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MORE THAN JUST FOOD STORAGE

A Visit to Joseph Project 1

Villagers tending the crops in a field

Kasitu Village area, Dowa Valley (Central Region) – “It was certainly one of the highlights of my trip. Not that everything else was not exciting and impressive. By all means, it was a great week, but going to Joseph Project 1, seeing the fields with a second harvest, watching the people struggle just to raise enough food to survive, and walking up and down those mountains for the nearly 4 miles round trip to  get to those mountainous fields where they are raising their gardens, is a day I will not forget.” These were part of the vivid description of the day at Joseph Project 1, deep in the Dowa Valley, shared with the rest of the team after Bryon Bhagwandin, Chairman of the Malawi Project, and Wilson Tembo, executive director of Action for Progress made the trip to visit this site and the people of the villages that are making it possible.

Bryon continued, “I was amazed at how hard they work, even after the help we gave them to build the grain storage warehouse, the donation of the pump and then the long lines that extend up and down the hills to bring water to the fields.  That still leaves them with walking miles each day back and forth to the fields carrying the pump and lines out each morning and taking them back each night for safe storage. I had no idea what I was saying when I agreed to walk with them to the fields. I thought they were close by. Imagine! They do that every day.”

Even under the best of conditions, life is hard for the village people of Malawi. While conditions seem to be improving slightly for people in the cities, the people in the villages (85% of the population of Malawi) are actually falling backward. Repeated shortfalls in the government budget have reduced the subsidies given to help the village people purchase of seed and fertilizer, and sporadic weather patterns the past three or four years have reduced their ability to save enough to make these higher-priced purchases. It all adds up to more human suffering and tragedy.

But for now, the focus is on one village area to which Action for Progress and the Malawi Project have brought hope and assistance in order to help them get on their feet and provide for themselves.

You can see the picture story of Bryon’s trip to the village by going to www.flickr.com/photos/malawiproject

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