Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Memory and Maness at the Rotary Zone Institute held in Winnipeg

The Rotary Zone Institute was held in Winnipeg Sept 29 – Oct 1st.  David Stocks attended the full Institute and ‘manned’ the APU display in the House of Friendship and supported Memory and Maness throughout the institute.  Memory and Maness are seen above with World Rotary President John Germ and his wife Judy, and APU Director, Dean Rohrs.

There were 450+ participants, approximately 200 district governors past, present and future, the Rotary President, 2 Rotary Foundation trustees, and two Rotary directors including Dean.

The APU ladies were extremely well received and did a great job. There were several national/world prominent speakers talking about important causes but Memory and Maness were the real thing......Memory on the ground doing the real work and Maness a living example of the success. There were many standing ovations during the conference but their’s was the longest.

A huge thanks to Pat and Dean for making this possible.  Thanks also to David for making the trip to Winnipeg on such short notice and for doing such a wonderful job in supporting Memory and Maness.  Thanks Lance for your work on preparing the APU handouts for the House of Friendship.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Food for Work funding started

There is a food crisis in Malawi.  
In response to the plight of extremely hungry families, APU has developed a project that will provide work—the building of a needed access road at the school—that will help families buy food. Your donation will be used for wages, which will enable these families to buy enough maize to sustain their families during this time of crisis. A tax-deductible donation of just $50.00 CAD will provide an entire month of work for one person! If you can help, please visit

Friday, November 6, 2015

Fun and Games at the APU Sports Day

Where could you see a teacher grab the back of a bike seat with his teeth, raise the bike in the air and carry it the length of the dining hall and back?

and then if that isn’t astonishing enough, where could you find a student who could match this feat?

Answer: at the APU School Sports Day! This feat was one of the highlights of a day filled with some familiar events, like the limbo competition:

a tug-o-war

and the old favourite egg and spoon race.

And some races that emerge directly from the local culture like the bucket race

and the water bottle race

Others where you wonder exactly what they’re doing

until you look a little closer!

Or you catch them looking hungrily at the fresh scones

that they have to rip out of the plastic with their teeth – hands tied behind their back


But for all the excitement of all the events nothing beats the staff-student football game.

The staff team got all duded up and pulled in a few stringers.

The students looked confidently nonchalant about it all.

When the first goal was scored the entire student population streamed onto the field screaming and hugging everyone in sight!

and then just as quickly they danced their way back to the sidelines.

It was bedlam! It was a blast! What a day!

Oh and in case you’re wondering, the students won – 2-1. The teachers are already plotting a rematch. They take football really seriously here.

Friday, October 23, 2015

A poem by Leah Phiri

Leah, one of Lori Messer's library assistants, showed this to her one day. Lori liked it so much she asked her for a copy.

Work Towards Your Goals by Leah Phiri, APU student - Form 4

Your dreams are always yours
Fulfillments in your own hands
But if you want to live a regrettable life
Play now
Remember no one can tell you of what you want to become.

Your dreams are always with you
Just ask yourself how, when?
You can surely do it.
Do not be anxious of your dreams
But work towards them.

Your dreams are what you want to be in life.
If you dream without applying effort
Do not expect something to happen.
Remember there is no sweet without sweat
No harvest without planting

And so there are no achieved dreams without effort.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Meet the Grads

Ferister Kachingwe
Ferister graduated in 2014 and is pursuing a BSc in Horticulture at Bunda College. She is originally from Nsaru Trading Centre where APU is located. Looking forward to being "self-independent"' Ferister dreams of having her own business growing and selling fruits and vegetables and providing employment for other members of her community. She particularly liked the discipline of APU any felt protected and safe while at the school.

Fydes Bosten
Fydes Bosten graduated from APU in 2013. She is in her second year of a BSc in Horticulture. Fydes had ideas about improving crops when she was just a little girl but didn't think they were possible due to challenges in her life. When she came to APU she realized that not only were they possible but that she "had the strength and skills to accomplish her dreams". Patient and steady with a ready smile, Fydes is a natural mentor with the younger girls.

Ireen Harrison
Ireen Harrison graduated from APU in 2013. She is in her second year at Bunda College pursuing a BSc in Agriculture and specializing in seeding systems and crop production. Ireen eloquently describes how she has changed since she came to APU. "I didn't have a future before I can here," she said. "I thought I will marry, have a child, raise him and die. Now I speak English. When I have to speak in a group of people, I feel confident. I need to help those girls who don't know who they are in life. Ireen's dream is to have her own farm where she can apply her knowledge to run her own business and increase production by using more appropriate crops.

Racheal Banda
Racheal Banda graduated from APU in 2013. She is attending Bunda College in first year agriculture extension. Racheal attributes her confidence in speaking English and communicating and her ability to make decisions without relying on others to her years at APU. She is "especially looking forward to identifying and learning about the things that are impeding farmers from achieving maximum production". Her dream is self-employment; owning her own farm and employing others in a supportive working environment.

Dinna Mwale
Dinna is animated and lively with an easy-going manner. She graduated from APU in 2011. Since graduation she has attended teaching college. After a few months of practice teaching, she decided that teaching was not for her and is currently in first year Agriculture Extension at Bunda College. Her ultimate goal is to make a difference by "advising farmers on the upcoming technologies which will ultimately improve their lives".

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Library and Primary School at APU

Dinna Mwale assists Tama to find a book in the new Primary Library. The  library is located in a storeroom off the main library which also houses a growing Teachers Resource Library.

APU grads Dinna Mwale and Fydes Bosten have been volunteering in the library prior to beginning their next semester at Bunda College. In the past 3 weeks they have processed over 600 books! Dinna graduated in 2011 and is is in first year Agriculture Extension while Fydes graduated in 2013 and is in second year of Horticulture.

New at APU this year is the Student Library Assistants program. Ten students each volunteer one hour a week checking books in and out using the new card system, shelving books and doing other library tasks. Below Leah and Miracle stamp book pockets. In the background is librarian Mr. Vimango.

Library Assistants Alinafe and Wezzie keep the fiction section in good order.

Memory spends some quiet time trying out some new paints with a few of the primary children. The primary school is in the background.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Construction Update from Lori Messer in Malawi

South end of the building - which has the concrete poured and set. The supports look spindly but they are apparently really strong and can be reused.

Here are some of the workers:

This view is taken from the north end of the building looking south. A big load of supports arrived last week and they are busy constructing the cement forms for the rest of the building. Judging from how long it took to pour the first part, this will be a long process. They literally pour it from the cement mixer load by load.

Looking southwest.

Looking north east from classroom block 3.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Girls are Back

Eager to return to school
From Lori Messer, volunteering at APU

It was not long after the sun rose on Sunday, September 6th that the girls began to arrive and they were still coming as the red sun began to sink in the sky. A long, long day for APU staff. Almost every staff member was involved in some aspect of the process. 

Young men strapped bulging bags on their bicycles to assist the students coming by public transport, parking lot attendants directed traffic, and mothers balanced heavy suitcases on their heads down the pathways to the hostels. In the staff room everything was running like clockwork. Stations were set up around the room to accommodate every aspect of registration from fee payment to course selection. In another classroom, piles of fresh uniforms awaited first time students. APU is suddenly alive with excitement and promise.

As APU's reputation for excellence grows, demand far outstrips the number of available places. APU national exam results soar above the average for other secondary schools. Many graduating students are receiving college and university scholarships. The teaching staff is maturing into a strong team that is passionate about the APU mission. Memory's dream is not only successful, it is thriving!

Without the help of generous donors these girls would not have this opportunity to build a strong future. Thank you so much for your continuing support. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Letter from APU-MEF Board member Lori Messer, at APU

On Friday we went through the side gate of the school and into a different world. Memory and one of our sponsored girls visited the student's home in Nsaru Trading Centre. Unfortunately her mother was not at home but we did meet her 9 year old brother and 3 year old adopted cousin (the daughter of her mother's sister who died of AIDS last year). Her father died last year as well. He used to work as a gardener at APU and was well-respected. This was a second marriage for him and this wife is quite young. Unfortunately, after he died, she essentially abandoned the children and only returns periodically leaving the kids to fend for themselves. Their house is a typical one made of unbaked mud bricks and then plastered over to add strength as the sun dried bricks are not nearly as durable as the kiln-baked ones. It has an outdoor covered kitchen on the left and just inside the door is a pantry where food is stored; the containers looked pretty empty.

The living/sleeping room and two small bedrooms were too dark for me to take pictures. Out the back is a pit toilet.

After my last email I was asked to say more about the differences between the world of Nsaru Trading Center and the APU school. I described literally stepping through the gate from one world into another. The contrasts are extreme. At APU the students eat three meals a day; in the village a typical family would eat twice a day. They would get up at dawn (5 a.m.), in order to be out in the fields in the cool of the morning, and return home for a meal  round 10:30 a.m. when the sun becomes hot. They head back into the field late afternoon and work until dusk and eat their second meal after dark. Once the villagers have prepared and eaten their morning meal they would do their  hores, the women hauling water from quite a distance, laying their hand-washed laundry on the ground or on bushes to dry in the sun.

At APU the students also wash their clothes by hand but their water is close at hand. They too lay their clothes out on the grass or on the fences or on  lines.

In the poorest families, such as we visited, the children do not go to school. The youngest ones go to the fields on their mothers' backs. The small boys are often in charge of the goats and are sent out to find good
grazing. The girls go out in search of scarce firewood carrying huge bundles of it on their head. The women may take soy or maize to the local mill for grinding so that they can make nsima - their staple food.

APU students are fed a diet of nsima, rice, beans, fresh vegetables and fruits, fresh chicken & beef. Poor families seldom have access to meat. Of course there is no refrigeration and the meat we have seen for sale in
the markets is hanging in large pieces covered with flies. When a customer wants to purchase some they slice off a small piece. Some vendors pre-cook the meat. APU actually pays its field workers with maize. Many village men - especially the younger ones - seem to do little else than hang around the market. I gather alcohol is a problem for some and Henry protects those families by paying the workers with maize rather than money. He says many of them have no food in the house and what they earn in a day keeps their family from going hungry. Children without a family, like the one we visited, must forage for food on their own.

APU students sleep in beds with mattresses in buildings with electricity and plumbing. They have access to good potable water from the taps. The villagers sleep on the floor in rudimentary dwellings without power or
plumbing and draw their water from wells or rivers; the latter being muddy and mostly stagnant. It is a rarity to see a home with electricity or plumbing in any of the rural villages.

And lastly, although we have not observed a public school, it is my understanding that the discipline and rigour of APU classrooms, as well as the excellence of the teaching staff, is in sharp contrast to the village public schools where many of the classes are held outside under a tree, where classes are cancelled if it's pouring rain like it is today, and teacher attendance is sporadic.

That said, the school has had a profound positive effect on the village. More businesses have been started, more girls are attending school in hopes of being admitted here and the general local economy is quite improved.