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Many many apologies for the delay in communications; for the last 2 weeks I have been in very remote northern Malawi with very limited access to internet; I then had what seemed like 2 million email to catch up on my return.
I am now back in Blantyre after a very successful time up north, teaching Basic Trauma Life Support in the rural and district hospitals, with 3 surgeons. It was wonderful to be back teaching and away from bureaucratic meetings and fundraising, both of which can get rather depressing!! All I can say about the scenery, was that it was totally stunning; wild and untouched and we all had the most wonderful time; it was totally amazing to throw 4 people together virtually 24 hours a day, one of whom we had never met before. We got on like a house on fire despite hours on terrible roads, with 5 of us squashed in an ambulance for up to 9 hours driving some days!! Luckily, we all have a great sense of humour, we know Africa and we don't mind roughing it and eating in some fairly alternative places, to say the least!!
That having been said, we also had some amazing days off by Lake Malawi when we were not teaching and we did a safari on the Nyika Plateau, which is amazing; we even saw a leopard just at camp; amazing stars and the whole of the Milky Way above us.
The course was really successful and we taught around 120 medical staff in 6 hospitals, covering over 3000 kilometers. Wonderful stuff and an unforgettable trip. The days at the Lake and Nyika made up for all the hardship and it was absolutely amazing.
in Blantyre, I am now catching up on email, meetings and chasing our legal
agreements. While we were up north, we visited the capital of Malawi, Lilongwe,
where Paul Thoma, (who gave a talk to you last year) and I went to the
Department of Health; without making you lose the will to live, we have to get
our Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Minister of Health in order to
qualify for tax and VAT exemption, which will save us an awesome amount of
money on the build costs.
Having said all this, I have just received a call from the Department of Health in Lilongwe and they are hassling the Dept of Justice to get a move on. The MInister of Health wants a signing ceremony with Press coverage, so I may live long enough to get them to sort it all out. I think have to go into battle with the Malawian revenue Authority; life is not easy out here, but at least we have some regular power back again!!
I have also been out to Chilaweni village, where we are building our clinic, to prepare for our medical and nursing student visits this summer to keep me sane, so there is the odd reprieve from hassle. lovely to be back in our AMECA house again ad I am feeling very at home here.
Last week I visited Rotary Club of Limbe, where I had a warm welcome; the good news is that they will be prepared to support a Global grant application from us and we can qualify by applying for 2 bore holes as opposed to one; this makes total sense as arguably most of the healthcare problems in the villages apart from maternity come from people drinking filthy water out of puddles and rivers. I am doing a visit to the community to assess location for most dire need and will get back to those of you on the International Committee.
Life here is a colourful blend of simplicity and mayhem, but the Malawians are so incredibly friendly and I am blessed with may good friends; today the water Board decided to cut us off as none of us in the little yard I live in had paid our bills!! I am not worried as we all have several days supply in our large outside storage tanks, so we will sort tomorrow!! You can't pay anything on line here!!
I hope you are all keeping well and here are a few photos for you from Rotary and our teaching trip.
more French Speaking Competition held at Rosebery School
more Sean and Joyce Moody generously allowed us to sell mulled wine in aid of local charities outside their restaurant "The Canopy". It was the evening of the switch on of the Christmas Lights in the market square.
more Steve was inducted by Andy Ballard, our President, at lunch on 19th November. He brings new and different expertise to our team and we are delighted he has joined us.
more The Junior and Intermediate classes of the 2015 schools French public speaking competitions, organised jointly with the Epsom and Ewell Town twinning Association, took place at Rosebery School on Tuesday 20th October.
more Rotary President Andy Ballard helping out with the Poppy appeal 2015
more Around 100 people celebrated the 90th anniversary of the foundation of the Epsom Rotary Club
more Held at the United Reformed Church Hall
more Epsom and Ewell Rotary Clubs have a great success with the 2015 Fun Day
more Voluntary Action Mid Surrey give Volunteers Award to Tony Axelrod and Duncan Cox
more Held in Reading and with 10 contestants. The competition was fierce and the afternoon was a fantastic performance by all contestants
more Andy presents Mike Gibbs with his trophy for winning the Bowling tournament
more Great evening hearing about the Royal Yacht Brittania
more Andy and Barb have been putting up the Banners
more Ruthie Markus returns to Africa shortly to oversea projects which are running there.
more Dave Ayres visits the Rotary Club of Bolton in Canada
more Delft Koningveld arranged for Epsom Choral Society to give a concert in their local Church. The concert was well attended and raised around 1000 Euros for the church
more Race for life on Epsom Downs. Rotary man the finish lines. 3000 people run
more Excellent Sunday afternoon at the Hog Roast with The Canopy and Everest Spice Restaurants
more A team of 5 refurbish St Ebba's Sheltered Garden
more 8 Associate Members were inducted (photo only shows 7 as Helena had to be elsewhere)
more Many Rotarians, Rotaractors and Associate Rotarians with partners invaded the Ashley Centre
more The Junior and Intermediate French Speaking Competion was held at Rosebery School last Tuesday 21st October.
more 3 representatives of Challengers come to lunch
more We had a fascinating talk from Matthew Wing
more The Epsom event of Young Musician was held at Epsom College
more Emma Oulton gains second place in the District Finals
more The English Public Speaking Competition in Chantilly was on 13th February. 5 from the UK Rotary attended the event.
more Click on arrows to move through pictures.................... Ruth Markus is in Malawi working for the AMECA Trust which assists Malawi with medical aid. She sends details of the devastation and its effects.
more The first round winners of the 2015 Youth Speaks Competition.
more Attached is a link to a short video of the Epsom & Ewell Borough Family fun day, Jointly organised by Ewell and Epsom Rotary Clubs and Rotaract and which is now on You Tube. The video was created by Surinder Sarohia
more Tony Axelrod receives his certificate from President Clive Smitheram
more Held at Epsom Council Chamber
more Club Heat of Young Photographer 2015
more Some of our members wearing their bandanas
more District 1140 finals of Young Chef Competition
more We start the new Rotary year with a new President Andy Ballard and Rotaract President Katie Barke
back News items in 2015