February 7, 2015 - Malawi Flood Disaster Update #4
Malawi Flood Disaster
by: Joanna Morrison - Report #4 - February 7, 2015
The smell of smoke clings to my clothes and my hair. My feet and legs are still speckled with mud. I am just back from a morning in the camps. At 7:30 Kalina and I accompanied Karin, a Dutch nurse, to Magoti Camp. Magoti is a small camp with just three big tents. As we pulled in, children and adults alike looked us over. Heavy rain throughout the night had made huge puddles everywhere. As I poked my head into a tent, I could see the water inside too. Not much sleep was had while the water pounded overhead and seeped in underneath. Normally, Malawian mums would be up and washed, with porridge on the stove by 6am at least. These mums were slowly rousing themselves and their children.
One of the women called everyone together so that I could pray for them. What could I say? Just that morning I had read about the way a bird turns into the wind when it is in trouble, in order to rise higher. I encouraged the women to put their trust in God, and let their troubles draw them higher. We prayed for God's light to be seen in the camp.
Kalina was ready to play some games. The people were delighted with her Chichewa, and quickly joined in the fun. A game of Mr.Wolf, called Mr.Lion here, was followed by the Banana Song, and then some more crazy games. We sloshed around in the mud, and laughed together. We all took every opportunity to scoop up a child for a hug. The mums joined in, laughing as the 'fox' chased the 'mouse'.
As we got back in the car, we were glad to have shared some fun, and hugged some kids. These people are homeless and unwanted by their new community. They have been offered a poor piece of land, without trees, and currently under water. Since houses cannot be rebuilt until the rains have ended, they will be there for months. We must do whatever we can to encourage these sojourners.
From Magoti, we drove to Bangula Camp, where tents stretch out as far as you can see. Each district has their own area. In the middle of the camp are two huge covered areas designated for cooking. Each one must search for their own firewood or beg someone to share their dying embers. There is no order, just small fires scattered everywhere, hence the smoke in my hair.
I sat with a mother of four, who had been rescued by boat while her home slipped into the flood waters. I prayed with a mother whose little one had a high fever and diarrhea. I taught some kids the fruit of the spirit song, and we laughed together. I told some mums the story of Jesus feeding the 5000, and they marvelled at how they could be full with only two cups of flour a day. Jesus still multiplies food.
Not all were marvelling. I met many who complained about the small rations, about the lack of blankets, about their babies crying with hunger until the afternoon rations are distributed, about the mosquitoes at night. Do you have a net? Do you have some soya for my baby?
I met a little girl called Agness who came with her mother from Makanga. I asked about her father, and she told me he disappeared in the water. We sat together for a long time and I hugged her. Such great loss for such a small child! Many have stories of loved ones disappearing in the water. Others came home to find everything gone, house, husband and children, gone.
No chance to grieve. Life is full of survival, finding water, finding firewood, making your maize flour last 24 hours, caring for little ones and old grandparents.
Thank you for the financial support that has been coming which is enabling us to purchase maize flour, beans, soya pieces, soap, blankets, children’s porridge, cups, and plates. We are also aware that the job of rebuilding will be delayed until the rains finish, so some funds will be reserved for that purpose.
[Displaced flood victims at the Magoti Camp respond to Iris Pastor Henry after he shares about the hope we have in Jesus Christ. Many people humbly opened their hearts, welcoming Jesus as their Lord and Savior.]