New Homes, New Dreams, New Futures in PothawiraRich Stigall
Peter and Emma Maseko care for the children at Safe Haven children’s home day-in and day-out. They also care for the community at large in Pothawira, Malawi, through the medical clinic and soon-to-be birthing center. Recently their daughter, Anne, a physician herself, visited Pothawira and wrote to us with the following update. It provides a very transparent view into the challenges of those who come into care. As you read through this update, please pray for Peter, Emma, and all the children at Pothawira.
As you know, I went to Malawi with my friend Kay and two ultrasound technologists Emily and Kristie. Spanish River church was also there setting up all the wiring and cables for solar power. It was a very busy but very good trip and I think everyone that was there really felt the impact that Pothawira as a unified ministry – including the orphanage, church, school and clinic – has on the community. These are very practical things that are desperately needed by the community. One lady that came to the clinic literally told me that she felt like God heard their cry and brought Pothawira to help them. I see the hand of God truly working and making the community feel His presence in a real and very practical way. I feel humbled that we are all part of this work and feel grateful for all that you at GO Project do to make this happen.
We have had several new additions of children to the village who will be moving into duplex number 6 in addition to the overflow we had already. I included pictures of some of them here. There were two more that came two days before we left that we did not get pictures of, a 3-year-old boy and his 5-year-old sister.
The first two kids in the pictures are siblings: Friday Jonas and next to him is his sister Edna Jonas. These kids were left completely destitute. His sister had a piece of cloth covering her naked body and they had to immediately find her some clothes when she arrived. Friday was wearing a torn up Steelers shirt that looked like it hadn’t been washed in months. Both their parents died and there was no one to care for them.
Naomi Geresomu is the baby with the striped shirt. She came the day she was born. Her mom was pregnant with twins, walking to Salima district hospital with some friends from her village while in labor. Her water broke along the road and labor progressed. She delivered Naomi on the side of the road and then bled to death with the other twin inside because the friends had no idea how to get the baby out after the mom passed. They tied Naomi’s cord with a dirty piece of cloth and brought her straight to the orphanage. She is doing well and now 10 weeks old. The little boy is Chikumbutso (Memory in English) Magombo. He is now 7 months old. He was brought in at 5 months. His mother died after delivery as well. The father was trying to care for him but struggled. He was feeding him a fermented corn-based drink called Thobwa because that’s all he had. He was very malnourished with a lot of gastrointestinal (GI) issues when he came into the orphanage. The father brought him along with the pastor and the chief from his village who were all afraid for the child. Look at him now, he looks happy and healthy! Thank God! It’s amazing that he survived that because I don’t know how his little GI system was even able to process the Thobwa at a month of age.
The two older girls are twins: the first one is Memory Banda and the second one is Linley Banda. We usually do not take older children and try to focus on the younger and most vulnerable kids. These two girls, however, were in a terrible position. Multiple members in their village, including the Chiefs, made multiple trips from their village to plead on behalf of these girls. They lost their parents and were left completely alone and vulnerable to men that could take advantage of them. They were living in a shack made of grass and had little to no goods and yet encouraged each other to continue to go to school. They are both bright. Linley had been selected to high school and did not want to give up a chance at life later by stopping school after their parents died. They had one torn up outfit each and no undergarments when they were brought to the village. They ate a meal maybe once or twice a week. Since then, we have kept them in high school along with the other kids and they have bicycles to ride to school every morning along with the boys. These kids really understand that without education, they have no future and so they fight and they study hard to stay in school. I am so proud to see how hard they work and now they dream of becoming more than what life has dealt them.
The bottom picture is the mamas. We had just given them some solar lights to use in the home because it is dark at night. To the right side in the back where you see the homes, if you zoom in you will see duplex number 6. Roofed. Plumbing connected. Verandah was being finished in the front. Duplex 6 is already full.
The clinic is busy. Kay and the girls were scanning over 75 patients per day; the clinic sees 200 patients a day. The birthing center is almost finished as well. Roofed and now doing the finishes. We will be working on getting ready to ship the equipment.
The school plans are still on hold. My dad (Peter Maseko) still had a stash of bricks and sand that he is holding onto that he had bought in case we would be able to start. Waiting for God’s provision and doors to open because we still feel that this is an integral part of giving these kids a way out of this cycle. Most of the kids have the potential but current educational status and resources in Malawi won’t allow all the qualifying kids to make it. I hope and pray that we will find a way somehow.
Thank you and I wish you a happy new year and may God continue to bless you for all you do.
We are grateful to our ministry partners who have been so faithful! There are new opportunities to support the ongoing life care costs of the children at Pothawira. To help support children at Safe Haven – Pothawira please contact Trace Thurlby at [email protected]