Following a meeting with village Chiefs from Traditional Authority Mwenewenya in August 2017, Chief Mwenemuyombe donated land to the Foundation to build The Margaret and Jean Stewart Resource Centre named after William’s wife and daughter respectively.
Build began at the end of April 2018 with the digging of the latrines. In early May, the ground was cleared and foundations were dug. Brickmaking began in late May – more than 52,000 bricks were made which were fired in two huge kilns. The bricks and sand were then ferried to the site and the first brick was laid on 1st August.
The latrine blocks – a two-compartment for females and a two-compartment for males have been finished. The kitchen and stores have also been built and finished.
About the kitchen... It is customary in Malawi to name buildings. The reason we have called our kitchen as we have is because of a ‘mystery in chocolate’ earlier in the year.
A parcel from the UK was delivered to the Foundation but another was addressed to us. When it was opened it was found to contain several tins of chocolate drink from Whittard of Chelsea in the UK. After investigations, it was discovered that the parcel was intended for a gentleman in Seoul, South Korea. However, when it was explained to Whittard where the chocolate had ended up, they so kindly let the Foundation keep it for the Easter celebrations and Lego Party. The children loved their first taste of hot chocolate drink.
Not only that but the company sent out a further consignment of 15 tins of assorted flavours. The build has been so intensive since then that there has not been an opportunity for another party but those tins will be very much in evidence at the next celebration.
Hence, the Whittard Kitchen.
The foundations have already been made for the Skills Shed, where the children will learn such things as carpentry, metalwork, painting and tailoring. However, because there is not sufficient time to erect the building before the rainy season begins, the structure will be made wind and watertight so that it can serve its purpose and will be brick built when the season has passed. It will double up as the orphans’ dining area until the main Resource Centre building is built.
The main building will house the meeting/dining room, Library/IT facilities, office and a small guest quarter.
It was intended that this building should be the fourth structure. However, the Chiefs have been so impressed with the work which has already been achieved that they have gifted more land to the Foundation, nearer to the Chitipa-Nthalire road and nearer to where it is anticipated that electrification will take place shortly.
And so it is planned that a shop and maize mill will be erected at the new site, as the next stage of the build.
The aim of the Foundation is to be as self-reliant as possible. One part of the shop will have a barber’s and a soft drinks store; the other part will be used to sell surplus farm produce and clothes and hardware items made by the orphans in their classes.
Currently villagers have to travel a distance for their maize to be ground, hence the installation of a maize mill, which will also provide revenue for the Foundation.
Update - August 2018
Part 1 - The Ferrying
The kilns cooled, building was able to start. The first job was the ferrying of the bricks from the kilns and sand from the best places, to the site. The villagers rallied round, children included, some of whom are the orphans themselves, fetching and carrying, with great industry and enthusiasm.
The Giving of Joy
The Foundation team decided that the Ibuluma villagers, some of whom walked up to 8km there and back from their homes to the Foundation site, to ferry the bricks and sand should receive a token of appreciation – a little money but worth so much to them.
Levison gathered them together, and included the folks who had worked so hard on the harvest.
Many of them had felt without hope for so long and now they could see that support was there and was real. They sang and they danced. Where there was sadness, there is now joy; where there was hopelessness, there is now hope as can be seen in the two new small videos on our Youtube link.
Part 2 - The Start of the Build
It was a red letter day when the build itself was able to start on 1 August. The concrete floors were laid for both male and female latrine blocks and then the first bricks were laid. There is only a small team, a builder, two bricklayers and two ladies who carry the water, and the carpenter at appropriate times. And Levison himself when he could.