Mack in Malawai

Hi everyone.

Well, what can I say?

As you no doubt know, I went to Malawi in south eastern Africa in November.

I went because there was a need for someone with musical knowledge, someone with building knowledge and someone with experience in working with kids to go out there and help with some ongoing work at a local church and some of the more remote villages. As it happens, I have experience in all these areas and felt that the Lord was telling me to go.

I have to say I was totally taken aback by the total lack of, well, everything really! I mean, I had went out with this agenda in my head about how I was going to do some repairs on buildings, repair some sound equipment (including some drums), and generally be a real blessing to the people and missionaries out there who would be so grateful that I had decided to bestow upon them my awesome talents!! NAHHH!!!

Think of the most basic things we have here, a plug for example, or some sand or a drum stick!! NOTHING!!

Everything was so hard to get out there. I did manage to source a cement mixer, but I had to travel for 3 hours in the searing heat to get it! Fortunately I had been in contact with the missionary in the area, Sonya Lester, who had warned me that everything would be hard to get, and, armed with this knowledge I had sent some plastering materials and some musical bits and pieces ahead of me in one of the many containers that Ray Cotter (Elim Missions Director) organizes during the year.

I was able to put floors into a new bible school which had been built on the church grounds, and also taught some of the local guys a better way of doing this.

I also made some recordings of the choir at the church and will be making a cd of this for sale. All the proceeds will go to help fund the choir . They have a real desire to evangelize but can't afford to travel to the other side of their town.

Another part of what I was doing was to bring food and clothing to some of the out lying villages. These villages are very remote and can only be accessed via 4x4 jeep. Mostly this is a 3 hour journey in some of the roughest terrain I've ever experienced! (Ye, even worse than the Ardee to Kells road!!) This was an amazing experience though. The kids have nothing in these villages and yet they are always smiling and laughing and appreciate everything that is done for them.

At one of the villages we gave each child a balloon and a pencil .You'd have thought we'd given them a Nintendo each!! They queued for ages and then queued again for me to blow the balloons up. Ever try blowing 50 or 60 baloons up in temperatures of 40 degrees C or higher??

At another village we were giving out toys donated by people here. We ran out of toys and all that was left was some broken pieces of plastic and the odd dolls arm etc. Yet again, the kids thought this was great and went away playing with bits of coloured plastic and broken bits of toys.

Any of you who have attended CCYM summer camps or bought the Desert Seeds debut cd "Shine" will know the song "This Little Light". With the help of a friend of mine, Hudson Kaunda, I had this song translated into Chechewa (the language of southern Malawi) I was able to teach it to some Malawian kids in their own language!! They were so surprised at this big white eejit singing to them (very badly, Ian's the singer!) they laughed and jumped up and down clapping their hands!!

All in all a very enlightening trip. Certainly made me appreciate the many luxuries we take for granted over on this side of the world, not least a proper toilet, and toilet paper, OUCH!!