The Matumula Village Project

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The Matumula Village Project is a new mission project being undertaken by First Presbyterian Church.  Matumula is a village of about 3000 people in the African country of Malawi; one of the poorest countries in the world (98% poverty).   Malawi is among the world’s least developed countries.  The economy is heavily based in agriculture, with a largely rural population. Malawi is one of the smallest countries in Africa, however densely populated with almost 17 million people.

Two hundred members of Norman Chinkono’s family live in Matumula.  Norman and Josie Chinkono and their children are members of First Presbyterian Church.   Norman and Josie came from Malawi in 1999 to escape poverty, make a better life for themselves and have the ability to help support their very large families back in Africa.  Norman and Josie are the only members of their family who have left Malawi.  In the fall of 2016, a three-part blog was written detailing their move from Malawi to Indiana, their educational pursuits, the adoption of their niece, their faith and the financial support they provide for many family members in Malawi.  Read the complete blog post here.

Their story created an opportunity for mission.  There are many needs in this poor, rural village.  Many are immediate – food, clothing, school supplies.  The village has no electricity or running water.  There is a school with 8 classes (grades 1-8) with no electricity, blackboard, chairs or desks except for a few in the 8th grade class.  There is a water borehole at the school (1.5 miles from the village) that is shared with another village.  When the borehole runs dry, the villagers go to the river to wash and fetch water for cooking.

In April, a container ship is leaving for Malawi.  This is the cheapest way to get goods to the villagers in Malawi.  The FPC mission committee (Sue Jourdan (elder), Fran Andrews, Jennie Auble, Ann Green and Kristin Roe) voted to provide 4 large containers that we can fill with needed items in addition to paying $500 toward the shipping of the containers.  The cost of shipping is $145 per 45 gallon container.  The trip from the US to Malawi will take 3 ½ months so the goods should arrive in late July.  We actually sent 9 containers because of the generosity of our congregation!

Following are the needed items: dried beans (very much needed), cooking oil, rice, salt, sugar, tooth paste, tooth brushes, laundry detergent, body soap, shoes, pants, shirts, dresses, blouses, skirts, jackets, sweaters (no heavy coats), blankets, school supplies (paper, pencils, pens, scissors, tape, glue sticks, crayons, markers)

The collection of goods and shipping them to Malawi is meeting an immediate need but the goal of helping the villagers doesn’t stop there.  The mission committee will be working with Norman and Josie to find out sustainable ways to help the village in the future.

We are a very blessed church with a giving congregation with a heart for mission.  Please pray for that this new mission opportunity will be a blessing to the Matumula village people as well as the members of First Presbyterian Church.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact any member of the mission committee.  Thank you for your support!

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Some of Norman Chinkono’s family
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Josie with some of Norman’s extended family and other village children in 2015
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One of the considered better houses in Matumula Village in the Central district of Salima, Malawi, Central Africa
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One of Norman’s extended family members at her house.
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Norman’s family members. Third and fifth from the left to right in the back roll are Norman’s only sisters.
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Some members of Norman’s family
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Young boys stay at home most of the day due to lack of school supplies at the only school in Matumula village.
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Most villagers walk long distances both in hot and rainy seasons on bare feet.
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Frail blankets on drying line.
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One of the badly dilapidated houses still occupied by Matumula Villagers
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Matumula villagers go days without eating most of the year due to drought and bad rains.
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Thatched and mud houses that leak are common in Matumula village.
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Typical day in Matumula village during rainy season. Most villagers go cultivating in farms.
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Subsistence farming is the only source of income in Matumula village. One of Norman’s sister selling farm produce
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One of the typical homes in Matumula village.
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A child walking on bare feet.
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Teachers’ and other staff’s office of the only school (Kapila) in Matumula village.
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The only (Primary) elementary school in Matumula village.
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Inside one of the classrooms of the only primary school in Matumula village.
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Some pupils at Kapila school in Matumula village learn under trees due to shortage of classrooms. Some pupils at Kapila school in Matumula village learn under trees due to shortage of classrooms. Some pupils at Kapila school in Matumula village learn under trees due to shortage of classrooms.
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A villager fetching pumpkin leaves to prepare relish for her family’s lunch.
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Thatched and mud houses are typical in Matumula village.
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Norman and his nephew pose for a photo during one of Norman’s family visit to Matumula village in 2015.
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Marketplace in Matumula village. One of Chinkonos visit to Malawi in 2015 Victor standing by the SUV.
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The only borehole where Matumula and other surrounding villagers draw water from for drinking.