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Sharing festive traditions helps make Christmas a time of hope...

For Loshas, a 53 year-old father of 6 from Mzimba district, Malawi, ‘Christmas means that Jesus was born to free us from our sins.’

To celebrate, ‘we eat food that makes us happy,’ he says. ‘Nice food, that we do not eat that often. We have tea with milk. Or tea with bread depending on how much one has.

However, ‘This year we had problems. The rain didn’t come.'

'When we fail to earn enough money for food, we are faced with hunger.’

'This is a big problem we face, that makes us pray for rain so the plants can do well. The plants suffer when there is no rain.' Loshas had a water pump, but it was no use. ‘'When there is no rain, the plants suffer, as the pump cannot pump water.'

‘I used to farm a small plot – because I was using the watering can, I was worried about planting on a large plot,’ he says. ‘Now, I can irrigate bananas, tomatoes and vegetables, which helps me a lot.’

But this Christmas, thanks to support received to buy a solar-powered water pump, he has a good feeling about the future.

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Image credits and information i
Mzimba district, Malawi, 2022: Loshas Munthali waters his garden with a hose. Credit: Malumbo Simwaka / Christian Aid
A black man, with an intensely concentrating facial expression, holds a hose to water his vegetable garden

'The training helped me learn the modern way of farming.'

As well as training, the Village Savings and Loan Scheme gives members a way to access small loans that can make a huge difference – like enabling Loshas to buy the solar water pump he needed.

Of the training he received from our local partner SOLDEV*, Loshas says, ‘You get good ideas from the local project workers in our community, unlike when you are on your own. I realised that they could share ideas with me about farming. The training by the project and Christian Aid helped me learn the modern way of farming.’

Loshas also received seeds to help him put his new approach into practice.

Seeds of growth

But, he adds, ‘It is not just farming, but also the Village Savings and Loan Scheme. I was not a member of the scheme but, through the project, I have been trained to join.’ As he explains:

‘I wanted to have a solar pump for irrigating my garden, so I borrowed some money from the Village Bank. Now that I have the pump, I see that things are moving on well. With the bananas, I started small. But I am expanding now because of the irrigation.’

Big plans

This turn for the better has filled Loshas with hope: ‘My plans are big: I plan to further expand the banana field. When it is bigger, it will start giving me bigger profits. If I start making more profits, I want to help others who are struggling in my community.

I thank Christian Aid for supporting the project because through them, we are assisted. Without them, we would have nothing.’

*Synod of Livingstonia Development Department

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