June 19, 2022

Dear Friends of Bridges to Malawi,

I hope this crazy world hasn’t adversely affected any of you. I thought I’d share some good news with you about our nonprofit and its successes. We had a wonderful medical mission trip to Malawi in April, which included 6 high school seniors. So great to be back there after a COVID induced 2-year hiatus! Peter Minjale estimated, while we were there, that he had seen an 80% reduction in water borne diarrheal diseases (coming to his clinic or needing to be hospitalized) as a result of our chlorination efforts. We did 2 outreach clinics while there, seeing a total of 811 patients and saw NO patients (out of 411) with a diarrhea complaint at the first clinic, and only a handful (out of 400) in the second. This was an extraordinary contrast to prior clinics in these same areas at the same time of year where more than one third of the patients might have such a complaint.

Malaria rates at the first clinic were equally impressive, partially as a result of our Artemesia tea promotion efforts. Only 3% of the patients we tested were positive for malaria, while prior clinics in the same village at the same time of year had test positivity rates well over 50%. Much of this remarkable improvement is attributable to the joint WHO/Malawi government project providing insect repellant impregnated nets to every person, but we can take some credit too. Rates at the second clinic were disappointing at 30%, but net and artemisia availability was limited at this village, hence the difference.

As of this writing our dairy project cooperative herd has increased to 74 cows and milk production is increasing, with an average of 12 liters per day per cow. We’ve had 20 calves born and currently 15 cows are pregnant as a result of our artificial insemination with sex semen.

Our new beekeeping program has been so successful that our 42 beneficiaries in 8 villages are in the process of their 2nd harvest. The 1stharvest yielded 12 kg per farmer, providing each individual farmer with $60. If their yields remain stable and they harvest every 3 months, then each farmer should make $240 a year from honey alone, significantly improving their financial wellbeiing (the avg per capita annual income for Malawi in 2022 is estimated at $550).

Meanwhile Jenn Hardy, our IT guru, has hired a Malawian who can teach coding to the students who have benefited from our laptop donation. He will also be able to adapt the dashboard on the laptops so that they can provide access to all aspects of the school curriculum. He is a very welcome addition to our growing team of Malawian IT experts teaching in our beneficiary schools. Jenn plans to live in Malawi for 5-6 weeks in January with her husband Dow, so that the 2 can enhance their ongoing work on upgrading our donated solar systems and improving our laptop curriculum.

So, all in all, Bridges to Malawi has accomplished a tremendous amount as a result of your generous donations.

There is some bad news, however. The rains started late, ended early, and were lighter than usual, so Peter Minjale, who heads K2TASO, our Malawi NGO sister organization, estimates that there will be a famine in the Kasungu area (where we work). He believes it will begin towards the end of this month or in early July. He has asked us to give $10,000 to help purchase protein fortified corn meal (the main staple of Malawi) as well as soy flour to help thousands of people get through the dangerous next six months until they can plant and harvest again. This will stretch our budget to the extent that we will not be able to provide more farmers with beekeeping opportunities, plant more bamboo, or protect as many people by chlorinating their water UNLESS you help us. Please donate to help us meet this impending crisis before people begin to suffer from malnutrition and die. Any donation will help tremendously.

Thanks so much for your continued generosity!