Malawi, 2012 – Mukupatila II Village

Dear Friends,

Mukupatila II Village was the 2nd of two villages in the same day that Jordan Beakley and I visited after climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. Read more

Malawi, 2012 – Chiputu II Village

Dear Friends,

After going to Tanzania and summiting Kilimanjaro last summer, I returned a second time to Malawi, this time with Jordan Beakley. Read more

Malawi, 2012 – Cham’ndala Village

Dear Friends,

The second village our team visited to restore clean, safe drinking water and to share Living Water in 2012 was a very large village, called Cham’ndala Village, whose broken well normally served 1068 adults + 3697 children or about 4765 people! It may have been a complex of villages.

Most of our team went from village (or school) to village in a small bus that Child Legacy hired for us. A few of our team members traveled in the well repair truck with the Malawian well repair team. Just to give you an idea of the hurdles it takes to work in a very poor and rural society along with a very low budget, when our bus arrived at this very large village complex we noticed that somehow in our travel to this village we “lost” the repair truck and a small part of our team! We received a phone call and were informed that they had broke down somewhere in route from Katambala Village to Cham’ndala Village. The challenges of a low budget ministry in rural Africa suddenly became crystal clear! Child Legacy definitely needs a good used truck to help minimize these events.

The following photos of Cham’ndala Village were taken on my camera except where noted. I hope you enjoy them! Feel free to forward to anyone you like.

 

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We stopped at this well because we knew the broken one was nearby and we had just received word that the well repair parts truck had broken down.

This well had some issues, but was working well enough to go to the one that was in bad shape. I like this photo because it is a good snapshot of typical village life. In addition to the women gathering water at the well, the rather unusual topography, some of the villagers homes, it also shows our bus that sticks out like a sore thumb. Note that there are no other means of transportation around other than a couple of bicycles and bare feet. The mountain peak is just barely visible from Child Legacy’s Project site about 12-15 miles away.

 

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At first we thought there was no reason to go to the broken well without parts, so we decided to hang out at this location until we knew what was going to happen next. We spent about an hour waiting to see if the truck was fixable and whether it would catch up with us or not.

We started taking photos while waiting for some positive news from the rest of the team. Here is a very nice shot taken by Megan Halquist of a couple of young ladies goofing around. The kids love to pose!!

 

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This great photo of this very lovely family was taken by Mitch Halquist.

I don’t normally see a family unit like this. One usually doesn’t see the men and the women mix too much. I am not sure why. I saw that especially in Sudan when I went there in 2009. This gives me great hope for the people of Malawi.

 

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We received word that the truck was working again so we headed to our final destination and start off by sharing some bible stories.

Pastor Lester translates from English into Chichewa for my son-in-law, Alex Blanca.

 

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At the end of the story time there is always an invitation to pray to ask God for forgiveness by trusting His Son as their Lord and Savior. The response is usually overwhelming.

Great photo by Alex Blanca!

 

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It is always very amazing and humbling to see and hear the people praying like these beautiful children.

Great shot Mitch Halquist!

 

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Shortly before we finished our Bible stories the repair truck and the rest of the team arrived and they went at it!

Here they are tearing out the old guts of the well.

Photo by the Malawian Repair Team.

 

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Here the team finishes cinching up the well head before the well is “back on line” so to speak!

Another great shot by the Malawian well repair team who taught us what to do and accompanied us the entire day.

 

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Ta da! It is finished!

This well was tight quarters to get a good group photo, since it was surrounded by a brick wall, with a small doorway to go through.

 

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When we go to Malawi the plan is to bring the love of Christ through the vehicle of restored clean, safe, drinking water and His Word. We also just love on them, but something different happened here. The people in Cham’ndala Village turned it around and “loved” on us!

Great shot Mitch Halquist of your bride!

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Here a couple of the villagers are loving on my grandson Ethan!

It was a happy and joyous day for sure.

Thanks for taking this picture Mitch Halquist!

 

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There is always hope, little one.

Great picture Mitch Halquist!!

 

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Goodbye to Cham’ndala Village.

There is not much else I can say about this photo. It speaks volumes. “Love one another” certainly comes to mind.

Great shot Jennifer Navolio!

 

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But before we left we gave the chief a few things for his people to play with like soccer balls, volley balls, and Frisbees.

The chief shown here asked me to pray for his village and I was honored to do so.

 

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This is the crew that drives all over Malawi using the funds received, from the many donors to the Clean Water Climb, to restore clean, safe drinking water to literally now, several million people.

It’s quite incredible really. Four guys trained, equipped, funded and off they go having now repaired over 1600 wells. 2013 could be the year they break 2000 wells!!

To the left is Pastor David who teaches hygiene and the Bible at every village and school.

 

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Mitch Halquist caught this exquisite sunset shot from Child Legacy’s project site.

A full day of well repairs done.

I hope you enjoyed these very few pictures of Chim’ndala Village out of about 1000 taken by the team.

 

Feel free to share!

Malawi, 2012 – Katambala Village

Dear Friends,

The first village our team visited for a well repair and to share the gospel in 2012 was the smallest village I had ever visited – roughly 100 people. I suspect it was relatively new. They had dug a hole in the ground, and there was a bucket they lowered down to retrieve water. Since that time they had dug another hole in the ground – maybe 30’ deep – by hand! It is very hard for me to imagine how anyone can dig a small diameter 30 foot vertical hole in the ground by hand.

This was also the shallowest water table I had ever witnessed. The village had requested Child Legacy to set casing and install the Afridev pump “guts” into it so they could have a safe drinking water source. So, by the time our team arrived CLI had run and cemented the casing into place. All we had to do was install the riser pipe, pump rods, and surface hand pumping head. So, unlike a typical well repair, this was a brand new well for the village.

It was a fascinating little village. All these villages are unique. There is always something different and new to learn about the people of Malawi and their culture. The following photos of Katambala Village were taken by myself except where noted.

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Pastor Lester Nikoma, with Child Legacy, inspects the hand dug water source.

Note the pieces of wood used to cover the water source and the rope attached to the bucket that ends up on the ground. I would not want to drink water from this well!

With farm animals wandering around, this alternative water source is clearly contaminated.

 

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This was something new for me. In all the villages I have ever been to, I had never seen turkeys before.

There was a pair of them at this village – a Tom and a Hen.

Not growing up on a farm, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from them.

I was quite surprised how defensive the Tom was as I got close to them. He was obviously guarding his Hen as he put on quite a physical display with his feathers and vocal chords!

He was quite frightening actually. He was very agitated and stood his ground very effectively.

 

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Another unique aspect of this village was this stilted structure that contained several doves.

Not sure what the purpose of the doves were – eggs (awfully small) or meat (only 4 or 5 doves).

Pastor Lester and team member David Schultz check out the birds in side.

 

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Malawian well repair crew member “Sho” shows (from left to right) Josh Agnew, David Schultz, and Joe Holmes how to install their 1st Afridev water well pump system in Malawi, Africa!

 

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Meanwhile, while the well is being completed, my daughter Rebekah Blanca shares a bible story with the villagers, with Pastor Lester translating.

At the end of the story time the villagers are always given the opportunity to follow Jesus.

Photo by Alex Blanca.

 

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Once the well is completed the villagers give it a try.

Katambala Village was 210th well to be completed in 2012 by Child Legacy. CLI documents every well that is repaired, refurbished, or completed. This well was finished on the 25th of June, 2012.

We had the great privilege of bringing safe, clean drinking water and the message of the gospel to this village for the first time in its history.

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Great photo of the kids by Mitch Halquist, experiencing safe, clean, “running” water for the first time in their lives!

A new well usually costs $5000 to drill, cement, install, but since the water table was unusually shallow and the villagers were able to dig the hole themselves, an expensive drilling rig was not necessary, so the cost was far less than normal for a new well.

 

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We always like to leave a little treat for all the village kids before we leave.

Pastor Lester and Pastor David supervise the village children while they receive chewable vitamin C and gumballs from my wife Jennifer, my grandson Elias, and my friend Steve Eckhart’s son Barrett.

 

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Before we leave we always try to get our team with some of the villagers together for a photo opportunity.

Can you find our 14 adults and 6 kids?

And then, unfortunately, it is time to say good bye.

It is tough to leave after such a short amount of time.

 

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It is tough to leave after such a short amount of time. But it is always good to see the villagers with smiles on their faces.

The people of Malawi always love visitors, even when we can’t always do a well repair.

Another great shot by Mitch!

 

Compassion Project KE-301

Yesterday the entire team went to Compassion Project KE-201 in Kawangware Slum, Nairobi, Kenya. We linked up with 7 sponsored kids by various members of our team. We made numerous home visits, enjoyed their performances, and ate lunch with them.

It was an incredible day full of amazing and abundant joy amid extreme poverty – evidence that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is alive and at work through Compassion and 319 sponsors in Kawangware slum, Nairobi, Kenya!!

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Installing fish pond liner in Malawi

The highlight of Tuesday, June 26 was to install this fish pond liner, donated by GSE Lining out of Houston, TX. This is the second liner donated by them. The ponds will produce thousands of pounds of Tilapia to help the project become self sufficient.

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Malawi Village Well Repair

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Mercy House & on to Malawi!!

June 23 – After yesterday’s grueling 24 hour set of flights, we started off the day easy with a visit to Utamundi souvenir shops. My grandson Elias Blanca started coming down with a fever.

After picking up some goodie gifts for the climbers and my CWC donors, we headed to Mercy (Raheme) House. There we helped prepare lunch – chapatti (Kenyan tortilla), cabbage (I don’t normally like cabbage, but this shredded well seasoned dish was delish), rice with beef; painted a new baby’s room; and painted the porch. But the highlight was interacting with the teenage mothers and their babies. Seeing the Gospel rising among these young ladies despite their stories of rejection, pain, abuse, suffering, and hopelessness was heart-wrenching. Yet moment by moment, 24/7, the gospel is being demonstrated to, and infused into, each one of them by the Rehema (Mercy) House staff, led by Compassion International’s Leadership Development Program graduate Maurine Owingo. As explained by Maurine the Gospel of Jesus Christ played is truly their only true hope. Before coming to Mercy House their only options were abortion or suicide. What a day!

June 24 – Today we left Gracia Gardens early (6am) for our 8:25am flight to Lilongwe via a quick stop in Lusaka, Zambia. Joshua Eckhart was vommitting this morning.

We spotted the flat top of Kilimanjaro peeking above the clouds far beyond the much closer Mt. Meru on our way to our first stop in Lusaka.

Elias’ fever was better, but now is becoming worse again and Elyssa, whose 7th B-Day is today, might now be coming down with a fever.

Pray for all our kids!!

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Just touched down in Nairobi

15 excited first time missionaries arrive in Nairobi!

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