news!!!. I received a call from Karly Pierce, board member of Softchoice Cares today. Our application for our grant to supply 12 netbook computers, power generator and equipment for a computer lab at Msani school has been approved. More information on shipping and lab setup to come. A huge thank you to the employees of Softchoice!
Tuesday, March 8, 2011 - We hit a snag! Unfortunately events at the University of Malawi in Zomba stopped the delivery of our lights to the schools in Nkhata Bay. Yes, Malawi, somewhat like other places in Africa has it's people looking at their democracy too. more information
Monday, February 28, 2011 - Meeting with another non profit in Seattle to see if we can team up and support each other in our work in Africa. More to be posted after my meeting on Monday.
Thursday, February 24, 2011 - An application was submitted for funding to supply 12 computers and a generator for Msani School. I will provide more information when I learn of the status of our application.
Thursday, February 12, 2011 - Have been busy working with a number of people and visiting attorneys and lawyers in the US and Canada to see how to best set up a non profit. I am also in meetings with profession people to help structure and guide Touch And Feel Africa so it meets its goals and is truly effective.
Friday, January 28, 2011 - Two cases of light bulbs (80) were just delivered to Professor Wiseman's office at the University of Malawi. We expect to deliver the lights to Mkondezi School (where both homes and the school have no electricity) and to Msani School (no electricity). Some lights will be tested in the school for use by the students and others distributed to some orphans who are students attending the school.
A video is being created to show the students and the schools and the impact the lights have on their studying and school work. We plan to upload the video(s) as soon as they are complete.
Thank you to all who have donated to our "1st phase" of lights for the students in the Nkhata Bay area. We are currently working on donations for our 3rd case of 40 lights!
Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - I have just worked a "deal" with Nokera for lights for the schools in Malawi. I have already committed to sending 40 N100 lights next week, and have the goal of one more case of 40 N200's this week to include with the shipment.
Would you like to contribute just $20 to make this happen? This will buy 2 lights, one for yourself and one for a student in Malawi. Or you can send them both to Malawi. Just let me know.