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When it rains, we sleep while we stand

  • Malawi Trip (Photograph by Alisa Bernardo)
  • The Bermuda Overseas Mission group stand outside one of the houses they helped to build in the village of Magereta in Mulanje, Malawi.

More than 20 Bermudian students travelled to the village of Magereta in Malawi to build four homes for the needy.

The four families below were chosen by the local branch of Habitat for Humanity and the village council.

Elena Khumbanyiwa, 90, looks after her late granddaughter’s four children: Evince Wyson, 9, Daniel Wyson, 2, Lamess Kedson, 10, and Dalia Kedson, 6.

Their mother died in 2016 and the family relies on the support of older grandchildren who live close by.

They lived in a home that leaked heavily and the floor would be soaked when it rained. If it rained at night, they would “just stand until it stops”.

Agness Julius, 52, lost her husband last year and cares for her four children, Margaret, 17, Gift, 8, Bertha 5, and Alinafe, 14, and a grandson Andrea Diseti, who is 1˝.

She would wake up every day at 6.30am to clean her surroundings before heading to the garden to do farm work. In the afternoon, she would cook lunch for her family. They lived in a windowless house made of unburnt bricks and with a mud floor that flooded when it rained. The family depends on small-scale farming and piece work.

Malita Chimimba, 56, looks after six children: Patric Muniya, 17, Catherine Muniya, 14, George Vutula, 12, Hanet Vutula, 10, Francis Vutula, 10 and Brandina Misinde, 2. Her husband died last year and to earn a living, the family depends on small-scale farming and piecework. They lived in a house with a badly damaged roof that leaked heavily during rainy seasons.

Ulaliya Phwitiko, 70, cares for her late daughter’s four children: Ireen Stephano, 14, Davie Stephano, 15, Zalimba Misoya, 10, and Stephano Misoya, 9. The family relies on small-scale farming and her daughter, who lives close by. They lived in a small home made of unburnt bricks, mud floors, with no windows and a leaking roof that meant they would have to “sleep while standing” if it rained at night.