A Volunteer Community Project in Malawi
|December 2021 Newsletter|
We have happily been fully reopened since our last newsletter in August. The lodge and projects have been lively and we are thankful to be back to work! We have organised barbecues and boat trips which contribute to the energetic atmosphere of the bar and have brought guests and locals together. We’ve seen some awesome musicians and DJs pass through Butterfly in the last few months, thanks to Stefan’s push for creating a space for musicians in Malawi to get together and perform; both local and from as far as Burkina Faso and UK! Thank you to Mutu Poetry, Neil Nayar, Ishan Cyapital, Overton Longwe, Fingerprint Band, Tonga Heritage Band, Gasper Nali, DJ Tino, DJ Amour for bringing the vibes and DJ Mayonnaise (Stefan) for organising everything! We are currently prepping for Christmas and New Years events to celebrate with all those lucky enough to spend their holidays with us in Nkhata Bay!
Coming soon… Butterfly open mic night! We hope to continue cultivating a creative space where artists can have their voices heard and their talents shared! Often artists will have to pay for stage time at other similar events, so this will create new opportunities for up and coming performers. These events will tie in with the weekly music workshops run by Stefan from the Media Room at Butterfly. If you are reading and are involved with music, we would love to hear from you!
We have continued to be busy throughout the year making improvements to Butterfly rooms and communal spaces, including sprucing up the bar area and reproofing the thatched roofs. The thatching is a difficult job, and since the introduction of tin, many people are loosing the skills necessary to thatch well. This year we took some extra time, bought extra grass from the village and involved the ladies living in the small houses close to Butterfly to bundle the grass (after a quick demonstration from our handyman Matais) in the hope that it will last several years.
After visiting some lodges in Malawi, we realised we were lacking lounging spaces (day beds!) so we decided to build a new seating area in the bar, sheltered from the sun and rain, where you can get comfortable and watch the world go by (or all the fishermen and fish eagles)! It was a tough job, since all the heavy bricks, sand and materials need to be carried down from the car park (those of you who have been know how steep it is!) but it was totally worth it and it is definitely the favoured spot in Butterfly now! We have also been working on our cocktails, improving the quality and taking the training to another level…so please give these a try when you visit! We use natural ingredients from the local market, including hibiscus, ginger and home made lemonade, so we like to think they are healthy too!
Our Youth Club showcased their creativity in making homemade paper snowflakes to decorate the Butterfly reception and transform it into a Malawian winter wonderland! We were able to reopen Youth Club in October with the help of Martha who helps provide them a safe and open place to play games, dance, draw and express themselves. Our two interns, Amanda and Sophie assist with fresh ideas for a variety of activities. We love hearing the playful laughs and shouts each week as they meet and make memories.
As we prep for the holiday celebrations, we take a step back to appreciate everyone past and present involved in Butterfly Space. We would not be where we are today without your continuous support and we wish you all the blessings this holiday season. We are grateful for each and every person that comes through to support Butterfly!
We would like to dedicate this newsletter in loving memory of Grace Mwale, a member of Uje Umampha (Be Well) HIV support programme.
MSPC Holiday Shop
2022 Calendar Sales
Thank you to all who have reached out to purchase a 2022 calendar! All funds raised through the sales will support a variety of our projects including a sewing machine for Pundu Disability Centre, new sport and craft supplies for Youth Club and equipment for the community recording studio. It’s not too late to purchase a calendar and dress up your walls with Butterfly next year!Prices:
Malawi : 10,000 Kwacha (A3)
UK : £12 (A4) Europe : £12 (A4)
Canada, US, Asia : £13 (A4)
Australia : £15 (A4)
The delivery fees are included and should arrive before Christmas! Payment options: PayPal, bank transfer, Airtel money or cash directly at Butterfly.
Click below and send us a message on Facebook, Instagram, or WhatsApp to order your calendar today!
For other ways to support our work in Nkhata Bay, check out the Wish List on our website which provides specific items that would be useful for each project.
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Friday & Mkana Cafe
In October, Friday arrived back to take over the restaurant at Butterfly. Since Bea left for South Africa earlier in the year, there was one person we had in mind to take over, so we were delighted to hear that it was a dream of Friday’s to have his own business at Butterfly Space! Friday has settled in well and is learning about management, accounts and readjusting to life in Malawi after over 4 years in South Africa. He invested in a lot of new equipment which he has brought from South Africa too. It has been so good to have his friendly welcoming smile back here, along with that of his and Marista’s beautiful son Stefano, who comes to hang out from time to time to keep us all entertained. We have been loving trying all his fabulous cakes which are as delicious as they are gorgeous . He is making cakes to order for special occasions, and will be setting up a take away service from the restaurant soon. His passion in the kitchen radiates and we are lucky to have him!
We are thrilled to announce that MSPC has won the “Youth in Permaculture” prize as part of the 2021 Lush Spring Prize in partnership with the Abundant Earth Foundation. We are honoured to celebrate our young learners that are making a positive difference using permaculture to heal the planet. Since winning the “Young Projects” award in 2018, also as part of the Lush Spring Prize, our program has grown immensely (now 28 schools) and we take great pride in all of the club’s participants. Being recognized at a higher level allows us to continue to make an impact in the lives of teachers, students, the community, and the environment.
Although the school curriculum is still running differently due to the closures for Covid-19, we have tried to normalise our session plans as they run related to the natural seasons. There was only a short two week holiday in July meaning we did not have the time to organise the usual two trainings and concentrated upon one thorough session. The teachers from the new schools were prioritised as well as a few schools with a lower number of permaculture patrons. The training was a great success, with Friday and Isaac commenting several times throughout the week how keen and involved the teachers were. From the start, they have made this program what it is today, and we are very proud to see their enthusiasm continue through each term.
MSPC is taking part in a pilot with Permaculture Impact (a new resource for permaculture projects). We are working through a process called ‘Revaluation’, which is a collaborative process for understanding and evidencing the value in a system (MSPC). It involves participants telling their own stories about permaculture clubs; why they are involved and what they see as the benefits. For the first stage Mr. Mwale, Francis and Sean visited Limphasse school and conducted in-depth discussions with the teachers. From this we are hoping to better understand the impact of our work and develop more efficient monitoring and evaluation systems. By clearly demonstrating the value in what we do on the ground to our supporters and funders, we will be able to improve our programme in the future.
Our annual Christmas shop fundraiser is now live on the Chuffed.org platform. Each year we provide the opportunity for generous contributors to purchase various items of the programme for schools. These items (starting at just £8) are essential for success on the ground and allow our teachers and students to focus on their projects. We also offer the opportunity to give monthly donations which assist in supporting students, staff and training. Donors will receive a beautiful card explaining the impact of their purchase for the schools. As always, all who share and donate are greatly appreciated by all of us at MSPC. Merry Shopping!
Our final year students took their exams in September and we are very proud to share everyone passed in standard 7 and are ready for selection to secondary school. As a reward for working so hard, we took them to Vwaza Marsh, a game reserve a few hours from Nkhata Bay. We were so lucky to see elephants, hippos, kudu, impala and baboons. Malawians do not often get a chance to travel and see the wonderful wildlife Malawi has to offer so it was great for our students to visit Vwaza on a trip of a lifetime!
We are in the process of expanding the Stepping Stones family beyond the primary school to include a nursery school and vocational center on-site to create a Learning Street. This will open up a wider variety of educational opportunities for those in the area. We are excited for our Learning Street and the additional children we will have the chance to empower. Learn how you can get involved with Stepping Stones here.
Nearly completed nursery school and kids reading over the weekend
The information and media rooms have been expanding their access to resources and materials with the hard work of Sean, Solomon, Stefan and Josie. The focus of the rooms has been to support an offline learning system that is accessible to all. We want to provide a place of learning and inspiration to the community’s youth, as well as to community leaders, business owners and any others who are interested in expanding their knowledge. Using the technology of Raspberry Pi we can offer open source, offline learning applications through Kolibri, a learning management system and educational content delivery platform. Programs such as Khan Academy, PhET Interactive Simulations, HP Life Courses, MIT Blossoms and several more are available for use and download, all without the need to purchase data.
Our long term goal of creating an information and contact database for the Nkhata Bay District is still in the works as we continue to accumulate and organize the data in a user-friendly way. The aim is to connect those in the region working in different areas of development and promote a flow of information and coordination so that we can achieve more together. The power of knowledge and information is unstoppable and we hope to continue our work in sharing it with all.
In other news, the recording studio has gotten some upgrades and Stefan, as DJ Mayonnaise, continues to hold workshops. We are now set up with a microphone and audio interface but can always benefit from an equipment boost – especially a mic stand and filter – check the Wish List for more info! Back in July, an EP was recorded at Butterfly by Ishan Cyapital and Martin Anjelz! Some local artists were also featured including Royal Star, King Fisher & Uncle Bob (drummers) and Michael Mountain. The Gulugufe EP is now out (Gulugufe means Butterfly in Chichewa), check out the title track here.
Our journey to establish one of Nkhata Bay’s first local radio station has been an ongoing process. We still require funding for equipment and installation costs to get the station fully up and running and we are always on the hunt for dedicated journalists and media volunteers to teach and train students in journalism and broadcasting. The students currently focus on other journalism goals, mainly in storytelling. They carry out interviews with those in the community to share their stories and bring them to life on a larger scale. The Bay Area Talent utilize the equipment at Kandoli FM to record and are eager to use the station as a platform to share their music and art. The radio station will make a paramount impact on the community, allowing news, updates and music to be spread in Tonga, Nkhata Bay’s local language, to people across the region, especially those in remote areas.Nursery SchoolsOur four nursery schools (Dindano, Jalowe, Mpamba, Ntchuka) continue to support a total of over 220 children. We have hosted Christmas parties at all the nurseries to distribute gifts and rekindle community passion for sending their little ones to school. Each child receives a reusable bag with shoes, clothes, pants, soap, a snack, book and pencil. We love seeing their faces light up with joy! A huge thank you to Dan Attenborough and the Kids’ Crusade Foundation who funded the Christmas gifts and year-round provide a bowl of nutritional porridge daily to all kids who attend school.A new nursery school at Stepping Stones is roof ready with many toys being delivered and will add to the on-site Learning Street which includes the primary school and a new vocational center. We hope to open in January with a maximum enrollment of 30 kids of which the sponsored children have already been selected.
Christmas visit to Dindano Nursery
Our Uje Umampha (Be Well) HIV support programme has been able to meet twice a week with a total of 23 members. We are thankful for the continual support by Matthew Areskog from the UK. Unfortunately all the chickens are gone so there is no longer an egg farm but the members are working to organize a maize farm, which is one of the most important crops in Malawi for food security. Herbert continues his outreach from the hospital with home visits and phone calls to ensure members are educated and taking their medications. We are proud to announce the members have opened a nursery school for the community which will support families in Jalowe and already has over 60 children attending. Volunteers are always needed to be able to support a new group of members and hold more workshops. Follow the link to learn how you can get involved!
Pundu Disability Centre
This new centre was established by the Pundu Disability Group of 43 members, some of which previously attended our other centre Mpamba. Due to finances, time and physical disability limitations, members from the Pundu area struggled to travel to Mpamba so they started their own group and met under a tree to offer support and advice to each other. The extreme weather conditions in Malawi led them to work together with friends and family to mold their own bricks and buy cement to build their own local centre, after being granted land by the chief of the village. They received some funding from volunteers who worked with Mpamba Disability Centre for the roofing materials and labour costs, but since 2019, there has been no further progress due to lack of funding and resources. The centre is currently unfinished, without doors, windows, flooring or equipment but the group still meets weekly. A portion of the 2022 Calendar Sales mentioned above will go towards helping Pundu Disability Centre reach its goal of becoming an interactive place for those with disabilities, enabling them access to support and quality education for income generating skills to become more independent.
Amanda is our newest addition to the team from Chicago, USA. After graduating from Indiana University with multiple business degrees, she decided to come out to Butterfly Space rather than start a traditional 9-5 corporate job. With her background in marketing and digital media she plans to grow our brand’s awareness to gain access to more volunteers and members of the community. She is excited to enjoy life on the lake while working on meaningful projects.
Sophie, from Switzerland, arrived in September and was our first on-site intern since Covid-19. She has a bachelor degree in international business management. After 4 years of hard work, she wanted to take a gap year to think about her future and what master degree will best suit her. Having an interest in community development, she wanted to do an internship in this field. Her background in business management allows her to have a general analysis point of view. She is therefore helping to assess the management of the projects, as well as the social media and website.
In addition, Luke, an experienced graphic designer that passed through Butterfly during his travels in June has come back to volunteer and help us with a variety of media tasks. Finally we have to give a shoutout to Jeremy and Leila who were with us for 6 weeks volunteering at Stepping Stones. Our volunteer crew keeps us motivated to continue our work with help across all projects! Follow the links to learn more about our internship and volunteer opportunities and find the perfect fit for you!
Sophie & Amanda attending a traditional Malawian engagement party
From all of us here at Butterfly Space – Thank you to all our project supporters and lodge guests. We hope this holiday season brings you peace, joy and love!❤️
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Our mailing address is:
PO Box 211
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