In Mgona construction of the Community Child Care Centre has reached an advanced stage with all that remains is roofing and plastering, flooring, doors and window frames to be fitted. The Mgona CCCC is very encouraging as we have seen a complete participation of all community members and it is amazing that whenever one goes for a site visit you are greeted by the smiles of chiefs, pastors, volunteers and community members who are ever present at the site. This is a community project, meaning more than just a place for people to meet. It is the picture of the future and a giant leap from the imprisonment of hopelessness. The centre goes up and with it are the dreams of those surrounding it. The songs sung as people work is evidence of this. With the 5 other centres that SC has built, this is one centre that has brought the most community participation and the community completely owning the program which is what Somebody Cares and Visionledd encourages all communities to portray. Here, in Mgona, the young and old are all over the building. If they are not helping it come up, they watch in the sidelines. But every day you see children, widows, men, volunteers, chiefs and pastors helping out by carrying a brick or just passing the sand.
The Deputy District Social Welfare Officer for Lilongwe visited SC centres and as he toured Mgona he even stopped taking notes. “May I just observe?” he asked smiling. After moments of visiting, dancing and observing what the widows and the entire community are doing, he asked a question, “How are you guys managing to do this? This is real transformation which government talks about and I think it is high time that government through the district started to invite SC ministries to high profile meeting so that you can share and others should follow the way as a model; your best practices are real and evident” he lamented with excitement. After the visit he commented that government was truly impressed with the centres and all that was being done. He commented that he had been from boarder to boarder all around Malawi but had never seen such centres as he was being shown.
Chiefs are very happy with the building and its progress in Mgona; chief Mwala said “This structure has changed the face of Mgona and the way people think about Mgona; most organizations have been coming to Mgona but they have never done what Somebody Cares Ministries has done for this community”. While some children who attend the early childhood learning center commented by saying; “We will have a good and better place to learn”. On the other hand the volunteers in their usual jovial and dancing mode had this to say; “People were laughing at us when we started but now we are like Kings in this community because of this structure, we are so thankful to Somebody Cares Ministries and all their partners, now we will be having our weekly meetings here in a good and clean place, there will be no congestion with the children and other groups as every group will have its corner”. The volunteers were also joined by the youth and the widows who were full of joy and excitement upon learning that the building will be finished by the end of 2010.
Meanwhile the toilets in Mgona have been dug and just waiting for the materials like slabs, cement, sand, roofing materials. Going around the community of Mgona the news on everyone’s mouth young and old is the upcoming of this CCCC in the area. Some of the community members interviewed had this to say; “ We are so thankful for this building because it will not only provide shelter for learning and gathering to several groups but has also provided employment opportunities to some of our brothers and sisters in the community; most of people who were just walking around the community are now kept busy at this building site work from 6am to 6pm and earning some money for them and their families; therefore such projects should continue to come to our community and we accept them with open hands”.
The Construction of the Mgona CCCC is moving at an alarming rate with the contractor challenging that he will be done with the project before the agreed time. It is also one area and project that has called and pulled together several groups in Mgona for one common purpose. Mgona is really a role model for development, community participation, unity and commitment as the entire community has buried their smaller differences for the common purposes which is to see their children, their people, and the entire community meet, gather and learn under a more spacious, clean and hygienic environment. Through this projects, conflicting chiefs have put away their differences and joined hands in order to see change come to the once sleeping giant (Mgona means sleeping), now a standing warrior.
Through this building there is such an expectation that it is contagious to all who go into the community. This was a community that eight years ago, was the hub is death. This building now speaks of future hope and the raising up of the champions. The children that will learn and be fed in this centre WILL NOT be enslaved to the mindsets of old. They have a picture of a better life. You may say, “Can a building bring all this?” but you would have to be in Mgona to see that it already has.