Community, Donations, Malawi, Volunteers

Introducing NYM’s upgraded kitchen

We are absolutely delighted that the kitchen at Nyumba ya Masambiro has seen a big renovation this year. The kitchen sits up on the rocks behind the Library with views through the trees down to the lake. It is one of the hubs of NYM, serving as the site for meetings, nursery porridge cooking, morning tea drinking, volunteer lunch eating and the perfect spot to cool off during the hot season as it is so well located that it catches any breeze passing through the valley.

Previously an entirely wooden structure, the new kitchen has a more stable concrete floor with an A-frame roof which has been raised up higher to even better catch the breezes, and a nice big socialising table.

We would like to thank Claire who donated the funds for the concrete for the floor and the staff at NYM who did a great job at salvaging so much material from the original kitchen to allow it to be built in the most environmentally sustainable way possible. Yewo Chomene!

Community, Malawi

Farewell our friend Jake

It was with great sadness that we had to say goodbye to super staff member Jake the Guard dog yesterday. Jakey has been the guard dog (and everyone’s friend) at Nyumba ya Masambiro since its inception in 2010.

While Jake’s main role at the centre was to chase the monkeys away from the crops in the gardens and keep the watchmen company through the night, he took it upon himself to befriend and accompany every volunteer, visitor and staff member to come through the site.

The most sweet-natured and gentle soul, Jake loved a patch in the sunshine to rest and always had a happy grin on his face. He suffered from a short but very severe illness but we are hugely grateful that he remained cheerful throughout and showed no signs of pain or discomfort right up to the end. Thank you Jake for all your love – you will be very much missed!

Community, Fundraising, Malawi

Gardening grand plans at NYM

Recent months has seen a real push in crop management at the Nyumba ya Masambiro gardens. James Nyirenda has been the gardener at NYM for a couple of years now and he works incredibly hard to make his vision for the garden a reality. Under his watchful eye the sugar cane crops have flourished bringing in small but steady income to the centre.

Once a week all the staff at NYM down their tools to work together in the gardens, planting cocoa yams at the end of the year was the big target and two large garden areas were weeded, turned over, watered and planted with cocoa yam seedling stems. These are being tended under the watchful eye of James to be ready after the rains for harvesting and selling to community members. Selling crops from the gardens is one of the micro businesses run at NYM, the income of which ensures that community members can continue to benefit from the education services being offered completely for free.

James has grand plans for the gardens for 2019 including planting many varieties of sweet potatoes, replanting some papaya tree seedlings as our papaya trees are now too old to fruit successfully and expand both the sugar cane and cocoa yam crop areas. Watch this space for more news on how the gardens develop!

Community, Malawi

Celebrating the Night Watchmen

In December we held a party to celebrate the great work that the night watchmen do at Nyumba ya Masambiro to keep the beautiful centre and gardens safe. Khumba Gondwe and Tharzan Msuku are two of NYM’s longest serving members of staff and they really do go above and beyond their duties protecting the centre.

They often use the cooler evening and morning daylight hours to dig over soil in the gardens, they water crops early in the morning just as the sun comes up to give the crops a chance to drink before the sun is high enough to evaporate the water away, they pick up any litter that has been dropped on site or blown in by the winds, and very importantly they keep little guard dog Jake company as he rests from his daytime job of keeping the monkeys away from the crops!

It is so important that good and consistent work is acknowledged and rewarded and so we held a small party with soft drinks, biscuits and crisps in the library. The trustees were present and spoke wonderful words of praise for the watchmen and they were each gifted a 20 litre bucket with a lid and 2kg sugar, which they each carried home with great, well-deserved pride.

Tharzan and Khumba, we would like to thank you both for your many years of hard work and here’s to many more – Yewo Chomene!

Malawi, Volunteers, Youth

Party to celebrate the newly decorated Youth Hall

Following from the hard work and vision of volunteer Cara Marsh we were delighted to host a party at Nyumba ya Masambiro to celebrate the completion and opening of the newly decorated Youth Hall. The party was attended by the trustees of NYM, the staff of NYM, volunteers Cara and Rose, some guests from Zulunkhuni River Lodge and of course the youth club and nursery students and community members.

The party was a huge success of speeches, singing, dancing, games, glow sticks, bubbles and balloons. Everyone is absolutely delighted with the newly decorated Youth Hall and it is enjoyed daily for so many activities making use of the bright colourful walls and educational murals. We would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone whose hard work was poured into this renovation to make it such a huge success. Yewo Chomene!

Community, Malawi

NYM End-of-year Trustee Meeting

The beginning of December saw a Nyumba ya Masambiro Trustee Meeting held in Khomola Village where NYM Chair Trustee VH Jolote lives with his family. Secretary Trustee Flarey Singini and Phunzira Secretary Trustee Philippa Mander on behalf of NYM Trust Member Rosa Nissim hiked the one hour journey up into the Rurawe zone mountains to Khomola Village. Following a delicious breakfast the trustees met for almost 3 hours discussing the achievements of 2018 and any issues encountered, as well as plans for 2019. In 2018 NYM and the Ruarwe clinic were able to host 10 international volunteers, which has been of huge benefit to both the community members and the volunteers themselves.

We would like to thank all our donors for their generosity, which allows Phunzira and NYM to continue to run all its community projects. We would like to thank the many volunteers for sharing their expertise and energy with the NYM staff, the clinic and all the community members who benefit from these projects, and we invite you all to continue with us in our journey into 2019 as we continue with all our work and projects.

Community, Donations, Education, Malawi, Nursery, Volunteers, Youth

Volunteer Rose Benbow’s time in Ruarwe

In November volunteer Rose Benbow came to volunteer at Nyumba ya Masambiro with the Nursery and Youth Club. Rose came with an incredible donation of resources for so many of NYMs projects. This included over 20 books for the library including Mr. Men and Little Miss books, Horrid Henry books, the complete works of Shakespeare abbreviated for early years readers and so much more. In addition to that Rose donated pens, pencils, erasers and notebooks for the Youth Cupboard, as well as toothbrushes and face flannels for the Nursery school students.

Rose also go involved with the repainting of the Youth Hall, and then with some teaching sessions with Youth Club once the redecoration of the hall was completed. Yewo Chomene Rose for your incredibly generous donation and your time spent with the Youth Club!

Donations, Education, Malawi, Nursery, Volunteers, Youth

The redecoration of the Youth Hall at NYM

October and November saw great changes for our Youth Hall at Nyumba ya Masambiro. Returning volunteer Cara Marsh had a great vision for the redecoration of the Youth Hall walls supported by a generous donation from NYM visitor Sabina Trojanova. The walls had originally been painted with some small images when the hall was constructed in 2010. These small murals had become faded over time and Cara had a vision of using new images that would allow for interactive teaching for the nursery and youth club.

After the initial whitewashing of all the walls, the plan was mapped out and painting took 5 weeks in total. Cara enthusiastically encouraged guests from nearby Zulunkhuni River Lodge to come and join in as well as staff from NYM, children in the Youth Club and community members passing through. It really was a whole community activity and the nursery and youth club members really benefit from these murals every day, both as they are so bright and cheery and also from an interactive learning point of view. Cara – we thank you and all your volunteers for your vision and wonderful energy throughout this project – you have given the Youth Hall a new lease of life!

Healthcare, Malawi, Testimonial, Volunteers

Volunteer Testimonial – Ana Estevao

Ruarwe Health Centre was very lucky to host volunteer Ana Estevao for 6 weeks in September and October. Ana is a qualified nurse from Portugal who has been recently working in the NHS in the UK. Ana said of her time in Ruarwe;

“halfway through this adventure, it is amazing to see how with so little resources, staff and equipment, everyone that goes there gets the best treatment possible. Also the effort to make a better and healthier community each day is remarkable. Malawi is one of the countries most affected by malaria, so most of our patients are tested and treated for that but also we get a few emergencies. I’ve been able to see a few deep injuries and treat them, as also I’m improving my paediatric skills by looking after sick babies and providing them treatment.

As for myself, I’m more than grateful for being here and to be part of this community, even for so little time.”

Both staff, community members and volunteers really benefit from the volunteers’ time in Ruarwe – for moral support in the clinic, for information sharing and learning, and because volunteers are always really made to feel so welcome by the community.

Medicine and nursing in Ruarwe is very different from in big teaching hospitals in the West and so we find that to volunteers coming with a sense of openness and adventure really do get so much out of being here. Ana, thank you so much for your wonderful contribution of time and expertise to the community! Yewo Chomene!

Community, Education, Malawi, Sports, Volunteers, Youth

Volunteers join Phunzira from France

We were lucky enough to host three volunteers from France for a period of one month. Leo Berger, Aurelien Lluis and Kartik Sharma arrived in Ruarwe towards the end of May and immediately got stuck in with a great number of activities at the education centre Nyumba ya Masambiro. During their time with Phunzira they rebuilt the bridge across the stream into the NYM land after it had been washed away by the rains, they completed a data analysis plan for the maize mill, they got involved with tutorials and youth club sessions, they rewrote the guide to NYM which is available in the library for any visitors to read, they got involved with community activities such as football games at the village football field at the top of the hill and in their spare time they walked down to Usisya and back to get to see a bit of the surrounding area!

The staff at the education centre was delighted with their energy, joy and enthusiasm and it was wonderful to see how much could be achieved in such a short space of time. Thank you to all three for their hard work during their time in Ruarwe!