Newsletter November 2014

November 2014
By Josie Redmonds
Arriving back from Brazil into a full house of volunteers, I felt like a bit of a spectator for a while longer. I always play on it for a few days and pretend to be a traveller in my own place, but after a few days I’m back in the swing and things get instantly busy.

Unfortunately while I was away there had been a lot of items stolen from the internet and media room – disappointingly by one of the lecturers in our journalism workshop. We have a lot of proof against him and the case is awaiting trial at the moment. Hopefully things will go according to plan, and although we won’t get the equipment back we will be safe in the knowledge that at least he has been held accountable for his actions. We were very lucky regarding the equipment as we had a lot of media room volunteers out in the last few months, so I was asking for all the things we were missing. Some were donated and some we bought but it meant that within a couple of months we were able to get the media room running again.

We employed a new lady, Wezzie who was one of the students on the journalism course, and we are back to weekly films and ted talks.  A special thank you must go out to Angelica and Hans from the Petrus and Paulus campus Saint-Joseph, Ostend, Belgium, who returned with many media donations and students to introduce them to the work we are doing here.

Anyway despite this hectic return, it did as usual quieten down as the summer holidays ended. It tends to be a different crew that are around after the summer, more of a mixture. Hakon arrived from Norway, and for a while was our only volunteer. He kept himself busy though, helping out in the youth club and school as well as involving his passion of weightlifting to build us a weight set under the mango tree at the edge of the lake. If only I could get this set pumping water my dream would be complete. We did get the bicycle water pump loaned out to the prisoner garden crew in the hope of some feedback for Engineer’s Without borders. There are many teething problems though with that and no sustained time has been spent testing it, so we are going to meet to make a plan for the next stage. There is already some people working upon improvements so we will see the best way forward.
Geoff was back after the latest Lake of Stars festival, with his usual entourage of followers, and loads of equipment for the DJ ing recording room. He did a few lessons with the kids in the short time he had, and Harvey another young DJ also was helping him out. Geoff stayed for him to stay on another month so that he could get through more lessons and was recording some tracks with the most dedicated of the crew. He also has paid for Harvey, to stay on longer and carry on the lessons once he had departed and coming into mass he is still there…
Danny Kalima 
Another guy Ben, a photographer, also came up following the festival and linked up with a few of the journalists, and did some work on photojournalism and storytelling. He was also working with the students to match up a music video to their song.
All this has added significance as Mattias Stalneke, a Swedish guy who moved to Nkhata Bay a few years ago, has set up a record label to promote Malawian music.Called Spare Dog Records, its first release is Danny Kulima AKA Sirius, who has an amazing voice and beat. He is from Nkhata bay, and played a couple of his first shows here at Butterfly and hopefully with the support and backing from Matthias he can go a long way. Alice helped him out by filming his video in Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe.
Click on the image to watch Alice’s amazing filming skills and the awesome new single by Danny Kalima ‘Dusty City’
The debate held in reception 
We also had a couple of very cool link up through the media room; first of all Purple Field Productions brought their back pack cinema to Nkhata Bay, and we had a number of showings right out in the villages, at youth clubs and on the football pitches. The films they show are filmed in Malawi and offer different dramas and educational material, and the team from YONECO who were assisting the shows, always got a discussion going afterwards about the issues raised in the film and there are always some interesting, and sometimes quite scary reactions to some of the films.
Our second link was with Mzuzu Institute Journalism, who brought a group of students down for the day to take part in a debate, amongst other things. We invited youths from the area and they discussed’ whether poverty is a main contributing factor to environmental degradation’. Again there were some interesting viewpoints and some useful links made between our students here and the students from Mzuzu. We are hoping we can do this every year from now on.
What Else Have Our Volunteers Been Up To? 

Hazel carried on the new term at Little Leapers and with Alice managing her new hectic schedule in Mzuzu, both teaching and getting the previous Little Leapers to school there, we were relieved to welcome firstly Sammy and Gary and then Daniel at the start of September. Dan has transformed the new school year at Little Leapers and organised amazing lessons, the term syllabus as well as loads of recreational activities.The new teacher Maureen is really taking to her new job as well as learning things from Daniel, and although he has left at the moment he is planning on being back in the New Year to take off again were he left off. A massive weight off AJ’s mind, I’m sure.

JB also arrived with a fountain of knowledge, from computers to electrics, environmental techniques and masses of determination to get things done. He is really into his environmental things and has experience in many areas that has meant lots of progress.We have solar hot water to the kitchen now and have also developed a sand water filter system for the grey water coming from the kitchen. This has incorporated a grease trap, Malawians love their oil, and while there are still a few teething problems, the trick with all these system is maintenance and observation so it is a learning curve for everyone involved. A recent visit to Kusumala permaculture place in Lilongwe has given me more ideas and we eventually hope to demonstrate, and explain as many techniques as possible around Butterfly and in the information centre.

Volunteers Sebastian and Hugo also got involved in different aspects of the youth programmes here, from the disabled group to swimming lessons with the schools and youth club. Anna arrived a little later and has been working in depth with the Mpamba Vocational Centre, cycling there and back on her first few weeks here. A valiant effort for those who know how hot it is here at the moment.  As well she has helped with the Specials groups here at Butterfly and the massage ladies, who thanks to Alice’s mum, Gill, now have a new massage table to set up on the beach front here at Butterfly.  As usual Gill throws herself into everything while she is here and has been helping out both at Little Leapers and the prison sessions.

JB has also massively helped in The Information Room and we are finally organising the internet connection, setting up our own router system, and Geoff has been fundraising at Barclays to get us the cash needed to upgrade the speed. We are hoping now it will be sufficient for the kids to be researching but also uploading their finished work so that they get their talents out there. Both JB and Vitumbiku have been doing more computer lessons, in excel and work and the like and jb has also been helping us with the mammoth task of sorting our electrics.  Not an easy job I can tell you and he is going to take the opportunity in the new year to teach  a few individuals the basics of the trade so that they can improve the situation here long term in Nkhata bay.
And lastly… 

We also have an exciting addition to Butterfly in the New Year with two long term volunteers who are helping with our structure as we are getting busier and busier. Henna and Floris contacted us last year and came for an initial two week period to see if we were on the same page. They returned to Holland to pack in their jobs with the World Bank and in January will return so help us for a year. Exciting and I really think it will increase our potential to achieve more in the future and more importantly be sustainable going forward.Here’s to the next 3 months and we look forward to connecting with you again soon! If you would like to show your support to Butterfly Space, we gladly accept any donations with open arms! Or alternatively please spread the word of Butterfly Space by sharing our Newsletter below in the links.

“Hidden in our hearts is a longing to live deeply and with purpose and joy, to know and to be known, to be concerned with another; and to make a difference.  In this dance of giving and receiving, we create our community, our World and ourselves”