Norfolk Christian couple change lives in Malawi
Norfolk Christian couple Les and Kathie Craske have been working in schools in Malawi for the past five months. They have been providing orphans with nutritious food and teaching sound Christian values.
by Annabel Valentine
On 6th May 2011, Les and Kathie Craske
arrived in Malawi, keen to embark on a new two-year chapter of their involvement with children’s work, as described in an earlier article on this website
. Previous bi-annual trips to Malawi had prepared them up to a point for the different culture and way of life, but this was to be a complete immersion experience, with no prospect of returning home for some months.
They found the Malawian winter, from May onwards, surprisingly cold for a few weeks, necessitating coats, hats and scarves which had at first seemed incongruous. However, embarking on the new challenges with characteristic enthusiasm and commitment, they soon found their feet helping to run a children’s centre in the south of the country, which in due course meant that the director and his wife could go away on a much-needed holiday.
The centre is home to 27 children of varying ages, all orphans with no family able to care for them. In addition to the day to day duties of running the centre, Kathie teaches the girls sewing and jewellery making, with the aim of equipping them with skills for the future. With malnutrition a fact of life in the local community, another 100 children come to the centre daily to receive a nutritious fortified porridge, Likuni Phala, with some staying on for the pre-school class until midday.
Nearby Samuti Village is where Les and Kathie’s initial involvement with Malawi began. They are currently re-structuring the nursery school that they set up five years ago, and being close at hand are better able to monitor the well-being and progress of the children. The 60 children in the nursery school also receive Likuna Phala, giving them the vitamins and minerals they need in early development. Basic teaching on good hygiene is given to both staff and children, thus reducing the potential for sickness that could be fatal to these young children.
The three teachers at the nursery have had more training and have started the new term using different, improved teaching methods. Classrooms have been repaired and decorated, a play area with swings constructed and many educational toys purchased. The surrounding land is being used to grow crops to both use and sell, and a cow makes her contribution towards running costs, giving milk to sell.
A new development is a youth ministry in Samuti village, being run by a committed and enthusiastic young Malawian man, Humphries, who recently graduated from Bible College. Some 45 young people, aged between 13 and 30 attend a weekly sports session, followed by discussions on topical issues from a biblical perspective.
How easy it is to succumb to ‘compassion fatigue’ as the seemingly insoluble problems in Africa continue. However, this undertaking which is purely on a voluntary basis, funded by a number of people giving monthly sponsorship, is surely making a difference, and is an example of what can be done when we grasp opportunities that come our way. To quote Kathie, “We are still amazed at how God can lay children in another country on our hearts and equip us to help and love them when we have no previous experience in bringing up children.”
Sounds like God to me!
Les and Kathie can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org, and welcome prayer or financial support for the projects.