Our first visit to Mtendere

I apologize for the lack of pictures in this and the previous post. With no internet connection, I am playing catch up with the blog. The pictures can take up to 5 minutes to load, and with the slow internet connection, I just don’t have the time.

Monday was our first visit to Mtendere (pronounced ten-deer-ee) Village, the real reason we came. When we first arrived the children were not ready for us yet, so we toured the Vitameal plant on site. Vitameal is the product of an organization (I believe it is Feed the Children). When finished, Vitameal is a nutrient supplemented corn powder. With an output of 4000 to 6000 2kg bags each day, Vitameal feeds many children. When passed out, people, mostly children from what I am told, come from miles away. They turn in a government food voucher, passed out by the village chief, in exchange for the food. Each bag of Vitameal gives 15 adult servings or 30 child servings; it no doubt keeps several from starving.

When the children were finally ready, we walked into the orphanage to the sound of the children singing a song welcoming us to Mtendere. We then watched a program of singing, dancing, and a wood block military type of exercise dance. Their program also told a story about Malawian culture. The story told of the HIV/AIDS problem. “AIDS can strike anyone at anytime; we must not be careless.”

After the children’s program, we were told we had time to mingle. The children immediately took to us and showed us around. We toured thier houses, which include dorm-like rooms. We saw the multipurpose room, garden, storage rooms, futbol field, everything at Mtendere. These children are so proud to call Mtendere thier home. In contrast to the fishing village from the night earlier, the children at Mtendere are so polite. They do ask for things, but understand that it must go through their house mothers. For instance, one child gave me a beautiful picture, painted on an old binder divider. He said, “If I have paper, I can draw you more pictures.” I cannot wait to hand over our donations.

I also look forward to getting to know the children better. We shared some of our favorite things and names of people we care about, but I also wonder about their hopes and dreams for the future. At Mtendere, the children can really look to a future.

Back to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, these children have all the physiological needs: food, water, health care. They can also feel secure, safe from the harms of weather or outside world. Mtendere even gives children a place where they feel belonged and loved. While there are only about 5 house mothers for the 132 children, this affection is not the same as we would expect in our homes. By meeting all these needs, the children can feel self-respect, and enjoy their individuality. They can experience a purpose and meaning to life, and have the potential for self-actualization.

Tony and Kids

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: