January 29, 2021

Unfortunately there has been a significant COVID 19 outbreak in Malawi since the end of 2020.  The total number of cases as of Jan 28, 2021 was 23,020 while the total number of deaths was 643.  Of the COVID cases, 16,437 have occurred since the beginning of January 2021, while 454 of the deaths occurred during that same period.  Our beloved colleague, Peter Minjale has been infected with COVID19, but, thank God, he appears to be recovering without getting seriously ill.  As soon as we heard about the worsening of the outbreak, we asked both Peter, now working exclusively for K2TASO and Tom Hunt, who runs Medic Malawi (which runs St. Andrews Hospital)  what we could do to help.  They requested funds to purchase more PPE as well as more technical advice on how to protect staff and prevent viral transmission.  We  consequently rushed $2500 US dollars as well as CDC recommendations to both.  Let’s hope this outbreak burns out soon! 

Bamboo: In the meantime, Peter tells me that almost all of the 6,000 bamboo plants we donated have survived after being planted in a number of villages. 

Reforestation: Peter also informs me that 90% of the 200,000 saplings donated by us for reforestation have been planted.

Dairy Project: He tells me that 21 of our 29 cow dairy herd are now pregnant (we lost a cow presumably to snakebite but are awaiting the official autopsy).  Our plans for the next stage of the dairy project are proceeding despite the pandemic.  We have just purchased a used motorbike so that the most distant farmers in our diary cooperative can transport milk to our processing center as quickly as possible, hopefully, thereby avoiding spoilage.   We will also be installing a milk refrigeration tank, milk pasteurizing system, yogurt maker, and solar power system to run all this and the rest of K2TASO headquarter needs in the next few months.  We could use $5,000 US dollars to this end if you wish to help us out. 

Wello Water Wheels:  Just before he got sick, Peter Minjale accomplished a miracle.  After 5 months of dogged determined negotiations with the Malawi Revenue Authority, Peter got them to waive any import duty (they had initially asked for about $12, 200 US dollars) on the Wellos, making it possible for us to dedicate these much needed  funds to other high priority projects such as COVID relief and the dairy project.