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Thursday 29th April 2010 by Laura
I spent my first afternoon in Malawi at the EveryChild office in Lilongwe where I met Anesa who was to be my guide for the trip. Anesa has only worked for EveryChild for 2 months but her wealth of experience and knowledge of the issues affecting children and her country were very impressive.
It was useful to understand that the government (Democratic Progressive Party, President Bingu) elected in 2004 and 2009 are progressive and committed to working with NGO’s and making significant changes to the development of Malawi. I learnt that they are running initiatives to vary the population’s diet, to educate them in crop rotation to avoid food shortages and improve irrigation and roads. They are also promoting HIV testing and that it is free along with the ART drugs needed to treat it. It was clear there was a long way to go but that Malawi was making considerable progress.
Friday 30th April 2010 by Laura
After a fantastic sleep we set out to explore Lilongwe which is a busy and bustling town on a Saturday morning with an incredible number of trucks due to the increasingly good condition of the roads. We also noticed the huge queues for the cash machines as it was the end of the month and everyone was doing their banking before the Bank Holiday weekend.
We explored the Old Town Mall with its Italian Deli and handcraft shops but soon decided to investigate downtown where we were overwhelmed by attention from the real market traders. I discovered that Lisa is a master negotiator and that the Lilongwe traders had met their match in haggling. In a whirl of activity we all ended up with wooden objects and Todd is now the proud owner of a carved letter opener that he is sure to treasure forever.
Saturday 1st May 2010 by Laura
I started the day with an in formative briefing by Thomas at his Mzimba office. Thomas has worked on the Bulala project since the beginning in 2006 and is clearly well respected within the community. We quickly learnt that the small team of 7 work hard to tackle the issues of child labour, trafficking, HIV and child abuse and violence with very few resources across a vast distance of 95 villages. It was shocking to learn how HIV and AIDS has almost wiped out a generation of parents my age leaving 8,000 orphaned children in the community.