Saturday, 29 May 2010

Happy 4th birthday Tapiwa my Daughter

Tapiwa my daughter is turning 4 on Wednesday 2nd June, and praise the almighty lord for that. Remember her story, born at 7 months premature, weighing like a loaf of bread (<1 Kg) and in intensive care (neonatal ) unit for 3 months Tapiwa at Birth
Well see where she is today!!!!.Who said miracles don’t happen? And see her ; no wonder mum (middle in a hut) can afford to smile ! Does Tapiwa look like she is from Ezondweni,Mtwalo, Mzimba,Malawi?

Unfortunately I cannot be with her on that day; because I am on my way from London to Berlin, Germany to attend World Opthalmological congress Berlin World Congress of ophthalmology from 2nd -9th June. While there I intend to visit an old friend and classmate Martin Mkandawire, a resident of Dresden for many years and also catch up with Chihana , who is at the Malawi embassy in Berlin. Here in London everyone is asking me about the sentencing of the Malawian gay lovers to 14 years improvement with hard labour BBC news Malawian gays and I do not know what to say : expect that I am not gay.
Back to her birthday, obviously my daughter is upset that dad cannot be there on her special day which only happens once a year; and she has requested that her birthday party should therefore happen at the school with her friends. So imagine both mum and me will not be celebrating with her , a sign of growing up and being independent.
The problem with me is that it’s always work with blind persons, work and work; and always on the road. I will be giving two lecturers about blindness in Malawi; and the human resource crisis that we have at present. That is what being an eye doctor and researcher is all about.

Happy Birthday Tapiwa.

Would I have cancelled this trip for my daughter? Or done something different
What do you say?

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Sunday, 9 May 2010

Lions club of Perugia Italy and Lions of Limbe to help blind and visually impaired children in Phalombe, Malawi , thanks to VISION2020

In the days of so many scam and crooked emails, imagine someone you have not met in person or known before emails you and promises that they will give you USD 10,000 if you get back to them. Most of us including myself will disregard such an email or send it to trash and I almost did that a year ago; thank god I did not delete the email and this is why as I am blogging now USD 10,000 has been transferred to the Lions Club of Limbe in Malawi to help the blind and visually impaired children.
You see Lion Marco Terzetti of Perugia Lions club in Italy had by chance came across my blog site in December 2008 ; and was fascinated with articles on VISION2020 -the global initiative to fight blindness and what was being done in Malawi especially in regard to blind and visually impaired children .At that time I was blogging frequently about the project I was launching in Southern Malawi to help blind children ; and the challenges we were facing in Malawi .Honestly speaking I wasn’t blogging to ask for money from anyone .So when he emailed back with a few words saying “email me back to collect a cheque for your project in Malawi” I said to myself here we go with another of those Nigerian emails that claim that thousands of dollars have been left in bank in Abuja and that I should help the widow and get a 50% share ( and I do get a lot of these emails lately).
Putting my trust in God, I replied to Marco asking how this was going to be possible; after all what was his interest as he didn’t know me.
The rest is history (email me to get what followed after that); but I am proud to announce that through my blog site , the Lions Club of Limbe Malawi have benefited from Lions of Perugia ,Italy with a grant of USD10,000 to support a project in Phalombe dealing with blind and visually impaired children.
I came up with the idea that the project should take place in Phalombe. Lions Clubs Lions clubs have been a very strong supporting partner for VISION2020 ; and the first phase of their projects concentrated on infrastructure development –which for Malawi resulted in Lions club building 4 Lions eye hospitals and donating them to Government .I work at the biggest Lions Sight first eye hospital in Malawi , which is located at Queen Elizabeth in Blantyre .The second phase of Lions Project concentrated on supporting surgeries to reverse blindness from Trachoma ; and countries like Ethiopia have massively benefited from the Lions Fund.
Ironically the VISION2020 head offices are in London at the International Centre for Eye Health where I am based when I am in London. This should not come as a surprise that I am a strong advocate of VISION2020.
I am happy for now that through this VISION2020 initiative and the partnership with Lions club, the poor blind and severely visually impaired children from Phalombe, Malawi will be helped. Meanwhile I continue exploring other avenues of how to promote VISION2020 in Malawi. Sorry i forgot , I am a Lion member myself even though I am not in the picture with Lions of Limbe members.But you can see me among the children in my red polo t-shirt.Project is for 2010-2011; but you can come in after!!

Want to help ?
Any ideas ?

What do you say?

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Unrealistic expectations

Well, it’s a million dollar question!! How do you tell this young blind child that when he grows up he will not be a soldier or a doctor as he wants .At-least not in Malawi and not a child from this rural Phalombe area . You see my mission to Phalombe was to visit the blind and visually impaired children at Nazombe primary school , in Chirunga, Phalombe which is situated near the Malawi Mozambican border .I have found the 15 blind children ; all in school and with a lot of aspirations ; two in particular want to become come a doctor and a soldier respectively. They are both learning at the school in Braille .For medicine I suppose you can go a long way with Braille ; but there is a lot of skills needed that it would be impractical for a blind child in Malawi to continue with the course .for the military , there is a lot of hard exercises and heavy duty work ; which in my opinion a blind child cannot cope up with .But here I am as a mentor , trying to encourage these children not to quit school , so how do I tell them you will never be a doctor or soldier ; that would demolise the children .
I am aware that now we talk of inclusive education; where the environment is modified to suit the blind child’s needs.I have seen this in UK , mainly at one blind school that we visited in Scotland ; and a budget of millions of pounds is needed every year to support such children .Malawi is too poor, so policy makers would not push for the move to put billions of kwacha just for the education of the few blind children .Its a moral dilemma , and I am not sure which side to follow .
Well, the truth is that all children need a decent education(whether blind or not) and that at the moment only 20% of blind children are attending school .
Do you want to suggest what can be the solution?
What do you say?

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Monday, 3 May 2010

Volcano in Iceland

I was caught up in the European airline mess that happened a few weeks ago as a result of the volcano in Iceland .I could not proceed with my trip.

I happened to be affected by the volcano from 17th April -23rd April ; and I lost about USD 1000 as a result (ask me how privately!!!) . Well the volcano didnt happen in Malawi so I obviously wasnt there . I had initially planned to blog about it ; and finding myself being a victim of the air aviation industry , I could not afford to find time to blog anymore .I have after a few days finally reached my final destination ,trying to recover from the financial loss and once I settle , I will write a blog about how the volcano in Iceland affected me.
Were you also travelling during that time ? did you get affected ?

What do you say?
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