Inside the doors and windows of your own home should be a safe place. For many people in the world, it isn’t.
In Malawi most of the homes in the village are made of bricks that the villagers make themselves. They mold the clay like mud into brick shapes. Some bake those bricks in large dome like ovens. Others harden the bricks in the hot sun of Africa. The floors of these homes are also made of hardened mud. Since most sleep on the floor, the floors need to be recoated every few weeks. It’s done by hand in a process called “smearing.” Once coated with fresh mud, the floors can be swept to keep them clean until the process starts over again.
Then there is the roof. Most are made of thatch. The thatch is made from a tall grass that grows native in the bush and forest areas. Usually, the women will go to collect the grass. They cut and carry it on their head or back to the home where it will be piled up to a thickness of 8 to 12 inches. It takes a lot of thatch and a lot of trips.
All houses have door openings, most have at least one window. The best houses have wooden doors and windows, but not everyone has them. An old cloth draped over the opening can serve as a window or door covering. Sometimes, a door can be made of thatch too.
Now imagine this. The rains come heavy one day. The thatch roof cannot keep out the rain, so the water begins to pool up on the mud floor. It is not long before you are standing in water. Then comes evening, you have no other place to go, so you make your bed and lay yourself down on the mud floor in the water to sleep. By morning, everything you own is completely soaked.
Or imagine this. The rain continues, it comes almost every day during the rainy season. Now the clay bricks are also beginning to become soaked with water. They turn soft, into a play dough like texture. Once that happens, they can no longer stand the weight and the entire house comes crashing down with you inside. You are lucky to escape with your life.
Can you imagine this? Your cloth doors block the view, but they don’t keep animals or people out. As you sleep at night you must keep one eye open. You are watching for snakes, wild dogs, hyenas, or just curious goats who can come wandering in at any moment. You don’t ever get much sleep because you must also be on guard for someone with evil in mind. Someone who might enter the house to rob and steal or even to do you or your family harm.
For those in the western world, this is hard to imagine, but it is reality for so many in developing countries like Malawi. Yet, we praise God for so many generous sponsors, who are helping to make these situations a thing of the past. During 2020 we were able to put on tin roofs and even build proper houses for more than 50 families, and so far in 2021 that pace is only increasing!
Here is something we can all imagine. These improvements are life changing. From one recipient, “I never dreamed I would live in a house like this. Even me. God has surely heard my prayers and answered. I am praising Him today. I am thanking my sponsor. I do not have the words to express how grateful I am for what has been done to me.” She made these comments while on her knees giving thanks to God and her sponsor.
May God bless all of those who are making this possible. May He bless all those making such a real and tangible difference in the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in the world. It’s not too late to help. Visit our site at www.y-malawi.org to learn more.