The Matumula Village Project

screen-shot-2017-03-14-at-5-02-30-pmWe have an update on the Matumula Village project from Norman and Josie:

We thought it is imperative to update you on the above project.
On April 02, 2017 we delivered nine barrels to Ann Arbor, Michigan under the care of Zambezi Equipment and Cargo (ZEC) to be shipped to Malawi. At that time, we were told that the goods would be put in a cargo container and shipped to Malawi in two weeks after all other customers had brought in their goods for shipment. The original estimated arrival time of container in Malawi was August 22, 2017 if everything went as planned. Unfortunately, things did not go as planned. The goods remained in Michigan longer than expected because other customers brought in their goods later than two weeks. Therefore, the container was not full enough to leave Michigan for shipment. Consequently, the container stayed in Michigan almost two months.
On June 15th, 2017, we received a text from the company that the container was held at Virginia port by USA Department of Customs for inspection. This was a random inspection and has never happened to this company before. The USA Department of Customs does this random inspections to outgoing and incoming exports and imports respectively to ensure that wrong or illegal goods do not leave or enter the USA. Contracted private companies do these inspections and the shipping companies bear the inspection costs. The shipping companies transfer these costs to their customers.
After the inspection, nothing wrong was found and the container was released back to the port for shipment. That was on June 29, 2017. We were charged $90 for this inspection, which we paid.
On August 02, 2017, Norman called the company for an update of the shipment. We were told that the container would arrive in Beira, Mozambique (port of entry) in four weeks from that day. It would then take two weeks to arrive in Blantyre, Malawi, which is approximately by September 16th, 2017. Upon arrival in Blantyre, the container would then go through Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) to be cleared. Normally, goods exported to Malawi by charitable organization to another charitable organization are free of custom duty otherwise custom duty fee is levied for goods to be cleared. In our case, we will have to pay because we sent the goods in our names, which we will be able to pay because we had already budgeted for it.
Upon clearance, my mom (Josie’s)  and other two individuals will travel to Blantyre to pick up the nine barrels we sent and transport them to Matumula Village in Salima District (Central Region of Malawi) where the items will be distributed to the intended recipients. They will take pictures as promised for the church’s congregation to see. We approximate that this will be the end of September.
Finally, we thank you, the First Presbyterian Church of Noblesville, and the whole congregation again for the compassionate, kind, and righteous act towards the helpless, needy, underprivileged, and powerless people of Matumula Village, Salima, Malawi, Central Africa. Please keep on the good work of God.  Please feel free to contact us for any questions that you may have.  Norman and Josie Chinkono
Please read below for a scope of the story and connect to the blog posts that started us on this journey to help.

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 left for 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 large containers that we can fill with needed items in addition to paying $500 toward the shipping of the containers.   We actually sent 9 containers because of the generosity of our congregation!

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!

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