Southern Malawi … It has been six months since Cyclone Freddie washed away his entire village. Their home had been their security, and their good memories. Now it was gone, and six months later most of the aid groups who came immediately after the storm, were also gone.
John Chikwanthu, 62, and his family of six survived the devastation and destruction of the cyclone, but now, with the absence of sufficient assistance, John and his family are threatened with not surviving the storm’s aftermath.
For a short time after that night, they found refuge in an intact school classroom, but in time the authorities notified them they would have to vacate the school. John next tried to put together a shelter from plastic sheets, but at best that was not sufficient.
Then a few days ago, along with other villagers, John gathered on the Migowi Primary School grounds. Aid had arrived through Action for Progress, and he rushed to get help for his family. At the site, his eyes fell on the bags of maize and clothing that had come to the site through Action for Progress, and a spark of hope sprang forward. They had not been forgotten. There was hope.
He watched as members of Action for Progress began to distribute food and clothing to those in need. Then it was his turn. He approached with great humility and growing joy as he received bags of maize and clothes.
He held the clothes in his hands and looked at them. One could only imagine him thinking about his wife as she looked at the new clothes. One could only imagine his joy as he thought about his children enjoying the food he had received from Action for Progress.
His joy came, not simply from the bags of food and clothing, but for someone coming that could restore his faith in the goodness of humanity. The same had to be true with the other 300 families who received food and clothing that day.
It was a lifeline, and these things were reminders they were not forgotten in their darkest hour. After some time, John secured his bag of maize and clothes to the back of his bicycle. With a smile, he climbed on the bicycle and started peddling his way to his family. Hope was seen in his eyes as he looked toward the members of the Action for Progress team and then disappeared in the distance.
Pictured is John as he secured the bag of maize that would now sustain his family for some time into the future.