From Mobility Worldwide IN-DeMotte:
Nkhotakota, Malawi — The road trip on this warm, sunny September day from our Bed & Breakfast in Selima to Nkhotaka was about 2-1/2 hours and began on narrow paved roads that soon changed into pitted, uneven, dusty clay roads. When we arrived at the Community Center operated by Robert Chilemba, we saw more than 200 people sitting under trees gathered to greet us; we smiled when we spotted the 6 newly assembled Mobility Carts. Introductions of village chiefs, church elders, and community workers were made, each standing when acknowledged. Then Wilson Tembo, our partner in Malawi, introduced Bob & Arla as representatives of Mobility Ministries, and Dick & Suzi Stephens and three board members of the Malawi Project. Along with a number of other individuals, Bob addressed the gathering, bringing greetings from our Shop in the US. He spoke of the Shop volunteers’ commitment and desire to serve Jesus as they built these Mobility Carts for people who needed them, and of our privilege to be in their community in Malawi as brothers and sisters in Christ.
After the speeches and prayers, several women sang and danced a praise song to God for our visit and our gifts. Then Robert announced names of the recipients who were to receive these carts and each recipient or a family member stepped forward to accept their gift.
One of the recipients, Josem Kabweza, is age 60 and pictured on page 1. He had been in a road accident last year. Josem’s right leg had to be amputated just below the knee and this made it impossible to continue his farming work in the fields. He walks on crutches.
He had been wondering what he could do with one leg missing, how he could support himself and his family. He wants to open up a small business to earn a living. The “nearby” trading center is about 3 km away, a distance which he feels he can handle because of this new cart. It was a thrill to see him learning how to pedal, turn, back up, and maneuver the cart across the uneven and rocky ground and through the people.
Another woman I spoke to, Jen Phiri, was there to receive a cart for her husband, Hassen Yusuf, who also was in a road accident 4 years ago at age 39. In 2015 he had an operation to strengthen his left leg—it was unsuccessful. After lying in the hospital for months, he was able to return home but felt completely useless because he could not walk. Jen is very hopeful that Hassan, now 43, will be motivated to try new things with this cart that will give him mobility.
It was valuable for us to see how carts are being distributed and experience the challenge of choosing the right person to be a recipient for this type of device. Back in Indiana, we talk about wanting to get the distributions “just right,” but then we remind ourselves that we need to step back and turn that matter over to the Lord; we need to remind ourselves that God knows which Cart needs to be given to each person. He will use each Cart to bless the life of that person, their family, and also their community! The message of God’s love will be the main message! This trip to Malawi reinforced this for Bob and I. — Arla Gabrielse