All 15 team members arrived safely in Malawi yesterday afternoon and were able to get some much needed rest after many long hours of travel.
Today we began with a brief team meeting and devotional time before heading to the Passion Center. Once there we were given a tour by Chris, a local missionary, who briefed us on the history and vision of the Passion Center. We learned that the orphanage is becoming more restricted by the local government. Neglect of child care has lead Malawian officials to begin closing down orphanages which is directly affecting children at the passion center. The biggest way that it is impacting children is the new requirements for children to be sent back to the village where care can be questionable. During the tour, we were taken to the local school. Currently 1,500 students attend this school, 200 of them are sponsored through the passion center. The conditions of this school are overwhelming. Several classes congregate outdoors because there isn't enough rooms. Class sizes range from 84-100 students and 1 book to every 20 students. And the teachers have been in 3 months because of lack of government funding. Perhaps the most astonishing condition was the lunch situation. Only the students a part of child sponsorship are provided meals along with their education. A local teacher and employee of the passion center named Ellen, shared her despair over watching 200 kids eat while 1,300 kids may not know where their next meal comes from. There's still so much to be accomplished here.
One way that they've made great strides is through the new Champion Center. This facility is set to launch on September 5th and will be the physical therapy center for children with disabilities. Along the dusty pathway our team was accompanied by many of the local children and able to meet the passion center staff.
We together with the passion center staff, trained and prepared for the activities and camp games that are going to be used throughout our time in the villages.