(This was an original group email to ELA’s sponsors, who are supporting Malawian children from ELA centre)
Hi dear sponsors, how are you?
I imagine that when you saw this mail, you sat down next to your warm fireplace or on a comfortable couch, with your phone or computer in your hands. You have a cup of delicious tea or a wonderful fragrant coffee nearby and with a smile on your face you are ready for African news and heartfelt Christmas and New Year wishes from your beloved children.
The cold winter air outside is currently chilling your villages and towns, but we are warmed by the strong sun and “refreshed” by the occasional night storm, because in Kenya we are already in a dry season. It will last until the end of March, but in Malawi a rainy season should start in January. So everything “weather-wise” happens in Kenya with a two-month weather lag of Malawi, except that the African winter sets in across the continent in July and lasts until the end of August. This year, the snow completely turned the south of the Republic of South Africa, and especially the entire country of Lesotho, completely white. I really miss winter and all the joys of winter and the snow, so enjoy them to the fullest and may the walks through the fairy-tale forests fill you up with grace, joy and inner peace.
My Malawian team is wonderful at what they do. Morning workshops for 50 children with learning difficulties and afternoon workshops of literacy, mathematics, English and Chichewa language were held regularly and daily, from January to the beginning of December. Then my team took a well-deserved one-month vacation to gather strength for new victories in 2023.
In December, large number of children go to their relatives in cities and neighboring villages to enjoy Christmas and the New Year together. The villagers (children, youth, women and a couple of men) spent couple of months feverishly preparing for dance competitions amongst different communities at the central and northern part of the lake (Karonga and Nkhata Bay districts). These competetions are usually held in nearby villages next to ELA’s Mazembe village. Churches take over the organization and it’s a really special treat to watch different dance moves and the incredibly beautiful harmonious singing of the performers. The competition takes place every year during the full moon week in December and the village chiefs take on the role of judges and choose the winners. They the well deserved winners drive along the shore of the lake in a rented truck and shout, sing and rejoice, so that everyone get to know the new dancing and singing champions.
Of course, December time is also filled with church ceremonies, which are colored with special traditional songs, dance performances by children, youth, single women, single men, married couples, etc. So December time is also a great time and place to meet potential life partners. The masses are more than 6 hours long, they have extra long 4-hour sermons, during which many people fall into a trance, as the pastors shout at the top of their lungs and drive away evil energies and try to give people hope that the next year will be better than the one that is finishing. Everyone wears the most beautiful dresses, the ladies wrap the most expensive cloths – chitenge around their hips,and the children wear the most beautiful pair of pants, shirts and shoes, which mothers keep all year for the festive season.
The days around Christmas and New Year are full of delicious food and in addition to the daily caught fresh fish, beans, corn and cassava polenta, they also kill goats, chickens and pigs. In addition to these, another “fly blessing” occurs. Billions of small fruit flies hatch from under the lake water in small air bubbles that float to the surface. A few days after hatching, they circle in huge swarms over the lake, which appear as if they were on fire, as these clouds are huge and pitch black. Then the they fly to the shore and nest on the leaves of the mango trees that grow along the shore. The villagers hunt them with sticks, to which they tie bags made of torn mosquito nets, and catch up to 40 kg. Then they are fried or baked in oil with sugar and a little wheat flour. Villagers call them keki (= cake). These are sold out very quickly at the market, as they are a really tasty specialty that carries a centuries-old tradition. At this time, all the mango trees also shrivel under heavy and large mango fruits, which bring a lot of joy, as children’s bellies are always full of delicious, sweet and healthy fruits throughout December and January.
Please enjoy in these videos recorded by your sponsored children:
Xmas wishes of your Malawian hearts;
“Our lovely Slovenian sponsors, we love you. Have a blessed Xmas and healthy new year, Bye bye”
Ela’s team (teacher Andrew, night watchman Kamanga, cook and kindergarten assistant Maggie, teacher Peter introduce themselves and wish you:
Bye bye until the next year:
Below I have attached pictures of your lovely children from the daily workshops at ELA’s center, in the 3rd school semester.
Thank you so much for being part of our big African family, we love you.
Thank you for your faithful and loving support, with which I can give hundreds of hearts a carefree childhood, a good education, the most necessary things for schooling plus a daily care and knowing that ELA’s team and you care about their well-being.