Guest Blog: One Volunteer’s Story on Working at Mtendere Children’s Village- Erin Clemens

When I was in the 4th grade, my family took a trip to Togo, West Africa to visit some of our friends who were doing mission work there. During our stay we visited both village and international schools. Not long after the trip, I started telling myself I was going to be a teacher and I would move to a country in Africa. Fast forward many years and now I am employed as a teacher in south Nashville. I work at a school with a majority population of refugees and immigrants, and I love it! I get to spend my year teaching, loving, and empowering students from all over the world and then get to spend a few weeks out of my summer in Africa teaching, loving, and empowering students in Malawi while learning alongside their amazing teachers. It’s the best of both worlds.

What are 3 major things you have learnt from travelling abroad to work alongside another ministry?

Any time I am working with another ministry, I am learning new things. I have now been to Mtendere three times and each time the Lord has taught me more about these three things: joy, love, and community. These three are always revealed to me during time spent with the house mothers. A few memories in particular stick out to me where I learned more about joy, love and community. Hannah and I went to visit Mama Alice one day this summer. Mama Alice has a living room full of couches like all the other moms, but she has one special chair. This one chair appears to be very comfortable with a beautiful lace covering over it. Mama Alice watched Hannah walk toward the chair, sit down, and fall straight through to the ground. The entire room erupted in laughter. In fact, we were all laughing so hard we started crying. It turns out, Mama Alice has chosen not to fix that chair because she likes to see who will fall victim to it. She knows it will make everyone in the room laugh and it is the simplest and most hilarious way to bring joy to everyone who visits her. I learn so much about how to love better by spending time with Mama Ruth and her kids. This year, our team conducted home visits in typical education fashion and asked all the mamas what their hopes and dreams were for their kids. Sweet Mama Ruth explained how she hopes for her children to be good people. She told us about how she loves them well by praying for them. Each day they wake up and as a house pray over their days, and you can tell this group of children is especially close because of the way they know each other through the power of prayer. Prayer is such a simple thing for us to do and such a profound way to love each other. Finally, I have learned about the richness of living in community because of Mama Eunice. During my visit in 2017 Hannah and I went to visit Mama Eunice one night after dinner. Of course, she had another full meal for us and insisted we eat. Before we knew it the entire living room was full of people joining us for dinner. Mama Eunice explained to us later that most of the people in the room were not invited for dinner. Instead, they stumbled into a house full of people enjoying each other’s company and wanted to be part of it. We spent the night talking about books, families, goals, music, and everything under the moon. It was a great reminder of what we are created for. Nobody was checking their watches to see what time it was or thinking where they had to be next. Everyone was intentionally focused on the people in the room and nothing else. Often times when I am in America I find myself missing this time. It holds such sweet memories in my mind and serves as a concrete reminder that God intended for us to live in community so that we can share each other’s joy, burdens, love, and so much more. That is the amazing gift that Malawi and specifically Mtendere has given me. I have received joy, love, and community on a much deeper level and I am eternally blessed by that.

Have some of your perspective about education changed as you have worked with children in the education system here in the United States and in Malawi?

Absolutely they have and thank goodness for that! In August, I will begin my 3rd year of teaching and while I still have so much to learn I now have a more realistic perspective of education. Prior to beginning my career, I had an idea of teaching thinking that it would be a lot of sunshine and rainbow moments with tons of cute arts and crafts (thanks Pinterest). However, teaching is hard work-both in the United States and in Malawi. This year, our team started and ended our time working with the Mtendere teachers in a round table discussion. We chatted about our triumphs and celebrations as teachers and also our obstacles and struggles. The funny thing is, our answers were very similar even though we are teaching on different continents. We all struggle with having enough resources for our students and we all celebrate when a student finally understands a concept. However, the question each member at our table was able to answer quickest and with the most ease was, “tell about a student who has impacted your life.” Each one of us has a student that has made a lasting impact on our lives and our career. Many of the stories discussed were of amazing children who we will all remember for the rest of our lives. Therefore, I have come to realize that it doesn’t matter about the cute arts and crafts and it doesn’t matter about having intricate classroom décor, instead what matters is these children. I used to think I might have a great impact on every student who walked in my door. Instead, it is myself that has been impacted by these children (both in America and Malawi) and my life is much richer because of that.

What have you learnt about being part of a team?

I have learned that in the end, people matter most. This year, we talked a lot about how often times we get more caught up in making plans to complete things for our personal agendas and we forget about loving people. Working in a team forces you to be in community, it encourages you to be vulnerable, and it teaches you to love people who are different from you. I have learned that if we put aside our plans and focus on the people on our team and love them the outcome is far greater than any plan we could have created. Upon returning from Malawi, I was reading Everybody, Always by Bob Goff. In the book he says, “quit waiting for a plan; just go love everybody.” I love this quote especially in regards to being part of a team. Stop planning and start loving the people in front of you. 

What have you enjoyed the most about being a leader? What has been the most challenging part?

As a leader, it is really amazing to see everyone’s gifts and talents coming together for the greater good. I love being able to select members to join the team knowing what talents they can contribute and then to see it come into fruition on the trip. It is always a glimpse into the creativity of God and how he intricately and uniquely created each and every person. Another bonus to being the leader is being able to share about the wonder that is Mtendere all year with the team only to watch them instantaneously fall in love with the place that feels like home to me. The most challenging part, however, is the fact that by nature I am not a leader. I would much rather be a follower so I feel as if I lack many qualities of a leader and I am still learning how to navigate that as I co-lead this trip. However, I have now stepped into three leadership roles in different areas of my life so maybe God is trying to teach me something.

As an educator, what do you think are some of the most effective ways we can continue to advocate for vulnerable children’s education?

In regards to speaking to adults about advocating for vulnerable children’s education I think the greatest thing we can do is raise awareness-awareness for the great things that can become of a person when they are provided with a chance at education. When actually working with vulnerable children I believe the best thing you can do is empower them. Speak to them in a way that affirms in them the amazing things they can contribute to society. Do not speak to them in pity or sympathy because of their circumstances. That is crippling and the message can often be received as we believe they are not capable to amounting too much. Instead, we as educators and human beings need to lift them up in a way that makes them overlook their circumstances and believe in their future. Children in vulnerable circumstances are resilient and hard working. I have been privileged to know and work alongside many amazing adults who were once vulnerable children. They got where they are today because someone affirmed character traits they possess and empowered them to overcome their circumstances. We need to be better about believing in our youth and speaking up for them and speaking into their amazing possibilities.

Guest Blog: Q & A with Child Sponsor, Brennan Boucher

One day at lunch in the Lipscomb University cafeteria 3 years ago, my best friend approached me about the opportunity to go on a mission trip to Malawi, Africa through the Lipscomb Mission program. We had been on multiple mission trips together and if we were going to travel across the ocean, we wanted to do so with each other. At first, I had no idea where Malawi was or what this mission trip would look like. We were both in our junior year of school studying Education at Lipscomb and this was a trip primarily for future teachers. I love working with children and traveling, so I was immediately interested in this trip. After several weeks of researching Malawi and praying, I decided to apply. At this time, I had no idea the impact Malawi, specifically, Mtendere Children’s Village would have on my life.

Q: What inspired you to become a sponsor?

A: I have always been passionate about children. I grew up working in a pre-school and babysitting. Being around children, is where I feel completely whole and where I see God work the most. While in Jamaica several years earlier, I enjoyed getting to know the children and being able to return each year to see them. Whenever possible, I would send Hope for Haiti boxes through my church. For years, I have felt called to love and care for children around the globe. It was the beginning of my second week in Malawi and I had already fallen in love with the people and the culture. I was immediately drawn to the children of Mtendere and knew I wanted to have a connection with them for years to come. I asked about what being a sponsor would look like and began the search for a child who needed one. It was then that I came across a young boy in 4th grade who was needing sponsorship. He was the same age as the kids I worked with back home and he was in primary school where I was training to become a teacher. It was at that moment that I knew I needed to sponsor him and continue to be a part of the Mtendere community.

Q: What does child sponsorship mean to you?

A: Being a child sponsor means that you are vowing to pray for your child daily. It means that you get to be a part of this child’s life, even in such a small way. To me, being a child sponsor means being a way for that child to receive a great education through the school on campus, to ensure that child gets their 3 meals a day and medical attention, and to encourage them to continue being kind, respectful children. Being a child sponsor means making a commitment to love that child from across the ocean.

Q: What is your favorite thing about the volunteer work you do in Malawi?

A: I am extremely lucky to be able to return to Malawi year after year. I have been able to watch my child grow both academically and spiritually for the past 3 years. Each year that I go to Mtendere, I get to strengthen the relationships I have made both with my sponsor child, as well as, the other children in the village. My favorite thing about working in Malawi, is being able to experience academics in the Mtendere Primary School. I love working with and learning from the teachers at Mtendere. Through our partnership with Mtendere Primary, we share teaching strategies, stories, and ideas on how to be a more successful teacher. Both American and Malawian teachers grow in their professionalism during these two weeks. I also enjoy being able to teach in the classes and see my sponsor child grow as a student.

Q: How have you involved your family and friends in this experience?

A: My family and friends have been my biggest supporters. They encourage me to return to Malawi every year and they help make financial donations to get me there. Many of my friends go on this trip with me and together we learn and grow from the people of Mtendere. My family and friends know about my sponsor child and pray for him along with me. I also enjoy teaching my students in America about Malawi. They love to hear stories, watch videos, and see pictures of the classroom, children, and especially, the child I get to sponsor. This past year, students in America wrote to the students in Malawi. It was an amazing experience to learn more about my students, as well as, the students in Malawi.

Q: If you could share one thing with someone considering sponsoring a child, what would it be?

A: Take the leap of faith. You will not regret taking the chance to sponsor a child. They will change your life even from miles away. Being a part of my sponsor child’s life has been a great blessing. He has taught me about the love and the grace of our God. Your monthly donation goes to an incredible organization who cares deeply for these children. They are passionate about making sure all children are cared for. The children are grateful for you and they will make sure they show that to you through letters, pictures, and hugs. Being a child sponsor, is one of the best ways to connect with others around the globe and show the love of our Father,

Will you join us? For more information, please visit our child sponsorship page, or email sponsor@100XDevelopment.com.

Mtender Children’s Village: 10 Year Celebration Gala

In this joyous season, come celebrate the abundance of Love, Peace, Growth,

Happiness and Family God has provided to 

Mtendere Children’s Village as we happily rejoice its 10th year!

Friday, December 12, 2014

7:00 pm

The Warehouse @ Alley Station

130 Commerce Street, Montgomery AL 36104

Food, Music, Family & Friends!

$5,000 Cash Prize, Silent Auction and Raffle Items

Business or Cocktail Attire

Tickets:  $100

admits two people & one entry in cash prize drawing

*You do not need to be present to win.

Purchase

QUESTIONS?

 contact us at Gala@100XDevelopment.com or (334) 387-1152

From the Heart of Dixie to the Warm Heart of Africa

Our visits to Mtendere Village every summer spark excitement and joy in our children as they anticipate hearing from their sponsors and receiving gifts. It is like Christmas in June. We would like to thank all our children’s sponsors for investing in these young souls. We do not doubt that the children know they are loved and cared for. Although we are not able to carry all the goods in suitcases, with the help from donors, we have been blessed to send a shipping container full of supplies each year.

Sponors Thank you 1

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At the end of this month, a 40-foot shipping container filled with school and medical supplies, books, toys, tools, sports equipment, Soccer balls and jerseys, clothes, hygiene items, bed sheets blankets and mattresses will be sent to Malawi, Africa. We are still short some supplies and hope to have a few more items donated. Please join us to help in this mission.

This is how you can help:

  1. Commit to providing selected supplies on the list below
  2. Help by making a monetary donation which will allow for some goods to be purchased by 100X

If shipping to us, send to the below address:

100X Development Foundation

7020 Fain Park Drive

Montgomery, AL 36117

If dropping items off in person, packages can be delivered to:

Landmark Church of Christ

(Missions Barn)

1800 Halcyon Blvd

Montgomery, AL 36117

For further information Please contact Christina: ckadzamira@100XDevelopment.com

Things Needed at Mtendere Children’s Village

Hygiene supplies:

  • Girl’s Sanitary pads
  • Shavers
  • Deodorant
  • Tooth brushes
  • combs
  • Bathing soap bar
  • Under wear (all ages: boys & girls)
  • Socks (all sizes)
  • Bathing towels & face cloths
  • Sports bras / bras & slips

Health supplies (for house moms and children)

  • Cold medicines
  • Tylenol
  • Arthritis creams
  • Arthritis wrist and knee support bandages
  • First aid kits

House supplies (can be second hand/ used extra house hold items which are in good shape) 

  • blankets and bed sheets,
  • (hospital mattresses)
  • kitchen supplies: pots, plastic plates & cups, utensils
  • second hand furniture
  • floor mats & carpets
  • big cooking pots for the main kitchen

School supplies & items for children 

  • umbrellas/Raincoats for day scholars
  • Traveling bags, for boarding students
  • Solar power scientific calculators, composition books, rulers, pens/ pencils/ colors, any school type items for children grades 1-12J
  • Desk calendars for Mtendere teachers
  • Paint, paint brushes, canvas, wool & knitting items, beads for skills room
  • Play toys and educational toys

Tools

  • tools: Hammer, Pry bar, screw drivers
  • garden water hoes
  • Torches for security guards and houses.
  • wheel barrow
  • buckets

Clothes & shoes

  • clothes (all ages)
  • shoes (all sizes)
  • flip flops
  • any sports uniform
  • neck ties
  • belts

Big items: (we will also be taking up monetary donation if any donor would like to help purchase the following items)

  • 30 X60 Tent : used for youth rallies, community gatherings, and is an income generator for Mtendere (rented out for big functions)
  • Industrial Shelving.
  • Cafeteria chairs

Things Needed at Blessings Hospital

  • Metal receivers (kidney dishes) for minor procedures and maternity
  • Gloves both sterile and clean (in large quantity
  • Large and medium artery forceps
  • Spongy holding forceps
  • Cord clamps plastic
  • Drapes for obstetric procedures (maternity delivery) and surgery procedures
  • Sanitary Diapers  large and medium size
  • Digital measuring scale for new born babies
  • Pediatric nebulizer masks and oxygen nasal cannular
  • LAP sponges
  • Digital fetal scope
  • Scalpel blade holders
  • Pulse oximeter
  • Blood chemistry machine
  • Cbc machine
  • Desk top computers for (reception, cashier, laboratory, pharmacy, maternity, surgery center, doctor’s office.
  • Water bath with attached thermometer
  • Thermometer, room temp
  • Colored bed sheets
  • Blankets
  • Screening covers sheets for mobile clinics and wards
  • Window curtains
  • Filter papers Laboratory
  • Glass microscope slides
  • Microscope
  • Digital film processor (x-ray)
  • Lockable office cabinet drawers
  •  Formula milk i.e. F75, F100 and lactogen  1 and 2

 

 

 

 

 

Trick or treat for kids around the world

 

It is the element of surprise that makes Halloween such an enjoyable time for many children. Dressing up in fun costumes, screams and scares, running around the neighborhood on a school night and collecting candy is all about the Trick or Treating fun.

As the Halloween excitement builds all around, students of the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance from Auburn University Montgomery (AUM), organized the third annual “trick or treat” drive in their neighborhoods–a tradition started by Roselyne Bosco, now a graduate of AUM.

But, unlike the children in search of sweets, these students asked for a more nontraditional treat. Dressed up in their orange and black school colors, 10 students and two profressors took on the task of going door to door to collect hygiene items and school supplies. As this was quite an unusual ask, with permission through the neighborhood association at Sturbridge Plantation, students of the NPLA sent out flyers to every home allowing them to prepare for a different type of trick or treating to benefit children in our own community and across the globe.

This year, thanks to the effort of these students and the generosity of the community, we will be able to provide hygiene items and school supplies to children at Mtendere at Mtendere Village (Malawi) and Adullam House (Wetumpka, Alabama). We are very grateful!

Christina Kadzamira, Program Assistant

 

An American Nursing Student in Malawi

Katie Sanderson, recently shared about her perspective on the recent Auburn University trip to Malawi, now, we’re excited to share a student’s thoughts! 

Clinical mornings in Malawi were made up of something different each day—we never knew what to expect when we tumbled out of our bus.  The one thing we could always count on was to be greeted with smiling faces, our Kamuzu College of Nursing (KCN) partner and friends, and things we have never seen or experienced before.

Over the span of four days in clinical, there were never less than a few hundred patients waiting when we arrived on site—all eagerly waiting to receive vaccinations, treatment for sickness, and family planning assistance.  During those four days going all around Lilongwe to different villages and communities, I was exposed to more than I have ever seen.

In our clinics, we offered vaccinations for healthy babies, a clinic for children under the age of five who were sick, and family planning for women.  My favorite station to be assigned to was the under five clinic.  Mothers would come and sit with their child in their lap, and my KCN partner and I would work as a team to evaluate our patient.  She would translate for me and we would work together to arrive at a diagnosis and plan of care.

As an American nursing student, having this much autonomy was exciting and terrifying, but it was very clear at the end of each day that we had made a difference in the lives of hundreds of God’s children in Malawi.  It was very humbling to be the Lord’s hands and feet in this situation—being able to give infants and expectant mothers important vaccines to protect against tetanus and other diseases.

Our trip did not only consist of outer clinical sites, however. We were blessed to be welcomed into the homes of Mtendere Village and get to know the children and the house moms.  Momma Ruth and Momma Naomi took me in as their own child and each night we all met together with the children in their houses to have devotionals and sing together.

Being able to travel across the world and find such strong faith in a country that seems to have close to nothing was something that changed my heart and encouraged my faith in a way that I will never forget. This trip was a huge life-changing opportunity that I feel so blessed to have been a part of.

Ruthie Schaefer is a nursing student at Auburn University.

The Definition of Nursing

What is nursing?  Nursing is the protection, promotion, and optimization of health and abilities, prevention of illness and injury, alleviation of suffering through the diagnosis and treatment of human response, and advocacy in the care of individuals, families, communities, and populations.

To be a nurse, or to study to become a nurse means that an individual must encompass a desire to help others in a holistic way.  Being a nurse means caring for someone physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and medicinally:  in other words, to care for the mind, body and soul.

In my most recent trip to Malawi, I was privileged to witness these definitions of nursing first hand.

Let me back up a little.  As most of you may know, after being an RN in the ICU for over three years,  I have recently transitioned into a full-time job at 100X Development where I will coordinate various nursing projects to help improve the healthcare system in Malawi.  One of the first ways that 100X moved forward in improving healthcare delivery was by developing a consortium of universities, both stateside and in Malawi.  Auburn University (my alma mater) and Kamuzu College of Nursing (KCN) in Malawi, two leaders in the development of improving the nursing standards both in the classroom and at the bedside, were among the first to join.

One of the most obvious ways to get this started was to send a group of US nursing students to Malawi to work alongside Malawian students–we knew this would stretch, mold and challenge students in a way that far outreaches ANY lesson that can be taught in a classroom.  By traveling to a developing nation where needs are overwhelming and resources are scarce, students would be pushed to the brink of communicating beyond just words, to think beyond the medicine and the machines, and treat over 100 people in a matter of a few hours.

Auburn University School of Nursing (AUSON), under the guidance of Dr. Constance Smith-Hendricks, was ready to meet this challenge head-on, and Kamuzu College of Nursing, under the leadership of Madam Address Malata, welcomed the idea of hosting a group of students that would also provide a new learning experience for her students.

So on September 7, Dr. Hendricks, Dana Blanchard, eight nursing students and I departed for what would be one of the greatest learning experiences any student could ever imagine.  Over the next 10 days, these students witnessed more need and poverty than one could think of.  They treated anywhere from 550 to 700 (hard to keep track of the exact number due to the large crowds) women, children and babies.  Their skills, knowledge and perseverance was challenged as the crowds lined up to wait for hours to see an American nurse, and yet they responded with professionalism and grace.

The AUSON students also experienced the challenges of being a college student in a developing nation by being partnered with a nursing student from KCN. The relationships formed between these student pairs was just another positive outcome in one of the most successful and educational trips that 100X has ever taken part in.  As the days of the trip continued to pass by, the students were able to experience clinical settings ranging from home-based care out in straw-roofed huts, to rural clinics in the middle of villages, a health care center, and even some time in a labor and delivery ward.

The eight student nurses who travelled to Malawi with me were truly impressive young ladies.  While their eyes were opened to an entire new setting of healthcare and a totally new definition of “need”, it was their souls that were touched by the people of Malawi.  They will without a doubt be some of the best-prepared nursing graduates, but even more so, they will be part of forever changing the health care system in a country that so desperately needs a positive change.

Nursing care comes in many forms.  Sometimes it is the ability to make someone feel physically comfortable by various means.  Other times it is the ability to improve the body’s ability to achieve or maintain health.  But often it is an uncanny yet well honed knack to see beyond the obvious and address, in some way, the deeper needs of the human soul. 

~Donna Wilk Cardillo, A Daybook for Beginning Nurses

Katie Sanderson, Program Director for Nursing Education


Buy a shirt = Feed & Educate Orphans in Malawi

Hot off the press!  We’ve received such great feedback on our new t-shirts, and we’re so excited about what we’ll be able to do with the proceeds.  All of the funds generated will go to our nutrition and education programs in Malawi.  Questions?  Email Info@100XDevelopment.com.

Buy a shirt = Feed & Educate Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Malawi.

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