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MCV Newsletter #16

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  • Raymond R. Wise
    ... let those of you who will be attending times and places of the activities we currently know about. I will followup this more detailed information as plans
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 12, 2002
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      >Return-Path: <mikhill@...>
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      >Organization: Malawi Children's Village
      >From: "Michael Hill" <mikhill@...>
      >To: "wiserd@..." <wiserd@...>
      >Subject: MCV Newsletter #16
      >Date: Tue, 11 Jun 2002 20:47:50 -0600
      >
      >Malawi Children's Village
      >Newsletter #16
      >June 10, 2002
      >Friends,
      >
      >Greetings. As the Peace Corps Celebration in DC approaches, I would like to
      let those of you who will be attending times and places of the activities we
      currently know about. I will followup this more detailed information as
      plans become more solid. Also, feel free to contact me if you have any
      questions....716 393 1627; KDENNY0000@....
      >
      >Mr. Sibale will be coming to DC and will receive one of eight Host Country
      National Awards on Friday morning at the opening ceremonies. We would love
      as many of you as possible to join us at one of several opportunities to
      meet him. Friday evening we will meet informally at a restaurant to be
      determined. (Would some of you DC locals give me a suggestion for a good
      place to meet in the downtown area.)
      >
      >Saturday morning will be a MCV Board meeting. ALL are invited to attend. It
      will be from 9:00 to about 1:00. At 2:30 there will be a Country of Service
      session at a classroom provided at George Washington University. As there
      appears to be no other group seeking to present, will be prepared to talk
      about Malawi as seen through the eyes of MCV. I am attempting to contact the
      Malawian Ambassador to see if he will meet with us at one of these events or
      possibly Saturday evening.
      >
      >Linda Millette has made arrangement to set up a Malawi booth in the COS
      area. Please stop by and see her and perhaps lend a hand. Also, Jane Lotter
      will be at that site ready to share with you her lovely recently published
      book, Through Africa with Spatula" which describes the family experience in
      "The Corps", when husband Will was Director, 1965-67. It is a wonderful set
      of recollections that trigger memories galore.
      >
      >After the Peace Corps weekend, Mr. Sibale will spend another two weeks in
      the States, most of it spent in the Rochester area relaxing and
      participating in fund raising with Rotary Clubs in this area. On returning
      to Malawi, he will stop over in Germany to spend a week with Derk and Heike,
      who spent nine months at MCV in 1999.
      >
      >It is our hope to see many of you in DC These are very difficult times for
      Malawi. In spite of this, with the help of so many of you, have been able to
      offset some of the pervasive hopelessness. MCV has made a difference...a
      difference that is beginning to be recognized. To share with you some of
      excitement, I am attaching some selections from Tom and Frances Vitaglione
      letters. I cannot tell the story better. KMD
      >
      >MCV On-Site Notes 5-2-02
      >Holy Mackerel! It’s May already. Frances and I are still speaking to each
      other. We have been intensely together for more than three months now – more
      so than at any time in our 35-year marriage – and we are becoming convinced
      that this marriage is going to work. Here are some notes:
      >1. I believe Kevin has told you that the Rotary Clubs of Southern Africa
      are meeting nearby in late May. Mr. Maluzi is slated to attend and Nelson
      Mandela has been invited. Mr. Sibale has been invited to make a
      presentation, and we (Peter, Felix and I) have been preparing notes and
      overheads so the “the Bwana will look good”. Actually, these notes can form
      the basis of an MCV Progress Report that we should be able to send to you
      all in early June. We are hoping that many of the 300-500 potential
      attendees will drop in on MCV, so an incredible flurry of activity is
      underway to spruce up the site. The buildings are being repainted, the chim
      has new vent pipes (thank God), and many of the current brick walls are
      being cemented and painted (looks a whole lot neater). We also went to
      Tropex, the nearby plant sales company, where Frances acted as primary
      consultant as we bought an array of flowers to plant in front of the center.
      There is also a new walkway in front of the center, and those of you who
      been here recently will be relieved to know that the formerly comatose
      Subaru that has been parked in front of the center has been removed. (You
      will be anxious to know that this vehicle is at the moment the only MCV
      vehicle on the road.) Three of the now-cemented short brick walls form the
      outline of what will eventually become a car park. (Yes, we are still
      optimistic that we will have cars some day.) Interestingly, this enclosure,
      with the cars moved out, will provide some very flexible space to hold
      volunteer coordinator meetings, school classes, maize distribution, and some
      training activities. Finally, two of the three toilets in the center will
      soon be functional! Ken Montgomery brought this problem to our attention 6
      months ago. Sorry, Ken, apparently the Mandela name has more cachet than
      Montgomery in this environment.2. Florence will be conducting a two-day
      session on AIDS awareness/etc. with the village volunteer coordinators next
      week. During the next school break, she will be using the relatively new
      Malawi Family Skills Manual (a euphemism for AIDS education) with the
      secondary school students. There is a particular curriculum on peer
      education that she hopes will make the students advocates in their
      respective schools.
      >Paula van Egbon (sp?) is a Dutch student doing a social research project
      and has been staying in one of the guesthouse units since January. Since we
      have only boys, Frances has enjoyed being a surrogate mother to a girl.
      Paula’s real folks just arrived for a visit. They surprised us by bringing a
      ceremonial check for $3,500, representing donations from their church and
      friends. We held a little ceremony that they taped for the folks back home.
      It was quite touching, and I looked great on camera. The money will arrive
      soon by wire and is designated for food. It comes at a great time, because
      the price of maize is low at this time. By the way, the maize storage
      facility now has a 3-foot wall, and tarps will be used to cover the stored
      maize.
      >4. We took all the kids in the nutrition center to the “Under 5 Clinic”.
      These clinics rotate through the area and are sponsored by the district
      health office. Regrettably (you can see that I use that word a lot), the
      clinic was 5 kilometers from the center, so we piled 6 adults and all 11
      infants/toddlers in our small Toyota. You need to know that I wrote North
      Carolina’s laws on child safety restraints in vehicles. I’m glad no one was
      around to take pictures of what I did here. Anecdote of the week: I have
      lost about 20 lbs. here, so my clothes are somewhat loose. The health
      assistant at the clinic needed help in hanging the scale from a rafter. When
      I stretched high to do so, my pants fell down. That was the highlight of the
      entire event.5. We have been trying to enhance relations with Save the
      Children, and some progress has been made at the staff level. One of the
      chief staffers, Patrick Mphoso, has been to the center several times, and
      even delivered candy for the kids at the center on his day off. Then, at a
      recent meeting of the District AIDS Committee, he was a key supporter of our
      proposal for MCV to be designated the lead AIDS agency (i.e., responsible
      for “community AIDS committee efforts”) for our catchment area. It would not
      have made sense to duplicate our village volunteer coordinator network. It
      does mean, however, that we will need to do more in the specific areas of
      AIDS awareness and education. Fortunately, Florence is on board to lead that
      effort. Incidentally, it will not surprise you to know that Mr. Sibale
      presents exceedingly well in these meetings. I will report on the AIDS
      movement here in a later report. Enough for now. Frances sends regards to
      all. Khalani bwino, Tom
      >
      >MCV On-Site Notes: May 25, 2002
      >We are coming to the close of an incredible week. I have now seen Mickey
      Mantle, Wayne Gretzky, and Nelson Mandela. Mickey had to hit a home run and
      Wayne had to score a goal for it to be a truly memorable experience. Nelson,
      however, has such an aura that simply being near him was a magical and
      humbling experience. Just as the likes of Hitler scare us because we realize
      the depths to which we humans can sink, the likes of Mandela remind us of
      the heights to which we can aspire. The highlights of the week:
      >
      >1. Of course, the focus was on the Rotary District 9210 meeting at the Sun
      and Sand Resort just up the road from MCV. Delegates from Malawi, Zambia.
      Mozambique and Zimbabwe were there in force. There were also a few Rotary
      dignitaries from UK and the US. The main speakers at the opening ceremony
      were Bikili Muluzi and Nelson Mandela. Justin Malawezi was also on the stage.
      >2. The entry procession included the presentation of flags and the Malawi
      national anthem, set against an beautiful blue sky, the Ilala anchored just
      off shore, and the Lake shimmering like the “Lake of Stars” that Livingston
      described. During the anthem, a fish eagle, on its own recognizance, die a
      fly over. The Celtic tradition describes “thin” places, where the physical
      and the spiritual seem to merge. This surely had to be one of them.
      >3. In the welcoming remarks, Peter Barratt from the Limbe Rotary mentioned
      MCV as a specific example of what Rotary can assist with, and invited folks
      to visit MCV during or after the meeting. So, Bikili and Nelson heard about
      the existence of MCV. Parenthetically, anyone driving to the meeting could
      not miss the new road sign at MCV, which highlights Rotary support. (Kevin,
      we regret that there was not time to paint your picture on the sign. So, we
      pasted a small photo of you to the base. Unfortunately, the only photo we
      had of you was the one of you wearing a towel at the cottage. Hope you don’t
      mind.)
      >4. The Maluzi speech was a good one (in my opinion), though of course it
      made things seem better here than they are. The Mandela speech was
      magnificent. Lots of self-deprecating humor, some statesman-like comments
      about development and the role Rotary can play, and then (and this was the
      biggest part) a pronouncement that AIDS is the worst thing that has ever
      happened to sub-Saharan Africa, the village and public taboo on speaking
      about safe sex (he actually mentioned condoms) must be broken, and that if
      we choose not to educate our young about safe sex, we are literally signing
      their death warrant. The audience was stunned, and then broke into enormous
      applause. At the conclusion of the session, we were emotionally spent.
      >5. We had to re-energize for the next day because, thanks to Kevin and the
      Limbe folks, Mr. Sibale had a 10-minute spot to describe MCV. This was part
      of a panel of short presentations highlighting Rotary contributions to
      social and environmental programs. Mr. Sibale used the notes I sent you last
      time as the core of his presentation, and did his usual creditable job. The
      fact that we had peppered the presentation with specific Rotary
      contributions got several rounds of applause. At the end, a new Rotary group
      (Ginnery Corner?) jumped up and donated 4 bales of clothes to MCV.
      >
      >6. There was also a display area at the registration desk. We put up a
      framed display including pictures to highlight our service components
      (clinic, outreach, nutrition center, education, irrigation/safe water, etc)
      and some charts highlighting our outcomes. Frances did a great job with the
      artwork, and we concluded that it was the best display at the meeting. Most
      importantly, the Limbe folks were impressed.7. In the afternoon, Barabara
      Barratt from the Inner Wheel of Blantyre/Limbe (the Rotarian women’s group)
      brought a delegation of about 30 women to MCV. (Included was Edna Roper,
      wife of the Rotary International Program Representative. Her husband George
      concluded the conference by mentioning that his wife was blown away by
      MCV.)They were welcomed by all of the village coordinators and hundreds of
      children and guardians from nearby villages. Wonderful singing! After
      touring the facilities, the group was led outside for more singing. Barbara
      then made a wonderful speech, and the visitors passed the hat among
      themselves and came up with 12,000 kwacha. Needless to say, they were very
      impressed. By the way, they were also impressed that American RPCVs were
      lending assistance to the Malawian project. All of you should take a moment
      of sinful pride about this.
      >8. A final word about Rotary. I couldn’t be more impressed. The group was
      multi-racial in the truest sense. These were not people just getting along;
      these were people genuinely involved with each other. When you consider the
      racial turmoil in these four countries in the last generation, meetings like
      give are testimony to the human spirit. (Parenthetically, those of us who
      were here in the 60s will recall our concerns that Indians were milking the
      country. Indians were not only a large part of each delegation, but are in
      leadership positions and are distinguished for their altruism.)
      >
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      __________________________________________________________________________
      Rand, Deb & Benjamin Wise
      2784 Mt. Olive Drive
      Decatur, GA 30033

      Email: rwise.psy88@...
      (404) 327-5765

      _______________________________________________________________________

      "It seemed the world was divided into good and bad people. The good ones
      slept better...while the bad ones seemed to enjoy the waking hours much more."
      - Woody Allen
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