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Trudy Orthey

U.S. and Indian in Mzuzu, Malawi by Trudy Orthey

Sunday, July 8
Last night we stayed in Luwinga Lodge in Mzuzu. Very nice accommodations. Except a rather hard bed! I did not sleep so well. I feel crabby and tired this morning.

We attended St. James Presbyterian Church. It was a beautiful service. I especially loved the musicWe then had a meeting scheduled which turned into going to another church service! It was Pastor James from a church in Lansdowne, PA. He spoke about global missions. After that we all went out to lunch at an Indian restaurant. The food was actually really good. Imagine that! Good Indian food in Malawi!

Tonight I will ask for a soft mattress pad so maybe I’ll sleep better!

Bittersweet Goodbye by Trudy Orthey

July 7

We woke up this morning knowing it would be our last morning in the Zowe community. Bittersweet. After filling a few buckets with water at the borehole, I was packing my bags when I was told that I had visitors. I had no idea who they could be. I arrived at Mike Mtika’s house and saw Jesse and Saulos waiting for me and Sherard. They came to say goodbye, thank us for visiting them, and give us gifts. They gave me a small hoe and trowel for my garden and a large bag of peanuts. Absolutely beautiful. They gave Sherard a tool as well and they gave Temwa a wooden spoon and fork. I was so overcome with appreciation that I started to cry. These people have nothing and yet they’re giving us gifts! Unbelievable. We enjoyed a really nice visit during which they promised to pray for us and we promise to pray for them. So sweet. We helped with breakfast and then had a meeting with all of the Pamoza staff and our team. Many of us had the chance to express our thanks and appreciation to the Zowe staff for all they did to host us. We are all overwhelmed by what we have experienced this week. Malawi and the people are lovely… Generous and loving.

The tools that were handmade gifts from Saulos & Jessy.

We then loaded into the car… Completely full, our bags taking up ¼ of the space! We rode 1 ½ hours on bumpy dirt roads finally reaching paved highway for the last half hour of the ride. We arrived in Mszuzu around 3:30 PM. On the way, Mike drove us through a market. It was unbelievable. The dirt “road” was full of people. Our van parting them as if we were going through the Red Sea! There were vendors on the ground on both sides plus little shops lining the sides as well. Check out the video. It’s crazy. Now we are settled into our hotel. We are so comfortable and have Internet and we are all very excited!

We are excited about this kitchen!

A Rural Existence by Trudy Orthey

July 4

Today we visited the health clinic. They had no cholera test kit so they really couldn’t do much for the people. They did do some AIDS testing. And some people got medications, but most of the people who were sicj…really, they could do nothing for them. It was kind of sad.

After that, we did a home visit with one of the women that we have been praying for —Witness. We sat with her for about a half hour. I asked her how she was doing. Witness said her back is hurting her so she can’t be as productive as normal. However her husband, who had broken his leg last year, has healed completely. That is a blessing. Because of their compromised health of the past year they have only secured enough grain for four months. So they are worried about food security.

Greeting Witness outside her home.

We were able to tour Witness’ house. One of the things that struck me the most was that they both sleep on the floor. Her 85-year-old husband sleeps on a blanket on a cement floor. She does have a cot- probably because of her bad back-but it is very meager living situation. She has a “kitchen”….also with cement floor. The stove is a fire on the floor. She has a makeshift counter to hold things on.

Witness’ House

Sleeping on a cement floor.

Witness has a daughter-in-law who lives very close by and helps to take care of them. Her son has gone off to South Africa and hardly ever contacts them. Occasionally, he sends money but he has pretty much forgotten about them. She has three grown children who are married and three others, two of which are in high school. But the fees are very expensive… $100 a month… So it is questionable whether they can stay in school.

Later on in the day, we took a trip to Euthini because it is market day. It is a tiny, dusty little town nearby. Some people have buildings or shacks that they sell things from but a lot of people sell things off of mats on the ground.

Market day in Euthini

I also visited the school to take some pictures of the uniforms. They are in desperate need of uniforms. So, I hope to make some and send them next year. While I was there, I was able to have the children sing the alphabet song. 

Finally, while in Euthini, we visited the rural hospital. How would you like to be treated here?

Exam room. Zoom in on the door knob.

Euthini Rural Hospital

Christian Outreach by Trudy Orthey

July 4, 2018

We just got back from a community bible study. Today our focus is on Christian outreach. That bible study was so sweet! There were 14 women and 8 men and a few kids peeking over the wall. The village chief greeted us. We opened with a song then the leader read from Matt 7. He gave a brief talk about how God is our father… whatever we ask he will do for us.

They then explained how their village works to help each other and take care of each other. They farm together and take care of the elderly. Their goal is food security for all.

They then explained how Pamoza has helped them. Life is very different, much better, since Pamoza came. Pamoza has trained them how to lead bible studies and this has blessed them spiritually. They have trained them how to use manure since fertilizer is very expensive.

The food program at school has nourished the children… the mothers say the children are thriving/learning/ growing (not malnourished anymore)… the kids go to school b/c of the food and they stay there/ keep going back. Their one struggle is that they only have one water pump and if that breaks, they have to get water from the stream where the animals drink.

I was humbled and honored and so touched by their joy, grace, faith, love and acceptance. Oh, and they gave another gift: Anna received a pot full of peanuts!

Women at the bible study.

Men at the bible study.

Entrepreneurship and meeting Jessie by Trudy Orthey

July 3, 2018

Devotions at Pamoza headquarters 1st Corinthians 10:13 God will not tempt you without giving you a way out (reference Matthew 4 Jesus is tempted) There is nothing more powerful than God’s word to fight temptation.

Since its Entrepreneur Day, we visited the local store first. Very simple, they sell a few items. A couple kids came in to buy gum 🙂 I saw this package I thought it was like dried fruit or candy but it was dried tofu. Paso cooked it for lunch – it was delicious!

Outside the Community Store. They have income of $80-$100 per month. They want to improve that.

Next, we went to where the corn is pounded and grounded. This is the Mill. A few women came with their corn and we got to watch the process. The pounding removes the husk or cover on the corn kernels (which is where the nutrition and fiber is) but they like the taste better. Less bitter. We observed the pounding and grinding.

The mill used to dehusk the corn.

Me, pounding corn.

Then we visit visit the preschool. There were about 14 kids there – 1 tiny, tiny room about 10 ft by 10 ft. She said she usually has 65 kids. OMG! We found out that there was no breakfast today because the woman did not show up to make it. We brought the preschoolers a snack. No breakfast at school means no breakfast at all.

After that we went to visit Jessie Nirongwe, one of the women I have been praying for. We got to meet her son, see her home, her yard, and watch them pound corn by hand with a mortar and pestle. There was a formal meet and greet- we all had to go inside and sit down – then she came in and, on her knees, greeted each of us by shaking our hand and welcoming us. She has 3 kids; one was there, her oldest, a boy and 8th grader. I took a photo with her. She has a pretty nice outdoor kitchen. Actually, her home is nice, comparatively speaking. The floor is cement, her roof is tin; she has several small rooms and even has stuff hanging up.

I got to me Jessie! I’ve been praying for her for 2 years.

After that we went to the medical clinic where they were measuring height, weight and arm circumference of children to check for malnutrition. It was very loud, lots of kids crying. The kids were scared of being measured. The Red Cross and UNICEF were there too. After that, lunch. Paso had made the tofu and it was awesome.


Then we went to Jeru’s office which is at the Pamoza headquarters. He gave us a lesson on Savings and Loans. Then we headed out to visit two communities as they held their weekly Savings and Loans meetings. Very interesting and very enlightening. These people have nothing yet somehow managed to save a bit each week and put a bit toward social care which is like Social Security or Insurance. Amazing. They are highly motivated to share this way because they get dividends at the end of the year.

The boxes are colored coded and responsibility is shared by three individuals to increase accountability.

Then we drove to Euthini. I swear, the roads are so bumpy here. It actually is quite annoying! It makes travel take so long. Ugh.

In Euthini, we met with a tailor. I’m getting a shirt made for Scott for his birthday. Going to the tailor was a trip. It was a back alley. We walked right in and placed orders. There were kids outside who were very curious about us “whities”. I went out to take a photo of the shop from the outside and also took a picture of the kids. I showed them the picture. They were so thrilled! Then, I took another of a group-they acted all silly. When I show them, they just howled. It was a hoot.

Outside the tailor shop the kids act silly for camera.

Oh, we also saw bricks being made and a borehole, which is a watering hole, being dugged. It is a hole about 2 ft wide and 30 ft deep. A guy climb down and was sending up buckets of water and rocks. It was crazy.

We often see cattle being driven, oxcarts pulling a cart with people or corn or sand. When we were visiting Jessie and the two communities for Savings and Loans we were driving for quite some time through the bush- pretty much nothing around but occasionally a house.

I’m a little frustrated at the poor reception here. I have so much to share but so little ability to to do so due to reception.

Focus in Education by Trudy Orthey

We did so much today.

First, visiting one of the small school communities and watched the women make breakfast porridge. Bethany and I helped a bit. We even carried water on our heads! Then we went to Pamoza International corders for a devotional meeting. After breakfast, we went back to watch the breakfast be served. We helped a little with serving. Each child gets one cup full.

After lunch we went to visit two communities to see their adult literacy programs. The drive was not too far. The first [classroom] we visited had a small building about 12‘ x 12‘. When we entered there were many adults and children already sitting on the floor which was made up of rocks. I think it is the foundation for a cement floor. They brought chairs in for us. We sat around the room. [It was a] great introductions for me.

We watched a lesson by the literacy teacher. Some of us got to speak as well. The people are so poor… They really have nothing. One woman, who has gone through the program and cannot read and write, said it is hard to come to class when our bellies are empty when we go to sleep. In other words, “why should we give up a couple hours a day to study reading and writing when we have much work to do and can’t even fill our bellies?” It is a good question. I do not have an answer.

Adult learners in class while we watch lesson.

God is here by Trudy Orthey

July 1

Today we went to church… it was outside. Most of the people sat on the ground. The singing was amazing and we saw 4 baptisms!! Our teammate Sherard was asked to speak. He did a great sermon on Romans 12… we are all parts of one body, we need each other to accomplish God’s work. It was awesome.

Church outdoor service

Saturday errands…in Malawi by Trudy Orthey

June 30
We drove about 45 min on a bumpy dirt road to an English church… which was not having services today! Haha. While waiting for a minor repair on the truck in a nearby village, we met Jocelyn, selling vegetables (which I insisted we buy since I love veggies)…

Jocelyn selling veggies

and then saw this oxen cart (pictured below), the most common way of transporting heavy goods. It is also their “ambulance” when needed.


Transport in Malawi

June 29 Journal Entry from Trudy Orthey

June 29
My devotions this morning had me on Psalm 121 focusing on v 8…
“ The Lord will keep you’re going out and you’re coming in, from this time forth and forever”
The Lord is with us and making our path smooth.

Many travel blessing so far.
After breakfast, first stop was at Ministry of Hope. They help orphans by caring for them, educating them and trying to place them with family. If that is not possible, they help them to be fostered in their original community. Very sweet woman who runs that organization.

Women cooking lunch for a team meeting at MOH. She prayed for our mission trip and quoted Ps 121:8 while she prayed!!

June 28 Journal Entry from Trudy Orthey

While driving from the Lilongwe airport to the guest house, here are some things I noticed:

A man selling mice on a stick! (Cooked over a fire… evidentially a delicacy!), three 5 year old boys hoeing in a field, slabs of meat for sale on the side of the road (my first Serve Safe challenge!), oranges stacked in gorgeous pyramids on the side of the road, sugar cane fields, litter everywhere, shacks/huts with grass roofs and more modern construction almost side by side, clothing hanging on trees to dry.

Praise God I was able to sleep well on the plane and I feel good.
Heading to a lodging called Bethany House, run by nuns.

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