The Blanket Distribution Ceremony
Posted July 27, 2007
In early 2006 United Church of God ladies in the Pacific Northwest made 220 high quality blankets for the LifeNets Orphan Care Centre in Balaka, Malawi.
The blankets all had individual designs and were made for daily use by the orphans who especially need them during the colder season that comes in June and lasts until August. Our shipper lives in Toronto, Ontario and specializes in shipping to Africa. The blankets did get there, but the process is complex and there were some hitches (in Africa there there ALWAYS hitches). They arrived in Balaka after the cold season. We felt is was better to to wait to distribute them during the 2007 cold season when they were most needed.
For the summer of 2007 LifeNets sponsored three young adults to work at the Chizeni clinic that cares for the orphans. The blankets were distributed on June 20, 2007 while they were there. I'd like to share the eyewitness descriptions of Jennifer Myers and Phil Myers (no relation to one another) of the event. Lots of photos are included below.
From Jennifer Myers: Description of the Blanket Distribution Ceremony: This was quite the experience.
I had no idea what to expect or what I would experience, but the ceremony took me on a ride of different emotions. As we arrived, the ambulance was quickly surrounded by children eager to greet us. The muffled sound of singing became strong and clear as we exited the ambulance and we were immediately caught up in the welcoming song and dance expressing the excitement of the day. I was able to take a step back to take in the experience. I heard the beautiful voices of those singing. And though I was unable to understand the verses as they were in Chichewa, I knew it was a song to welcome us, a song of thanks. I watched as Phil and Aaron found themselves in a crowd of children all reaching their hands out to hopefully get that one hand shake and that smile from the foreign visitors. Dr. and Mrs. Chilopora were enthralled in conversation with those around them, possibly discussing the dayís events or just catching up. We shuffled to the chairs that were set up for us, all still trying to greet all of the people we could. The ceremony was ready to begin.
We took our seats. While looking out into the crowd of faces, we listened as
one by one, the leaders of the village stood up to welcome us and to thank those
who made the blankets and for us for our visit. Of course, Dr. Chilopora had to
explain to us what each one was saying as it was all in Chichewa. As I sat
there and listened, I couldnít help but be in awe that I was there in that very
moment, in Malawi, surrounded by beautiful children and wonderful leaders,
getting ready to pass out blankets that a group half way around the world made
for children they have never even met.
From Phil Myers Travel Blog (see his entire TravelBlog)
Today was the LifeNets Blanket Distribution Ceremony. There are two groups of orphans associated with the clinic. One group comes each Thursday to cook and learn, and is comprised of around 30 orphans and their caregivers. The other group is funded by LifeNets and doesnít visit the clinic each week. There are more orphans in this group.