Ceremony for the donation of shoes

Children and their new shoes

Getting two boxes full of shoes in Nkhata Bay was easier than we thought. The appreciation for this gesture is such that Frighton organised a bit shoes ceremony. He even prepared a detailed programme for it! But first of all, the most important thing to a malawian: we need to eat…

Lunch at Frighton’s place

When we reach Frighton’s place he is busy cutting the wood needed in the kitchen to prepare the food. While we wait for the food to be ready we play a bit with Gift and our camera. We also have a really pleasant conversation with Donnah, Frighton’s sister in law. She offers us freshly picked mangos: delicious!

Lunch is read and today there is a full typical malawian dish on the menu: condowole (nsima made from cassava flour), usipa (the little fishes) and of course rice and chicken. This people went really all the way for us! It is really true: the less you have, the more generous you are….

Getting ready for the ceremony

Once our bellies are full, we can start with the core of the programme. However, the ‘stage’ has to be prepared first. So while all the children gather in their small shelter, others bring chairs and Frighton places some mats on the floor and washes them carefully. Now we can read and approve the programme.

Speeches, special skills, dramas, poems and dances.

We start with the speech of the teacher of the shelter. She explains the aim of this shelter. It is the same of that we worked in so many years ago. They want to keep the children off the street and teach them the importance of education.

One child shows us his special skill: he can make paper hats…. We all get one.

Then we listen to 3 different poems and watch some dramas. The main theme is the importance of education and the negative consequences of remaining ignorant. When adult you need to be able to stand on your feet and earn some money for you and your families.

As always the dances are the most entertaining part. The skills of these children are amazing. Before each dance they stress that dancing is just for fun. It is not good to go dance in pubs for money. Another hint to the ‘dangers’ of the current malawian society.

Some children draw our portraits too.

Distribution of shoes

Now that we have witnessed all the main activities of the shelter, we can start with the distribution of shoes. The children came to fit them already yesterday. As a consequence, everybody knows already who will get what. Nevertheless everyone is excited. The teacher distributes the shoes one by one. Each time a new smile appears on the children face. They all walk back dancing joyfully. Everyone wants to see their new shoes and even try them on. It is always amazing to see how much can be done with so little.

They even have a present for us: a small chess game in wood.

After such a long day under a burning hot sun we are exhausted. We are also really grateful to all those who made this possible. Unfortunately these photos cannot convey in full all the joy we have witnessed today…

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