Cycle Malawi by Alison Freeland

cyclemalawi1Cycle Malawi, including Dave and I reached its destination at Mulanje Mission Hospital in South Malawi.  The cycle Malawi team of 30 riders from all professions in UK cycled 405 kilometres to deliver £70,000 raised collectively to the hospital, which relies on donations and grants to fund primary care programmes.

The hospital treats diseases like TB, malaria, HIV and Aids and cholera. It also delivers babies and those born too early. The hospital gets over half its funding from donations and grants, about a third from the Christian Health Association of Malawi, a fraction from the
government and patient fees.

The battle to save lives is up against a struggle to retain supplies of basic drugs, like insulin and intra-venous fluids. They regularly run out of supplies. Problems arise when power cuts ruin drugs that require refrigeration, drug suppliers shut down or inflation limits the value of the local currency. A “solar power” project is currently underway and will help to alleviate this problem.

We got an insight into the way of life of many Malawians and their resourcefulness and vulnerability due to dependence on the land. People passed with bikes laden with wood, goats, sugarcane, sacks and buckets of maize flour balanced on their heads. Poverty was visible at every turn. It brought back many emotional memories from  my childhood  fifty years ago.

Despite this, the warm welcome was breathtaking, and we were spurred on by the hundreds of children waving and smiling at the roadside, high-fiving as we went along!

We arrived at Mulanje Mission Hospital to the most tremendous welcome, with families and hospital staff dancing and singing in a carnival atmosphere. There was not a dry eye in the house.

The visit to the hospital was both humbling and uplifting and was satisfying to see where the funds were being used.

Dave and I would like to thank all those who have supported us and this wonderful project.

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