Mponela, Malawi … Chikondi was selling vegetables in the local marketplace to provide for herself and her two children. This 31-year-old mother, and her family, lived in Malowa Village, just near the Mponela Trading Center, and even closer to the Kasangadzi River.
As she visited friends and neighbors who passed by, she sold some of her vegetables. She was completely unaware of the danger rising near her house. Heavy rains had fallen in previous days, but that was no surprise or reason for alarm. After all, it is the rainy season and there is always a lot of rain this time of year.
Suddenly someone arrived with alarming news, and it was at that moment Chikondi learned of the unfolding catastrophe near her home. The river was out of its banks and rising fast. The village was threatened. Her thoughts went immediately to her children!
“Of no, my children are at home,” she thought, as horror spread through her mind.
Chikondi dropped what she was doing and rushed toward the village, but even before she could reach it an ever-rising torrent of water and debris was destroying everything in its path. Her children, what of her children? Oh no! No! She ran with ever-increasing urgency.
Then relief spread across her face as she approached and saw her children outside the village, and safe on higher ground. But in the next moment, she saw the angry, swollen, river and it filled the place where her house stood only a short time before. Her eyes filled with tears as she realized her house was gone where they had eaten breakfast that morning, was gone! Slept last night, gone! Where all their possessions were, gone! Everything gone! Even to her horror, she learned later that some of her neighbors were gone, swept away with the force of the river, now angry and out of control. Now eating away at roads, bridges, homes, and farm-crops.
She pulled her children close against the cold feeling of shock that spread over her. What would they do now? Where would they go? The rains would continue, where would they find shelter? Where? They found it in the building where the Mponela Church of Christ meets. In that church building they found a measure of hope as they met with and were interviewed by the team from Action for Progress. The AfP team had come from Lilongwe, and they were helping the government agencies assess who needed immediate assistance. bringing supplies, and helping
Almost immediately, AFP became the beacon of hope for so many, including the Kambuyemboye family. They had brought provisions of maize, rice, and clothes. These things seemed to say there is hope. Someone cares for me. The shelter of the church building said God knows, and He is providing what we need.
As the AFP team completed their action, someone saw Chifondi smiling, clapping her hands, and telling one of her neighbors, “All of the clothing given to us are our sizes and beautiful. It is as though they had come and taken our sizes.”
As the team from AfP prepared to return to the capital they knew the road for Chifondi would be difficult as she tried to rebuild. But they also knew they had helped her the desperate needs of today, and their help had helped her focus on what was good, positive, and encouraging. Thanks to the supporters of the Malawi Project and Action for Progress they had been there when she needed them.