On 24.2.16 I received this distressing message on facebook,
"People are fainting, eating pumpkins leaves so he (Shy Busman, the caretaker of Makwawa Scouts) was asking if you have some money please send (now) because people are suffering a lot. I saw it with my own eyes. I was at Makwawa last week for a holiday (where) people (are) eating roots of some plants in order to get energy.
"Thank you for your kindness to Mponda village.
"I really appreciate and people says thank you to you and Mr Robert Belcher (Jaine's brother) for what you are doing." Tia Vince Busman.
Thankfully the charity was able to respond immediately by sending £500 for maize flour the same day.
We want to send out £1,500 for maize to eat until the next harvest and £500 for the purchase of a replacement engine for the maize mill at Makwawa, saving the women having to walk to Songani, the nearest town, 5 miles down the mountain, and then back again, taking most of the day. This will also give the caretaker at Makwawa, an income. The funding from UK Scouts ran out 2 years ago, since when Shy has had no income but has stayed dutifully guarding Makwawa, knowing that if he left it would be ransacked.
Also please pray for rain in April in Malawi and the other east African countries who have been experiencing drought since this time last year. If the rains come the harvest will see them through the year. If they don't, we'll be doing this again next year.
Makwawa means 'many streams' in Chichewa, one of many languages of Malawi. Makwawa was created by my father, Richard Belcher, the Scout Commissioner for Malawi until 1964, as a centre for scouting and owned now by Malawi Scouts. My siblings and I were born there and my brother set up a charity, Makwawa Malawi to support the local people after visiting for the first time (http://rwbelcher.co.uk/index.php?id=12). In September 2015 I visited with my 2 adult children for the first time with £300 for maize. We discovered that the April rains in 2015 had failed causing the maize harvest to be hugely inadequate. The ' hungry months' as they call them started early, in August 2015 and will not finish until June 2016 when the next harvest will hopefully give them enough maize for the coming year. They are still hungry, their neighbours are still hungry. Most have no money to buy other food.