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September 15th 2015
Published: September 21st 2015
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Lilongwe, Salima, lake Malawi

It is very difficult to get to my blog by the end of the day. Our days are packed full of activity, time for a quick shower and then reflections and dinner. Before you know it, it is time for bed.

Tuesday, we left our hotel in route to The Salima District of Malawi. On the way, we stopped at a village to learn about the Community Based Organization (CBO). These self started, community run groups, look after the health and social welfare of several nearby (usually within 5-7 km) villages. With the help of the village chiefs , community volunteers, and the government, they monitor:

How many children are in school

Which households have orphans (vulnerable children)

TB and HIV status in households

And other things I can't remember.

Using this information, they work with the government and NGOs to provide interventions to assist the most needy in their villages. They also run village savings and loan, to provide seed capital for business, loans for home repairs and to encourage savings habits amongst villagers. Think basic credit union.

HFHM is one of the organizations working with the CBOs to improve the health and welfare of the most vulnerable in the community. When Habitat comes to the village, it is the CBO and the village Chiefs that assists in identifying the recipient families.

Our stop included a visit of a Habitat home in the village. Our first look at the type of housing Habitat provides in Malawi.

I love arriving at a new village. We are always greeted by joyous smiles, waves, song and dance. The welcome is warm and genuine. Traditional greetings, handshakes and pleasantries are always exchanged. The children clamor to get close to the Muzungu and really enjoy having their pictures taken. I have so many pictures and videos to share. I hope to upload some with the blog, but it has been difficult with our poor internet connection.

After arriving at Lake Malawi, we had an afternoon of R&R. We enjoyed lunch at the Livingstonia Hotel (from the Amazing Race), followed some time on the beach including a team volleyball game.

Our hotel is much more basic than our accommodations in Lilongwe. Power and Internet access are sporadic, as are air conditioning and hot water.

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