Water for Malawi Project – Update

Initially attempting a large project like a water well in Africa proved very difficult. Communication with Father Alphie was sporadic during this time as he helped the community on the ground with their immediate needs and online communication was not widely available. Following Father Alphie’s retirement in the summer of 09 communication was nonexistent with the parish until the arrival of Father Angelo Meja some months later in the spring of 2010. Father Angelo took on the challenge head first. By the summer of 2010 a site had been identified in the village near a school about twenty miles from the parish itself. The village known as Vilingowe would be the focus point for the new well. The village supports a girl’s primary school of some 700 students with a catchment area of 3,000 people.

Father Angelo was able to secure an engineer to design the well and provide a budget for the construction and training that would be required. Father Angelo had to negotiate with the Minister for water wells in Lingowe, the Capital, in order to secure a date for the contractors to build the well and manage the funds to ensure that the well was built on budget and constructed according to the engineer’s plans and specification. Father Angelo also succeeded in forming a committee within the parish to ensure that members of the community were properly trained in the maintenance of the well. It is vital that we not only help in the building of wells but that we ensure the community are aware of how important it is to maintain the equipment and that the surrounding area is kept in a clean and well maintained order.

On September 5th I received an email from Father Angelo which marked the long awaited construction of the first water well sponsored by the Galway Bay Golf tournament and the South Anne Arundel County Rotary Club. Since then the water well has been fully completed and is now fully operational.

This all happened after such a long time in planning and only days before our 2010 annual Golf tournament so I had great news to deliver to our sponsors, players and volunteers on the day.

It would not have been possible to get this far without the organization and persistence of Father Angelo Meja on the ground there in Malawi. It also would not have been possible without the help of our community here and the support, sponsorship and participation of our Annual Golf Tournament. Thank you to all.

If you would like to know more about our continuing work in Malawi please contact us via our website at www.southannearundelcounty.org or www.galwaybaymd.com or just come by for a breakfast meeting at Killarney House any Thursday at 7.30am.

This year’s tournament held on September 13th was a tremendous success and enjoyed by over a 112 golfers – thanks again to the many Rotary Club members that helped to facilitate the day’s activities and keep everything running smoothly –great job

We will soon have the total of funds raised ready to post and details of next year’s tournament available – keep an eye on this blog for further updates

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Email transcript from Father Angelo

Hi Anthony,

Today, Sunday, has been my happiest day. The dream has finally come true of having clean water at Nkhamenya Girls primary School. Before the morning service I saw three trucks coming the parish way. My heart leaped with joy when I saw them branching to our house. It is really good news for you and me. The borehole has been drilled and the people have gone back to their place. I was there fulltime, watching it happening. I have taken so many pictures which will get you tomorrow. Surely I am really happy and God has answered my prayer.

What is remaining now is construction of civil works and pump installation which the other group is coming to do. I thank you very much for your patience. I worked very hard to get drillers. It was not an easy job for me. At first I took it very simple only to learn afterwards it was hard to find trustworthy contractors. I wish you abundant Gods blessings.

Fr Angelo

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Hello and Welcome to Malawi Friends Project

Since 2004 the Galway Bay Golf Tournament, hosted by the Irish Restaurant Company, has helped the small community of the Holy Cross Parish in Nkhemenya, Malawi,  Africa.

What brought us to this place? Well the simple answer is Father Alphie brought us there. Father Alphie is Uncle to both Michael and Fintan Galway and has served as a missionary priest in Africa for over 43 years the last eleven of which he spent at the parish commuting on a bicycle around the village. Father Alphie has now retired and has moved back to Ireland however his mission is still continued today by our efforts for the people there and what we are able to provide for them.

At first we sent the funds that were raised at each tournament directly to Father Alphie where he used it to build new buildings or put a new roof on the church. He purchased seed to grow crops with it in amounts for dollars that we could not even imaging getting in this country.

About two years ago at the 2009 tournament we joined with the South Anne Arundel County Rotary Club to combine our forces and direct our efforts to raising enough money to provide a source of fresh, clean water to this community. This is a need that is desperate in Africa and is part of the International Rotary Focus for all underprivileged areas of the world. Rotary International has a matching grant application that will also help us do a larger project than what we might be able to do with just the funds that we raise ourselves and although we will be unable to access it this year the work is being done to apply for it in the future.

When Father Alphie left Africa it was uncertain what the future would bring for our connection to the parish however we have been so lucky to have gotten Father Angelo Meja as his replacement. After a lot of difficulty in communicating with the parish Father Angelo has been diligent in his responses and communication and has been able to negotiate with a local engineer to actually perform the necessary work to drill the first bore hole well for the Holy Cross Parish. As a Rotary Club we have also established a connection with the Mzuzu Rotary Club approximately 191 km to the North of Nkhemenya, this communication with their members has given us a better understanding of what is required to do this work in this country and also has provided us security in the knowledge that the work is reputable and as a result will provided a sustainable source of fresh clean water and the training of the local people there to ensure it’s continued maintenance and operation.

The cost of this first bore hole is $10,139.05 of which the majority has already been raised – this year’s tournament will provide the balance needed and the basis for future projects like a badly need Maize Mill that we will be able to update you about as it develops.

This web page will remain active on the Galway Bay website and I hope to add pictures of the work that is being done as it progresses and then continue to update it with information about newer projects and what the funds you have all helped to raise are being used for so that you know that you have done something good today and that together we have made a big difference in a place that is in desperate need of it.

Thank you all for your continued support and donation of time.

Anthony Clark

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