Lilongwe, Malawi … One usually schedules a “groundbreaking” as an event that precedes the work of the contractor to begin construction. It is like the opening gun at the Kentucky Derby, or the Indianapolis 500. Bang … and we are off and running, but not before you hear the signaling gunshot. But it does not take long to learn few patterns in Malawi match those of the U.S. and this one is no exception.
30 April 2019 signaled the day of the “groundbreaking and setting of the cornerstone” for Action for Progress’ new Distribution Center near Lilongwe. This facility will serve as a national distribution site for goods and services sent to Malawi through the efforts of the Malawi Project. It is a milestone in relations between two groups, as it marks one of the first times for a Malawi group to create a stand-alone, not-for-profit organization, from the offset to have full ownership, oversight and management of a program such as this one.
Representatives came from a number of locations to hear first-hand about this unusual program from Chester Kabinda-Mbewe, the chairman of the board of directors for Action for Progress, and featured speaker for the event. They were not disappointed to learn the board for Action for Progress put this program in play, purchased land, and are now building this building without the decisions being made in whole or in part by groups in other parts of the world.
But now, back to the groundbreaking and cornerstone laying ceremony. Because of the urgency to get the building completed during the dry season between the rains of November to April, the contractor outran the ceremony and was already hard at work putting down the cement blocks for the foundation, as well as having already locked down the anchoring position that marks the cornerstone’s location. However, the semantics of such things as “groundbreaking” and “laying cornerstones” seemed to fall away in the excitement and recognition of what this group of Malawians have been able to accomplish in less than 18 months.
To the Board of Directors for Action for Progress
On behalf of the Malawi Project’s board of directors and their contributors’, congratulations are in order to Action for Progress on your excellent success, and we look forward to working side by side with you, and your executive director Mr. Wilson Tembo in the future.