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Like to become part of TAFA or learn more of how you can make a difference? - email me - Barry - "touchandfeelafrica (at)"

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

your solutions to our problems seem to be negligible,
so we will have to find our own solutions!

Having electricity in Malawi is a never ending struggle and as you may appreciate, without electricity the country is truly doomed to continued poverty.

So TAFAians are stepping up to the plate. Guess we will have to solve the problems the "big" guys have done little to address.

We have put together a team of World Class TAFAian scientists and engineers, who will be assisted by our development and fiscal coordinators to create a working model of a battery array to power phones, computers and LED lights when the power is off. Sometimes the blackouts have been going on for days days.



Richard Mtambo - Lead engineer for development. After completing 1 1/2 years of Communications Engineering at Polytechnic/University of Malawi, Richard has learned both the knowledge and skills to design circuits, transformers and other aspects of this project. He charges his cell phone with a transformer he built. (see stories of Richard below in this site, from being a student 7 years ago at Nhkhata Bay Secondary, where we met, to his current studies at Polytechnic)

Chisomo Banda - Lead engineer for manufacturing and sourcing of components. Chisomo has been spending his last two years studying Electrical Development at Mzuzu Technical School. He has become an accomplished electrician and has used his acquired skills to pay a large part of his school fees. He is a master of practicality and making things work. (see stories of Chisomo below in this site, from his never ending and insistence that he be funded to Technical School, to his expertise in welding, being an electrician and the most practical "engineer" I have ever met)

Tusa Kanyika - Lead engineer for alternative energy integration. Tusa is the junior member of the team. A brilliant student through secondary school (see stories below on this website), he has just completed his first term at University studying Alternative Energy. We are looking forward to using his knowledge, skills and research abilities to create a project and equipment that leaves Mr. Musk and Tesla quite amazed. (see stories of Tusa below in this site, from his being chased from school because his Grandmum and sister had no money to support him, to being "head boy" and "class graduating president").

Gracious Mwandwanga - Lead coordinator and budget analysis. Gracious continues to use his extraordinary skills as a business entrepreneur and leader to see this project through to something useful and practical. (see stories of Gracious below in this site, from his insistent late night phone calls to be funded to school 7 years ago.. to his entreprenuerial brilliance and top academic achievement at GLECS Business School, and his leadership role in TAFA and associated organizations").

Jacco Mahone - Financial coordinator. Jacco will continue with his role in TAFA, overseeing the distribution of funds, that projects are linked to the proper and needed funding, and that money is properly spent. A task he has been so good at for 5 years. (see stories of Jacco below in this site, from his desire to go to business school and his willingness to oversee, co-ordinate, record and monitor, TAFA's funds over the last 5 years").


Richard is "home" for his Christmas holidays. He is visiting with his brother in Nkhata Bay (45 minutes from Mzuzu) until he goes to Chitipa to spend Christmas with his mother, the first time in over 2 years. He is planning to meet with Chisomo in the next coming days in Mzuzu and outline the project. Tusa will be meeting the group at their meeting, formally scheduled on the 23 December, to begin work and how to proceed. A follow up meeting is planned around 1st January, before everyone returns to University.

An update to the post below

Paul Read passed away shortly after our visit to visit him and Maggie, in Suffolk, England. We will truly miss you Paul


Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Happy 7th Birthday TAFA!!!

Almost 7 years ago, to the day, I left Malawi after putting one boy, Augustine in school. Never would have dreamed it would turn out like this :)

The challenges have changed over the years as everyone has "grown up" and I have become a little "grayer".

A big thank you to all you, the donors, the well wishers as they are called in Malawi, who have contributed throughout the years! And who continue to contribute to ensure we are supported until we have completed the "quest".


Perhaps TAFA would never exist,
if it were not for Paul and Maggie Read

Thomas, Paul, Maggie, me, Lisa
"in Suffolk, UK 1 week ago"

"Many" years ago, when I was 21 years old, and hitchhiking outside of London, Maggie Read and her business partner Chris stopped to "assist me". And assist me they did.

Maggie suggested rather than going to the hostel in London, that I accompany her home and the rest has been a long history of her and her husband Paul, selflessly "assisting me" in my trips to the UK, whether on business or to play.

Their son Thomas was 11 at the time. We just had the wonderful opportunity to stay with Tom and his wife Lisa and enjoy their son Beau and Daughter Jazz who have both just graduated from university.

I would like to dedicate this 7th Anniversary to the Reads, especially Maggie and Paul. You changed my life with your never ending friendship and willingness to show me a new part of the world. It is with your incredible hospitality over the years, that has become huge in my life, and which was born the desire to create and operate TAFA.

"It is the actions of others towards us, especially their caring and support which changes how we see the world"

Thank you!!! Much love and appreciation!

TAFIAN's at University and College...
we have gone from secondary school to University and beyond

Thanks to both Augustine and Austin Mlotha - "the twins"
"You both have motivated me since we met in 2011 at Nkhata Bay Secondary"

Augustine and Austin are a few of the TAFAians who have never received financial support from TAFA, yet they have remained part of our group through the years. They have completed their studies at Nkhata Bay Secondary and become exemplary students at University studying Economics and Agriculture.

Steve Harawa

Another TAFAian from the "old" days. With some assistance from TAFA, himself earning a scholarship, Steve has been able to complete nurses and midwife training. Steve excelled in his exams, but even so, with the lack of public funding, he was unable to find employment in a Malawian Hospital.

After working as a pharmacist for over 6 months, Steve decided to enroll in the army and become a nurse in an army hospital. I chatted with him this morning... he completes army training on the 24th November, a 2 week break at home with his Mum and family... then it is a posting at a still yet unknown hospital.

Your are greatly admired Steve, for all you have had to go through to reach your goals!


Lutenago Munthali

Lutengano, from the young man who would always show up at the rice plots to be sure things were going to go well... to now, your continued studies at the University of Malawi in Law. Huge obstacles have been overcome by your great faith, and some other challenges, such as supporting a wife and 2 children - since the days of the rice farm. You motivate us all!




Chisomo Banda

Chisomo, from the young man who would sit outside the Coffee Den for hours, while I worked, and you waited, and waited, so you might ask for some assistance to College. You have impressed me from the beginning when I said "no, TAFA cannot support any more students, especially to college". You showed persistence and belief beyond anyone I have ever met. It is showing so true in your success at Mzuzu Technical and in your study of Electronics.

TAFA may be assisting you these years, but the main fundraising to support yourself has been your focus on welding and then learning to be an electrician and going out and finding your own work.

You are to be truly congratulated on your extremely hard work, and the focus you take to have it REALLY happen!! And doing it mostly yourself!



Elia Mwakagile
"one of the only a very few students selected by me to become a TAFAian

I met Elia in Mbeya, Tanzania at the guesthouse where Jacco, Gracious and I stayed on my return to Malawi in 2015. Elia was the front desk clerk, attended to all our needs, and even as I found out later, was the cook for our evening meals.

I was so impressed with his demeanor and the attitude he had for helping us that after we arrived in Malawi, I suggested we go back and find Elia on our return trip and see if he would join TAFA. And assist us.

Assist us he did!!! Setting up and maintaining our post office box in Mbeya so we can send phones and other things to Malawi.

Thank you Elia, for all your help and complete honesty over the last years. TAFA is honoured to assist you a bit with your college funding....

And we have certainly enjoyed and marvelled at your voice in the choir!

And thank you for introducing us to Mpenzu who we also met working at the Guesthouse. Both your help with receiving and ensuring the phones and packages get to Malawi is ever so appreciated!!!



Mpenzu Onisphat
"part of the choir at the church, with Elia...
one of the most beautiful sounds I have ever heard"

So good to see you off studying music at college Mpenzu!! Truly, I have listened to you and your choir in Mbeya, and it was truly, truly beautiful and impressive. And TAFA thanks you for helping us with all our packages.

Tusalyfe Kanyika
"the TAFAian who thinks life is just a good competition!"

Glad University life is agreeing with you Tusa!


A big thank you! - Julia and Guy Borgen and Guri Randhawa for their contribution to Tusa's education fund

Monday, 25 September 2017 - Tusa has arrived at University, got his bed, and is going through orientation week

Malawi University of Science and Technology
Thyolo, Malawi

Tusa Kanyika
working towards a degree in
Sustainable Energy Systems

to learn more about Tusa, click here!

the dormitory

introduction to the school in the lecture hall

all the bags as everyone checks in


Saturday, 23 September 2017 - Gracious has been honoured for his marks at GLECS, Elia travelled from his home town of Mbeya to the border with a shipment of shoes for Gracious's business, Jacco is readying himself to meet Elia at the border with an order of pots for his business and a fun visit with Elia in Malawi.


Gracious receiving his Academic Achievement Award
At GLECS College of Business Sciences
awarded by Peter Mwanza
former Minister of Agriculture/MP Mzuzu
1st Principal of Chancellor College


Gracious and Thomas discussing
truck driving school for Thomas


Elia at the border with Gracious's cousin to
deliver shoe shipment

Shoes for AXE Shops (Gracious's business in Mzuzu)


Popcorn maker to purchased by Gracious to
help his mother's income in Karonga


Gracious leaving class at GLECS College


Thursday, 14 September 2017 - Ephraim is back with some more poetry:

My word

She pierced my anger deeply
Her provoking voice scratching my smile
Dawn turned to dusk then all was over
All was about racism
& gain about tribalism.
Her voice on peak of everything

I cry, maybe tomorrow will be of nepotism.
Proclaiming we are one 24/7
But all it's draft work on the paper
& nothing on actual ground.
We are one, let's unite please!

-Ephraim Matembo, Malawi



A message from Barry:


I have known Tusa since 2013, when one of the head teachers
called me to see if I could assist Tusa at Kunyanja Private Secondary School. He was being sent home, unable to pay his school fees.
He was an extremely good and bright student.
As as an orphan, living with his sister and grandmother,
they were having a hard time just living.

That is history, which you can read below.
TAFA has funded Tusa through his graduation,
as one of the top students at Kunyanja Private Secondary.

Now we need your help to get him enrolled at the
University of Malawi

If we work as a "team"
10 people at just $US 10/per month
4 people at just $US 25/month


I thank you all so much!

PLEASE email me at


I am looking for a "BIT" of help

My name is Tusa Kanyika

Your $25 per month can certainly


Tusa Kanyika

Top student at Kunyanja Private
(Nkhata Bay, Malawi)
Head Boy
Graduation Class President

to chat with me on whatsapp: +265 888 25 64 42

email Touch And Feel Africa:

please click here to learn more about TUSA
and his quest to attend
the University of Malawi


Wednesday, 16 August 2017


The results are out
Here are the grades:

Introduction to Business: A
Introduction to Business: Communication B
Introduction to Marketing: A
Introduction to Quantitative Methods: B

Certificate of Business Management
ABE Certification Exams (UK)
GLEC's School of Business Science, Mzuzu

The boy who called me night after night 7 years ago...
"Please help me with my school fees"

From school boy to entrepreneur with "heart"

It has been a great honour Gracious, to give you a bit of assistance,
and watch as you create your businesses
and volunteer your time and understanding
with other organizations
for the betterment of all


Monday, 14 August 2017


The results are out
Here are the grades:

Advanced Mathematics: Distinction
Fundamentals of Electronic Communication 3: Distinction
Radio Systems: Distinction
Communication Systems and Digital Networks: Merit

Communications Engineering
University of Malawi, Polytechnic, Blantyre

We are most proud of you Richard! Keep up the good work!!

With great thanks to CellFixx on Fraser Street, Vancouver !!!

We would really like to thank Shah at Cell Fixx for his continued support
unlocking phones to be shipped to Malawi
and now as a collection depot for phones we can distribute in Malawi

We would really like to thank Milo at Milo European Cars
for his continued support
Milo has contributed significant funding for many TAFAians
to attend School and University

And thank you to Guy and Julia Borgen!
I had lunch with Guy and Julia two weeks ago in Seattle.
It was a big "THANK YOU" for all their contributions
over the many years of TAFA since 2010.
Without them, TAFA would never have become what it is.

And Joe Reid who we met in the train station in Mbeya in 2010...
"THANK YOU" for your monthly contribution for Richard
Without you, his education and success would not have been possible



Latest news first. We are very very relieved that Richard Mtambo is safe and back at where he boards and classes at Polytechnic after being robbed at knifepoint; Tusa Kanyika is over his bout of malaria, that had concerned us all; Pido Kalipa, who is in South Africa informed my today he is at the hospital for broken ribs; and Gracious Mwandwanga is back in Mzuzu after going home to Karonga last week to provide 2 litres of blood for his sister Royce, afflicted with sickle cell.

I mention some of the additional challenges we are face with as we proceed with school courses and businesses.

Jacco Mhone is proceeding with his business of selling fashion clothing and household articles. He is busy fulfilling orders. You can see his website at:

Both Monica Nkhayange and Chisomo Banda are home for a weeks break from university and college, and Chisomo is looking for work to help with his class fees, which he is usually very successful at.

Elia Mwasile is home in Mbeya, Tanzania from University in Dar es Salaam. He is working with his "brothers" Jacco and Gracious to bring articles from Tanzania for sale in Malawi.

Richard Mtambo is continuing his studies of Engineering at Polytechnic and working on a plan to learn Mandarin and be able to continue his studies in China. Will keep everyone posted about this. In the robbery he was involved in, he lost his phone, computer dongle, ATM card and backpack, along with some other items. Should you want to help Richard with a few $$$ please let me know. It would be so greatly appreciated. Or if you have a phone around that you are no longer using, please let me know and I can get it to him as soon as possible.

Gracious Mwandwanga is working hard with his business selling drinks and expanding into other food items. It is planned that he will start classes to learn spreadsheets and business accounting provided by his previous head teacher Rusk Mkwapatira. Gracious is also working with different NGO groups to help advance "human rights" in Malawi. More on that soon.

Steve Harawa is gone off to army life. They have taken his phone and we have been out of communication for a while. He is working hard to become a nurse in an army hospital as placement through the government hospitals has been very difficult.

Tusa Kanyika is working hard to find "donors" or "well wishers" as they are called in Malawi, so he might find fees to he may attend the Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) which is in Thylolo, Blantyre. You may remember Tusa as the "star" student at Kunyanga Private, who excelled in his studies, was Head Boy and also Graduating Class President. If ever an orphaned boy lived in poverty, Tusa is one. Am going to do a campaign in the next week to find a number of donors to help him get to University. If we can get ten people at $20/month each we can do it. Please let me know if you are willing to help.

Lutengano Muthalli continues his studies of Law at the University of Malawi in Blantyre. So proud of you Lut... you are doing what I thought was "almost" impossible


Thursday, 4 May 2017 - Gracious's sister is home from the hospital after a near fatal episode with sickle cell; Kennedy excels in his marks, the second time through his Form 4; Jacco continues his long commute from Chitipa, where he is working, travelling to classes in Mzuzu to complete his ABE certification; Tusa excited about his university acceptance, but still working on scholarship applications for study abroad; Lutengano and his wife, truly excited by the birth of their second child while he studies law and the University of Malawi; Steve Harawa, just arrived yesterday at his new home in the village of Thyolo, now working as a nurse/midwife in the hospital there; Monica continues her studies at university, fine after her battle with a school snake; Richard has been doing extra practical studies at Polytechnic for his engineering courses, and Chisomo continues excelling in his studies at Mzuzu technical.

Gracious at GLECs Business College in Mzuzu

For Gracious it has been a tough number of months. His sister was hospitalized twice because of sickle cell, and there was great concern for her life. She is now home recovering. Gracious, working with Jacco, has been importing and selling "energy drinks" to help earn some money while he is going to college. He is also working on a number of other projects to help minorities and the disabled.

the "not so healthy" energy drink

Jacco continues his work as project manager for TAFA where he has just completed getting out all the "school fees" for the TAFAians. This takes a bit of coordination, and some checking up on school performance. Performance of the TAFAians has become a very small issue these days, as most of the students are in school at college or university, and have been the "achievers" over the past 6 years. The long commute to school in Mzuzu from Chitipa only shows how Jacco is focused on completing his ABE certification in business.

Kennedy, who is previous years, had issues performing in school and also some serious health issues has amazed us with his current performance, repeating his Form 4 and preparing to rewrite his MSCE. We are so proud how he has made this work.


Gracious and Tusa "at the beach" after
a meeting to see how Tusa might start his business

Tusa, the "star" secondary student, has been accepted to university. This is a great achievement, but also a situation that is not easy. There is no scholarship involved. Tusa, his sister and grandmother have been struggling with food issues and Tusa's work part time at Kunyanja does not provide enough income to support them. Tusa continues to work on his international scholarship applications. We are also working with him to see if we can get him making some extra money selling chitenjes (African wrappers) as they are known.

Lutengano and his wife just had their second child. Needless to say, they are both extremely happy. It makes things a bit more difficult for Lutengano, as he studies law in Blantyre and his wife is living in Nkhata Bay with relatives.

After graduating last year as a nurse/midwife, Steve did not find placement with any hospitals to begin work. The government of Malawi, with their ongoing financial issues, were not hiring any nurses for their hospitals. Steve was fortunate to be able to find a position working in a good pharmacy in Lilongwe. I think this has greatly expanded his education and knowledge of the pharmaceutical world and what treatments are used and also available in Malawi. Just a couple of days ago, Steve started his new position as a nurse/midwife in the village of Thyolo, near the Mozambique border. It is a small hospital and after I spoke with the director, I am sure that Steve will learn much and become fully knowledgeable about all aspects of treatment and healthcare. He will be involved in it all. Unfortunately, cell service/network is almost unavailable in the village, and he must walk to the top of the nearby hill to get cell service. Using whatsapp is going to be challenging along with his new duties.

Monica, as usual is excelling at her studies at university. She had an incident with a snake biting her at school and couple of weeks ago. She spent some time at the hospital for treatment and has now fully recovered. Another one of the "extra experiences" that Malawian students get to have, different from most university students in the world.

Richard continues to excel at his engineering studies at Polytechnic in Blantyre. He has been taking extra practical courses, both for the knowledge and credit it will give him, but also because he is really enjoying the more hands on applications of his engineering studies in communications.

And Mr Chisomo, who never ceases to amaze me. Truly achieving at Mzuzu technical, working so hard to earn a bit of extra money while studying, and living on next to nothing, is quite an achievement.

Isaac, who has been with TAFA from almost the very beginning, is also repeating his Form 4 and MSCE exams. We are wishing you well Isaac, I think you are going to master it all now.

Elia, our Tanzanian TAFAian, who administers our PO Box in Mbeya, enabling shipments of phones and other things, continues his studies at university in Dar es Salaam.

The students of TAFA continue to mature and accomplish so much, with so little. I am so proud of you all. To achieve in your circumstances in truly extraordinary. Keep up the good work!

And a big thank you to Max Mbise, my long time friend lving in Dar es Salaam, for helping my friend Brenda, founder of the One Person Project, to get her container of medical supplies released from the port in Dar and on its way to the hospital in Kahama, Tanzania. Helps to have honest, reliable friends who can go the "extra mile" to get things fixed and on there way. Thank you Maxie!!

Lutengano Munthali

More about this college, google: Mpemba staff development institute law program, Malawi.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017 - COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY CONTINUE FOR MORE TAFAIANS- Lutengano Muthali has moved in to his "boys quarters" and is attending classes at Mpenda - University of Malawi. Gracious (Axe) Mwandwanga has enrolled at GLEC's Business School to enhance his business skills. TAFAian Pido Kalipa called today from Kempton Park near Johannesburg today. He just arrived in South Africa, and is on his way to Mpumalanga in search of work. Wishing you well on your journey Pido! It's difficult and certainly a challenge.

Lutengano is currently studying diploma in law at Mpemba staff development institute situated in Blantyre. Mpemba is a constituent College of the University of Malawi, Chancellor College. Mpemba is the historical background of Law school in Malawi which was the center of law for white colonies before shifting to Chancellor College. This college still remains the college of law where all magistrates in Malawi attains their Law course and the barrister course. Mpemba is a para stator/ public company aim at sharpening government civil servants under the office of president and cabinet.



Gracious (Axe) Mwandwanga

Gracious one of the very first students at TAFA and "businessman extraordinare" is now in Mzuzu taking courses at GLEC's. What is a bit unusual in Gracious's situation is that he has been running a number of self-created businesses over the last few years since graduating from secondary school in Karonga. He has decided it is time to learn more about the successful creation and running of a business.


Thursday, 12 January 2017 - IT'S BACK TO CLASS ONCE AGAIN. TAFA is please to announce that Monica Nkhayange is back at LUANAR: Lilongwe University of Agriculture & Natural Resources; Richard Mtambo is back at Engineering School - Polytechnic/University of Malawi; Elias Mwakagile is back at Mwalimu Nyerere Memorial Academy, in Dar es Salaam, Chisomo Banda continues with his busy schedule of wiring houses before returning to Mzuzu Technical School. Other students such as Isaac Phiri and Kennedy Chirwa continue secondary school with the intent of rewriting their MSCE to improve their academic graduation standards.

And congratulations to Lutengano Munthali who enrolled this week at LUANAR in Blantyre to study law. Truly an exciting time as Lutengano had to find sponsorship on his own for fees and TAFA was able to help with room, board and some other living essentials. This has been over 4 years in the planning...

As TAFA moves forward in the year 2017, we are finding the TAFAians are "growing up", graduating from school and going out into the workplace looking for jobs and experience. This is a amazing task or better put, conquest in Malawi. It is TAFA's challenge and focus for the next 12 months to work on creating businesses and job opportunities for these students.


Truly a Celebration in TAFA History

Mr Jacco,
as he is known to all of us

Is celebrating his 28th Birthday!
11th January

Although significant,

it does not compare to the 5 year anniversary this week
of Jacco being the TAFA project manager!!

Thank you Jacco, for 5 years of flawless service to TAFA and all the TAFIANS out there. Not once, have we had to "search for money", wonder what when wrong, or worry about our funds and the distribution of it to all the students and schools. This is truly an accomplishment Jacco. And so very appreciated!! We are most proud of you! And all the help you have given us all.



Saturday, 24 December 2016 - T'is the night before Christmas...

And Jacco is off to Mbeya, Tanzania to collect the last three orders of phones, electronics and books that have been sent to the TAFA postoffice box. Thanks to Mpenzu who has taken over duties as our postal supervisor while Elia is off to university in Dar Es Salaam.

Yes, Chris Hadfield, the Canadian astronaut and Commander of the Internation Space Station, is now required reading for TAFAians.... :):) An inpsiring story for all who want to achieve through truly difficult situations. Perfect for Malawians!

Most everyone is home for Christmas. Richard Mtambo has left Polytechnic/University of Malawi to spend Christmas with his Uncle and family in southern Malawi. Chisomo Banda, finished his exams at Mzuzu Technical and then travelled to Kusungu to visit Alfred. He has been spending his time back in Mzuzu wiring houses for electricity before going home for Christmas and then back to school in March.

Gracious has been working on his Christmas sausage recipes, and still challenged with multiple days of no electricity. Mclove Kamba along with Gracious, Andrew and Lutengano have been working on a social assistance group. More to come in the new year about their project.

We are proud of proud of you Frankie! Frankie Mwali receiving his dipoloma in Pretoria 2 weeks ago. It has been a long and hard road for Frankie since he arrived from Malawi 5 years ago. Wonderful to see good things happening.

Monica is home for Christmas in Nkhata Bay with her Uncle Kanyanji. She has been attending LUANAR: Lilongwe University of Agriculture & Natural Resources and will be returning in January.


Monday, 17 October 2016 - So much happening....

Thanks for the picture Kondwani...

Richard Mtambo continues his Engineering studies at Polytechnic - University of Malawi,

Chisomo Banda, continues his Electrical Engineering studies at Mzuzu Technical, helped by his skill in welding,


Monica Nkhayange, has been selected and has currently arrived to begin agriculture studies at LUANAR: Lilongwe University of Agriculture & Natural Resources - combining her studies of Accounting and Agriculture,

Alfred Kamisa is working on taking Welders Training, TAFA is putting together a Computer Training School with


Rusk Mkwapatira, head teacher at GLECS - so that TAFAians and others can learn computer skills, Tusa, Chisomo, Winter and Ben to be the first students.

Tusa Kanyika has graduated from Kunyanja Private, receiving 12 points on his MSCE and the number one student at the school,

Steve Harawa, after graduating in nursing is working at a Pharmacy in Lilongwe,


Jacco Mhone continues as the "fearless leader of TAFA", is still managing the egg store in Chitipa and studying for his ABE business school exams in December.

A heartfelt hug for Gracious Mwandwanga and his family. His granny passed 3 days ago after an illness with TB. So very sorry Gracious.

Elia Mwakagile, our TAFAian from Mbeya, Tanzania, who has been looking after our shipments to Africa, is now in Dar Es Salaam, studying at the University, and Laston Banda, a TAFAian student from Nkhata Bay continues with his gardening career, also in Dar Es Salaam.


Mclove Kamba, has graduated from Livingstonia University, and Augustine Mlotha is writing his papers in Economics at the University of Malawi.

And yes, from the ancient past and the beginnings of TAFA, Augustine Nyirenda is working at 4 star lodge in South Africa as a specialty chef. A big congratulations to him and his success and how he has made it all happen when the challenges have been so great.

Isaac Phiri is back to school at St Augustine's, Kennedy is repeating his level 4 and Isaac Bichoza has graduated Form 4.

And thanks to Mpenzu, who has taken over the TAFA postoffice box in Mbeya, Tanzania, while Elia is attending University in Dar Es Saalam

Robson Theu, working on his singing and recording as well as a potato selling project with Gracious

Frankie off to computer school in Pretoria, thanks goes to Father Chris

Andrew Simuko, just graduated from Livingstonia University with Mclove Kamba, both majoring in Social Sciences/Human Rights. TAFA, Andrew, Mclove and Kondwani Gama are currently working on a Human Rights project, to be announced soon.


Wednesday, 10 August 2016 - Not a day goes by where I don't contemplate the "dance" and the "reflection of self" I have will all the TAFAians in Africa.



It's been a lot of struggle, hard work, dedication and believing in yourself
Thank you Jacco for making us all know that it is possible

I dedicate the following to Jacco and all the other TAFAians,
who have accomplished so much through the years

"Stand In The Light"

Stand in the light and be seen as we are

Didn't I tell you I hear what you say
Never look back as you're walking away
Carry the music the memories and keep them inside
You laugh everyday
Don't stop those tears from falling down

This is who I am inside
This is who I am I'm not gonna hide
Cause the greatest risk we'll ever take is by far
To stand in the light and be seen as we are
So stand in the light and be seen as we are

With courage and kindness hold on to your faith
You get what you give and it's never to late
To reach for the branch and climb up leaving sadness behind
You fight hard for love
We can never give enough

This is who I am inside
This is who I am I'm not gonna hide
Cause the greatest risk we'll ever take is by far
To stand in the light and be seen as we are
So stand in the light and be seen as we are

Riding the storms that come raging toward us we dive
Holding our breathe as we break through the surface
With arms open wide, with arms open wide

This is who I am inside
This is who I am I'm not gonna hide
Cause the greatest risk we'll ever take is by far
To stand in the light and be seen as we are
So stand in the light and be seen as we are

Cause the greatest risk we'll ever take is by far
To stand in the light and be seen as we are
So stand in the light and be seen as we are

So stand in the light and be seen as we are



Ephraim Andrew Matembo


Defeater of the justice
Creator of greedy third planet
Unquestioned authorities seen celebrating

Epicenter of enormous suffering
Pulling the nation anticlockwise
To drag citizens out of the reality
With fear, they watch

Killer of peace and love
That affects sprouted thrilling flags
And fatten greedy readers
Surely exposed by scandals

Ephraim, the writer

read more of Ephraims work
click here


Monday, 30 May 2016 - IT'S EXAM TIME, ALFRED GETS HIS BICYCLE, GRACIOUS EXPANDS HIS ACCOUNTS ALL THE WAY TO THE TANZANIA BORDER, MONICA GETS ACCEPTED AT UNIVERSITY, TUSA IS WORKING ON HIS SCHOLARSHIP, AND MUCH MORE!!. Things keep moving along. The Mlotha twins, Augustine and Austin are busy finishing their papers and getting ready for exams. I have been enjoying immensely, my conversations about "negative interest rates in the world economy" which Augustine is writing a paper on....

and we are finally getting a few "extra" rabbits

Thanks to Kondwan and Mr Gama the rabbits seem to be growing and multiplying. This rabbit raising has not been without challenges, but we are learning how to make it work

TAFA thanks Bela and Angus at the University of British Columbia (UBC) for their efforts to collect some phones to send off to the students in Malawi. We are currently getting them unlocked and they should be on their way shortly.

Victor Nyirongo

A BIG CONGRATULATIONS TO VICTOR NYIRONGO AND HIS CREATION OF YOUTH IMPACT! Victor and his friend Clement Alexander Mkandawire with two other friends have begun Youth Impact, funding 4 students to school.

This is truly amazing and wonderful. And certainly almost unbelievable work. These guys have little resources of their own, and to live can be challenging. Yet they can work together and raise money to fund students to school. So very well done!!


Steve Harawa at Graduation from St Johns Hospital School of Nursing

Congratulations to Steve Harawa! He has finished his nursing exams at St Johns, finished his government exams and had his graduation last Saturday. We are hoping he may have a position at Lukuni Hospital in Lilongwe.


Tusa, part clown, part headboy and part class president, part crazy

We are working with Sydney and Feston, the headmasters/founders of Kunyanja on a scholarship for Tusa. With perseverance and some focus we hope Tusa will be studying abroad after his graduation.

Congratulations to Monica. She just let me know that she has received a scholarship to attend University.


Richard Mtambo (left) feeling happy at Polytechnic in Blantyre

Richard Mtambo is writing exams at Polytechnic and should be home in 2 weeks. He is also helping me with the knee for Joe's leg (this endeavour seems like it is in the forever category, sorry Joe) We are planning to work with Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe to finish the leg. It is far easier for Joe then to get to the hospital as needed.


Alfred Kamisa just text me that he was able to by his bicycle today with a little help from TAFA. And he has already made some money for the day. Proud of you Alfred. We know with your sister almost dieing last month, your other sister with malaria, and your mother being extremely sick, it has been a very very difficult two months for you.


Aaron Mhone, good to hear you are doing well in Cape Town. It has taken a while to get there.

And we are working towards doing something about this, so very tragic.....

It is time to speak out about the endless crimes to LGBT people in Malawi
- TAFA is working on this, more to come

Tuesday, 29 March 2016 - IT'S BACK TO CLASS, AND THE END OF SCHOOL FOR OTHERS. TAFA is please to announce that Steve Harawa has completed nursing school, Tusa Kanyika, has been chosen as class president for his graduation class, Monica Nkhayange continues her studies in accounting at GLECS, Richard Mtambo is continuing his studies at University of Malawi, Polytech in Blantyre, Chisomo Banda will be returning to University in Mzuzu in Engineering, Jacco Mhone passed all his ABE Business exams, and Gracious Mwandwanga has more than doubled his sausage production in his business in Karonga.

TAFA is also happy to announce that we have successfully completed the shipment of 3 packages of lights, batteries, some phones, many DVDs and other items through our post office box in Mbeya, Tanzania, and with Elia's help delivered to Jacco in Chitipa, Malawi.

Seems TAFA has changed much over the last 12 months. A couple of years ago, it would have been just an "impossible" dream to believe there would be so many TAFAians in College and University. All I can say it has taken unbelievable persistence on everyone's part.

Steve Harawa has done well with his final exams in Nursing from St Johns Hospital in Mzuzu. He will be writing his Government Certification Exams in about a month. There is now 1 huge challenge... the Government of Malawi has not hired any new nurses in over a year. Financial challenges continue to beset the Government. Steve is working on seeing how he might use his nursing background in other fields.

Tusa Kanyika continues to make us all proud. In his graduating year at Kunyanja Private School, in Nkhata Bay. He continues to be one of the top students, is "Head Boy" and now going to fill the role of Class Graduating President. We wish Tusa well. Huge challenges are part of his life, and living with just your Grandmother and trying to provide the necessities of life is often even inconceivable for me.

Monica continues to be a top student at GLECS College of Business Sciences. Her exams fees have just been paid so she can advance in her career in accounting and follow her goal of using her accounting background in agriculture.

Richard, also nicknamed the "professor" while a student at Nkhata Bay Secondary School continues to make us proud at TAFA. As an engineering student at Polytech, he scored over 91% in his last math exam, and was the top performer in the exam. We wish him continued success in his studies.

Chisomo Banda, the "boy" who always amazes me! Not often does a student say to me, "Mr. Barry, I have earned enough to pay my school fees for University, I will only need a bit of pocket money". You are truly amazing Chisomo, and your extremely focused work welding and fabricating, as well as additional work has certainly paid off. We are looking forward to your continued success as you return to your Engineering classes.

"Mr" Jacco continues his journey and dedicated work both as a Manager selling eggs in Chitipa and working as the TAFA "Boss", ensuring school fees are paid and all the TAFA projects continue. And congratulations for doing so well on your ABE exams!

Last week, Elia Mwasile, a university student in Mbeya, Tanzania and the only Tanzanian TAFAian to date, travelled with all the shipments of lights, batteries, phones DVDs and other things to sell to meet Jacco at the Malawian border. Together they travelled to Chitipa, where Elia was able to enjoy and experience Malawian life for the first time and Jacco's great Malawian chicken suppers. TAFA was truly excited that we have been successful in our quest to be able to ship packages to Malawi and have them arrive at a much lower cost than DHL or Fedex. This has been a huge challenge and we truly thank Elia for his help.

Elia and Jacco

Gracious continues to expand his sausage business, with accounts now all the way to the Tanzanian boarder. He has gone from production of his sausages on a monthly basis, now to weekly production. More to come on his business shortly.



Jacob (Jacco "the Boss") Mhone

Jacco joined TAFA in 2012 as an "orphan student wanting to go to college". The impossible happened in 2013 when Jacco was able to enroll in GLECS College of Management Sciences to study business. Jacco excelled at his studies and last year was teaching business classes at GLECS. He became the "Project Manager" for TAFA over 2 years ago, and now he has taken on the position of "The TAFA Boss". Everything that TAFA does in Malawi is now monitored and maintained by Jacco. This includes school fees, monitoring students, dealing with health issues of students and their families, monitoring the student businesses, and keeping a watchful eye over everything - a huge undertaking.

Jacco also maintains the TAFA bank account, does the accounting and is responsible for the "TAFA Weekly Spender" which is compiled and sent to the TAFA office in Vancouver on a weekly basis, (if there is electricity and/or internet :))

Without Jacco's complete attention to everything and his unquestionable loyalty and honesty to TAFA and his TAFA brothers and sisters, TAFA would truly be at a loss.

So be sure, if you are one of the people, student, school, donor, or you are associated with TAFA, please be sure to THANK Jacco. He can be found on Facebook as "Jacco Slim Wacko"

with great thanks!

Students Helping Students



Angus Tse


Isabela (Bela) Corpus

THE UBC ROTARACT CLUB with members Angus and Isabela are working to collect used cell phones on the UBC campus. These phones are invaluable to TAFA and the students in Malawi. Without access to text communication through Facebook and Whatsapp, it is nearly impossible for TAFA to support students for their school funding or helping with startup businesses. We thank Angus and Bela so much for all the work they are doing to make this work.


Trisha Cherian

I am a first-year student who is currently studying at the University of British Columbia in the faculty of Arts. A major goal of mine is to develop my leadership skills and work ethic in order to become an entrepreneur. I am also very passionate about community service and helping with the improvement of certain lives in any way possible. This is one of the main reasons why I am contributing to the “Touch And Feel Africa” project; because I know that I am making some sort of impact on the lives of those who I am currently helping in Malawi (Richard Mtambo and Monica Nkhayange) and I receive a rewarding feeling from doing so. I definitely plan on continuing with my contribution to TAFA in the future.

Richard Mtambo is an Engineering Student at Polytechnic, Blantyre
Monica Nkhayange is an Accounting Student at GLECS College of Management Sciences, Mzuzu


I thought this was truly wonderful and so Malawian...
A flag of peace - not many countries and people of the world
see their flag in this way...

A three equal horizontal stripes flag
Flying with authority at angles of point
Special identity over the world
Shines with wonderful colours day and night

Epicenter of Nyasaland history
Sun,a new dawn of freedom
Black, predominantly black Malawians
Red, blood of heroes struggled for Independence Green,
indeed our evergreen homeland

Spitting unity and freedom showers
Of bringing peace and love among citizens
That never covered like air O flag of peace!

Ephraim Matembo
- a new TAFAian, currently residing in Karonga



Thursday, 21 January 2016 - So very happy to announce that Monica Nkhayange will be attending GLECS College of Business Sciences in Mzuzu, beginning on Monday.

Monica Nkhayange

Monica as been a TAFAian for the last few years and consistently one of the top students at Bandawe Girls School. We are proud of you Monica! I am looking forward to you keeping TAFA's books after you graduate in accounting. TAFA would also like to thank Sri for his continued support of Monica and her schooling over the last years.

Saturday, 2 January 2016 - TAFA is entering the new year with some wonderful events coming up.

  • Steve Harawa, will be graduating from St John's after more than 2 years in Nurses Training. He just got his exam marks and continues to do very well.
  • Tusa Kanyika, continues to do well at Kunyanja Private and as HeadBoy, will be graduating this year.
  • Jacco Mhone, TAFA Project Manager, finished his business schooling at GLEC's and is managing a store in Chitipa, while still running TAFA affairs.
  • Chisomo Banda excelled at college in his term at Engineering School, scoring over 90% in the practical.
  • Richard Mtambo is preparing to enter University at PolyTech and also take engineering.
  • The rabbits continue to get pregnant.
  • Gracious Mwandsanga not only finished the courses he was taking in Lilongwe, but has now got his sausage business licensed.
  • Isaac Bichoza is returning to Bandawe.
  • I am continuing to work on education related projects with the African students at UBC. This project may I hope, become truly one of my lifetime achievements. Can't say more right now until we finalize a few more things.
  • Working hard right now with the other TAFA students to get them enrolled in the January term. More about these students as they get registered and confirmed at school.



To create, operate and maintain small businesses, funding school and college fees and creating an environment where students can learn business and have an income both while attending school and after they graduate.



  • Rice plots in the Nkhata Bay area
  • Maize and soybeans in the Karonga area
  • Used telephone sales/computer accessories, Northern and Central Malawi
  • Rabbit farms in the Nkhata Bay area
  • Sausage production business in Karonga
  • Food vendor cart in Karonga
  • Leg prosthesis and knee replacement, a project with D-Rev in California,
    the Rotary Club and
    Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Blantyre
  • Used clothing business in Nkhata Bay/Mzuzu
  • * “Chased House” a refuge house for LGBT youth who are homeless
    in the Lilongwe area
  • * In conjunction with “Chased House”, a home for those without legs,
    begging in the streets
  • * Painting/Closet accessories business, Lilongwe
  • * Shoe Store/repair facility in partnership with Roy’s Shoes (Kelowna)
    and the Rotary Club
  • * Supocho Computer & Learning Centre, on going restructuring for Internet Access & Classes


  • *businesses in the planning stages as of 18 November 2015



TAFA is currently partnered with GLECS College of Management Sciences in Mzuzu, Malawi.  In exchange for computers and other equipment, GLECS along with TAFA are providing scholarship funding for business students.  GLECS also provides business analysis and business plan development to help many of our projects.


Thursday, 19 November 2015

I am truly excited to be attending the African Business Forum at the University of British Columbia, Friday evening thru Sunday afternoon. Hoping to learn much, appreciate how others see creating and operating businesses in Africa, and meeting some truly wonderful people. And sharing some ideas.


Friday 23 August 2015 - Tuesday 6 October - I am back at home. Some students back at school, rabbits being rabbits, some students selling clothes,


A huge problem in Malawi - corruption at all levels
making everything you do risky and tedious

I have experienced waiting in a court room for a judge to arrive,
over 2 hours late, witnesses and doctors waiting to give testimony
and the judge does not even apologize. Truly a lost country.

Steve Harawa in his operating room scrubs.... graduating at the end of this term!
so proud of you Steve, it's not been easy and you have overcome all the challenges.

My great friend and host, Max Mbise at their home in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Thanks to you I had a great place to stay and was looked after so well.


Max's daughter at their home in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Max's son at their home in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Escaping the broken down bus, on my travels from Mbeya to Dar es Salaam. As I wrote that day in my texts...
"Such a day, 18 hours.... The bus broke down. Had to ride in the back of a truck, then private car, then in dala dala. At the end, on a motorcycle.
Was like the amazing race.
Am so so tired, but safe and crawling into bed at Maxies"


There was no repair for the bus, as the coolant and oil ran down the highway
from the bus. Seemed like the last trip and journey on way back to South Africa...

Our truly excellent home in Mbeya, Tanzania! In both directions. The Moravian Church is most interesting... the first "Protestant" Church in the world, having accomplished that about 50 years before Martin Luther.

Gracious, as we check out the interesting "3 wheeler trucks" in Mbeya, Tanzania.
If I had a bit of cash, I would have bought one and had Gracious take it back to Malawi. I think it would be a great revenue maker.

Innovation from India....

and more innovation from India

The clothes washing tub, excellent place to spend your hot days in Karonga

Gracious and his mother, holding a tribal village plan from the Musqueam First Nations near Vancouver, Canada

Gracious, after climbing to the top after another big challenge....

Gracious, the unstoppable businessman


Kids play in Lake Malawi off the beach
in Karonga


Chrispin Gogoda, visiting London while working on his Masters degree
in the UK


Love Gogoda and Madalitso, waiting for dad to return from the UK


Chisomo Banda, TAFA engineering student in Mzuzu.
Accomplishing the "impossible".....


Sydney Simumba, the head teacher and one of the founders of Kunyanja Private
Secondary School, in Nkhata Bay. Amazing Sydney... you have all the computers
donated to the school on my trip in 2011. They are all working and the students of
Kunyanja continue their computer training.


Chisomo and the kids at Mkondezi on the brick pile


The completed TAFA rabbit house at the Gama's at Mkondezi Village


Mr Barry working hard, while his boss Kondwani Gama looks on


Kondwani Gama working on the TAFA rabbit house at Lutengano's
at Mkondezi Village

Kondwani, the great brick layer


Home never looked so good for these rabbits


Mary Nyirenda, TAFA "Mum" and head teacher at Mkondezi Primary School.
Without Mary... TAFA would likely have not been "born"
and without her dedicated work, administering school fees,
and working with the students, many would never have gone to school,
or graduated as they have to date. Thank you Mary!


Winter, an aspiring TAFAian, hoping to get his school fees.
His dream is to become a doctor and I truly believe he can do it.
Unfortunately, TAFA did not have enough money to help him this term.


Duncan, staying with Mary and attending Mkondezi Primary


TAFAian student Thomas - wanting to learn truck driving in Mzuzu

Stomach/ulcer medication we found in Tanzania which
has greatly helped some TAFA students

Kennedy, writing out his plans for school. He is also in need of
medical care for painful and chronic stomach and intestinal problems.


"Dr" Mwamlima who has been helping some of the TAFAians with their
medical needs.


A meeting with Mr Gama and the police when it was discovered
that some TAFA funds had gone missing.


Our next project: building crutches in Nkhata Bay to help those
with leg disabilities in Lilongwe and Blantyre

TAFA student Victor's mother Isabel, as head clinician for the HIV clinic at
Likuni Hospital, dispensing HIV drugs late into the evening.


Lukuni Hospital in Lilongwe. Home to Isabel Chimbiri
am my home while I was staying in Lilongwe


TAFA has begun the planning of a project to help those on the streets,
with crutches and limbs, furthering our project with D-Rev and their knees


We are working on getting Chimeme crutches....
and hopefully in the next year, a new leg so he can walk.


My great friend and host, Max Mbise at their home in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Thanks to you I had a great place to stay and was looked after so well.


Chimweme's hand, badly deformed from having to use just a pole
to be able to walk


Chimeme Mlambalika


Aniz, in Lilongwe, partner in our plan to help support LGBT youth,
who have been "chased" from their homes

A "chased" boy, too dangerous for him show his identity


A "chased" boy, too dangerous for him show his identity


Ishmael, on a plane to an LGBT conference,
always advocating and supporting those with the
challenges of Malawian "society attitudes"


Speed!! Malawians are a bit crazy about speed in their vehicles.
When I complained to the bus driver that 140 kph was was too fast....
he pulled over and told me to "get out!"
Needless to say, with the support of the other passengers on the bus,
we prevailed and the bus took a slightly slower journey to LIlongwe.


TAFAian Robson at his sister's house in Blantyre
They were our hosts for Joe and myself when we went to
Queen Elizabeth Hospital to begin construction of Joe's new leg.


TAFAian and graduate of Nkhata Bay Secondary
Robson Theu


A change from the village poverty in Malawi


A change from the village poverty in Malawi


A change from the village poverty in Malawi


Dr. Agnes Chimburi at her home in Lilongwe


Sitting at the Wildlife Sanctuary in Lilongwe


Pido Kalipa, TAFAian business graduate student in Lilongwe


Rodrick Banda and Robson Theu, patiently waiting as Joe's gets attention
at Queen Elizabeth Hospital for his new leg


Taking measurements and making a mold to construct a new leg for
Joe using the D-Rev knee


Joe's "old" leg


Joe Mandhlopa and Dr Robster Nyirenda at Queen Elizabeth Hospital


Working on the new leg at Queen Elizabeth Hospital


Joe being patient at Queen Elizabeth Hospital


Joe at Queen Elizabeth Hospital


Rotarian luncheon meeting in Lilongwe. As guests, Joe
and I made a presentation to partner for the supply of additional knees
from D-Rev for Queen Elizabeth Hospital

David Sichalli in Mzuzu, selecting clothes for his new TAFA sponsored business


Isaac Phiri with his TAFA supplied camera, so he may
enlarge his photo taking business


Saturday 1 August - Thursday 22 August 2015 - Arrived in Malawi, to some surprises at the border, learning the sausage business with Gracious in Karonga, off to Mzuzu and Nkhata Bay to my "Malawian home" with Mary Nyirenda at Mkondezi Village. Assessing the rice and maize projects, selling phones and flashdrives, off to visit Alfred (very likely the poorest boy I have ever seen in the world). Finding rabbits and building a rabbit farm, and even off to beautiful Chikale beach for an afternoon.

Christopher Mbale, teacher at Mkondezi School and his woodworking shop building school desks. Sorting out today why they school has not received its tools for school classes from CIDA (the Canadian Government) as a project through the University of Regina

Mary's new toilet seat and cover

Christopher Mbale doing the fine tuning on Mary's new toilet seat

Malawi, even riding a bike is a "big" challenge

Isaac Bichoza, TAFA student getting prepared to go back to boarding school in NkhotaKota

Lutengano, feeling good after the rabbit house is completed

Lutengano and Kondwani working on the rabbit house

Laying out the "rooms" in the rabbit house

Symon at the wonderful Chikale Beach at Nkhata Bay

"Downtown" Nkhata Bay, Malawi

The deep freeze for Gracious and his AXE Sausage Company and his juice and food cart, finally purchased and in place. The only problem was "no electricity". This has been an ongoing frustration as the power comes and goes, from day to day.

The "prep" counter for Gracious and his drinks and food

Gracious and I, feeling so good that we finally got the food and drink cart operational

Gracious and his family and some friends

Gracious and his mum

The cart and it's first coat of paint

Gracious buying the deep freeze in Karonga

Gracious ironing clothes, the "low tech" way with hot coals in the iron

The cart as it is built


The "beginnings" of the cart

Experimenting with juices, foods and sauces

Jacco and Alfred, when we visit Alfred and his family near Kasungu

Alfred's family home in Kasungu where we grew the 1.5 hectares of rice

Finding rabbits for our rabbit farm


Monica, a TAFA student at Bandawe Girl's School. One of the top students, graduated this year. Monica, like Alfred, is not just "Malawian poor" but truly has nothing. My visit with her and her uncle will never be forgotten

Testing the drinks and sausage/egg sandwiches for supper

The Axe Sausage and Juice company "testing facility" in Karonga



Tuesday 2 July 2015 - Friday 31 July 2015 - Arrived in Dar es Salaam, greeting by my friend Maxie and his wife - Jacco, the TAFA Project Manager joins us from Malawi - Jacco and I travel to Zanzibar to visit my friend Ali and his wife, exploring the amazing and beautiful island, then off to Mbeya, Tanzania to be met by Gracious, a graduate TAFA student who has started his sausage business in Karonga, Malawi. Then to Mzuzu, and "home" at Mkondezi Village near Nkhata Bay and our "TAFA Mum" Mary.


The skyline of "Dar", much changed from 5 years ago when I was last here. And home to some of the worst traffic jams I have experienced in the world.

A classic Dhow on our way from Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar

Once the Sultan's home in Zanzibar


Ali and his son Hussein in Zanzibar

Jacco celebrating the impressive beach and his first encounter with salt water

Almost at the equator....

Our supper at Ali's during Ramadan and eaten after sunset

It rained a bit...

Ali's wife and Hussein

The neighourhood after the rain

Poolside at the hotel Ali is a manger

a classic boat, just beyond the beach

The amazing dining experience at the beach in Stone Town, Zanzibar. Most incredible for me, totally unfathomable if you are from Malawi??

The "chef"s

Games in the doorway

Jacco relaxing in his room at Ali's

Cooking at the Guesthouse where Jacco, Gracious stayed while in Mbeya, Tanzania

The "Chinese" bus we travelled with from Dar to Mbeya

Gracious shopping for his blender in Mbeya, Tanzania

Jacco and Gracious pricing used clothing bundles from the Tanzanian wholesaler

Breakfast and a morning business meeting at the guesthouse

Gracious, getting ready to ride "round" the border, to get back home to Malawi

The home of Gracious, his mother, and two sisters in Karonga, Malawi

Drink experiments at Gracious's house in Karonga... they are sure great fruit smoothies. Orange, papaya, banana and now Gracious tells me with some pineapple. Test marketing to begin soon.

The neighbourhood around Gracious's home

Grinding the meat to make sausages. Probably the highest quality beef I have ever seen as sausage meat, right from the leg, with very little fat.

The beef arriving at the butchers...

The butchers where Gracious creates his sausages


Testing an "Axe Sausage & Egg Sandwich" and "Axe Fruit Smoothy" drink for supper

Mary and Symon, on our visit to the Zayed Solar School in Chinthetche, Malawi

The classroom at the solar school, founded by Gail Swithenbank

The solar battery supply at the school

The first get together of the "senior" TAFAians to discuss future plans or TAFA held on Sunday, 26 July. We talked about TAFAian ideals and how we might create and move forward on the projects.

Mary and her students at Mkondezi Primary creating the school garden garden

MacDonald at the new computers TAFA helped find for GLEC's Business School in Mzuzu

Mary and Enna carrying water to her home at Mkondezi. Yes, no running water or electricity.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015 - With grateful thanks to the SAGE Foundation, in partnering for this Saturday's event:

Africando Livre et Art Soiree

SAGE Foundation
Africando Livre et Art Soiree
May 23, 2015


2pm-2:30pm (30 min)            
Registration - Meet and Greet

2:30pm-2:45pm (15 min)                   
Welcome and Introduction SAGE Foundation - Deidré Heim
Welcome and Introduction Bill Reid Gallery - Sharon

                              Awards and Presentations

2:45pm-3:00pm (15 min)                   
S.S. Segran - Author, Aegis Rising / Aegis Incursions

3:00pm-3:15pm (15 min)                   
Yared Nigussu – Paint Artist

3:15pm-3:30pm (15 min)                   
Marika Siewert - Pop/Gospel Music Artist

3:30pm-4:00pm (30 min)                   
Tecla Tawonezvi - Author, Diary of My Pilgrimage of Faith

4:00pm-4:10pm (10 min)                   
Jabulile Maju Dladla Niemann – Gospel/Soul Music Artist

4:10pm-4:30pm (20 min)                   
Barry Thorsness - Touch And Feel Africa (TAFA)
4:30pm-4:50pm (20 min)                   
Sarah K – RnB/Soul Music Artist

4:50pm-5:00pm (10 min)                   
Closing Address - Honoré Gbedze
Final Remarks / Song

5:00pm-6:00pm (1 hour)                   
Book, Music, Art Signing, Sales, Donations, Refreshments, Gallery Tour, Mix and Mingle

Wednesday, 1 April 2015 - Gracious... so proud of you! Gracious has been working to create and operate his sausage business, since his graduation from Secondary School in June - with extraordinary perseverance.... Jacco, TAFA's project manager along with Mr Gama, who is looking after our rice plots, and Alfred who is running the maize project are all happy to announce the rain, the sunshine and all their hard work has resulted in some very good crops. Mary Nyirenda, our TAFA "MUM" is home from the hospital after being hospitalized for malaria and the students are finished exams and home for Easter Holidays.

When Gracious kept phoning me in the middle of the night 4 years ago, and insisting I should help him with school fees, I would have never dreamed where this would go. He has had 4 years of great challenges with his living and family situations and has managed not only to graduate but begin a business that is actually processing and selling orders. TAFA is partnering with Gracious in his endeavour. The first step was to ask Rusk, the head teacher at GLEC's Business School to volunteer and help Gracious with a business plan and spreadsheet projection for his business. They also worked on basic bookkeeping, bank deposits and marketing. I received the plan last week and was astonished at its content and thoroughness. Thank you Rusk!



TAFA would like to thank Joseph Reid for his generous contribution towards helping with Gracious's sausage business. I met Joe at the Mbeya train station when we where all traveling to Dar Es Salaam and Zanzibar. Joe has helped us often with school fees for the students.

TAFA Invites you to participate
at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver Canada

Redefining International Aid
| MARCH 31, 2015

Being mindful of unique locational issues is key for international aid to be sustainable. Re-igniting otherwise stagnant economies by working in partnership with local communities and local actors as opposed to traditional aid models are the future. Join us for an in-depth discussion on international aid with the director of TAFA Malawi, Barry Thorsness, and pioneers of the the UBC Sauder School of Business Arc Initiative, Jeff Kroeker and Aklilu Mulat.

Thursday, 12 February 2015
- It's been busy.... TAFA student's go back to school, the maize is growing, 3 more plots of rice planted at Mkondezi, with 2 more plots this weekend, we have found a used refrigerator, Mary Nyirenda was very sick with a serious leg infection, and with all the rains in flooding, has come the malaria. Jacco returns from South Africa and with him came the Duvets, another business fundraiser for TAFA

Mary Nyirenda was busy, with Jacco's help, funding students back to school after the Christmas holidays. A huge, huge thanks to Julia and Guy Borgen for their great support with a donation to help us fund the students. The money was also used to buy the rest of the needed fertilizer for Alfred Kamisa and his family and village for the maize. We were frightened for many weeks, as everything was so dry and the maize had grown to around 15cm. Then it started to rain, and rain and rain. Now the fear was too much water and a destroyed crop. Farming is never easy, but global climate change makes everything unreliable or too intense. Mr and Mrs Gama are again involved with the 5 plots of rice at Mkondezi. After this weekend, all of them should be planted. TAFA cheated on ploughing.... we hired the tractor from the Mkondezi Research Station instead of using the cows.

Steve Harawa found he could not return to St John's College after the holidays. The government ran out of funds and the school is now scheduled to open this coming Monday. He has been spending some time with friends and Gracious in Karonga. With Steve's help we may have found a refrigerator for Gracious sausage business... a used one in Mzuzu. Steve is going to check it out on his return this week.

Mary Nyirenda was very sick with an intense leg infection. Much oozing and puss and extreme pain. She took some weeks off from her position as Headmistress of Mkondezi school, but managed to ensure the TAFA students received necessary funding to return to school, winnow the last crop of rice to ready it for sale and to work with Jacco and the Gamas on the next planting. She also suffered from malaria last week... as did two other TAFAians, Tusa and Mathews.

Jacco returned from his stay in Pretoria with a quantity of duvets. Now this is not what you might think would be popular with Malawians... but popular they are. It has been a great business experience for Jacco, dealing with transport costs on the bus, customs and selling them. But his efforts are paying off in some additional funding for TAFA.

Monday 8 December 2014 - Pido graduates; 1.5 hectares of maize has been planted in Kasungu by Alfred; Mary and Mrs Gamma have ensured our latest crop of rice has been successful, (harvested last week); Richard Mtambo gets 17 points in his MSCE and is taking courses to prepare for scholarship exams; Steve gets ready to continue his nurses training in hospitals in Mzimba and then to Zomba; Monica continues to be a star pupil at Bandawe Girls school; Gracious and TAFA continue to work on planning for refrigeration for the his and Abie's sausage business in Karonga, and Jacco gets invited to spend Christmas by Father Chris at his Haphororo youth retreat center, at Pretoria near Johannesburg.

Pido at his graduation this week from Soche Technical College

November has been very busy with TAFA projects and students working on their education. I am so proud of Pido Kalipa! He just graduated from SOCHE Technical College, studying business. He never gave up, even though TAFA had little money these last two terms to send any additional assistance for food, to supplement the daily regime of "beans" for every meal. Pido is working on his plans now for an internship and being employed.


Alfred surveying his maize after it has been planted at the village near Kasunga

Jacco on the motorcycle taxi, leaving Alfred's village after checking on the maize

The maize has been planted by Alfred Kamisa, his family and some in the village where they live. We have 1.5 hectares planted and it is already over 15cm high. We have purchased fertilizer, but are a couple of bags short (limited kwacha/$$) but we are working on this. Everyone is l "praying" for rain, so we have a good crop and great harvest.

Our "dry season" plot of rice has been harvested at Mkondezi, with great thanks to Mrs Gama and Mary Nyirenda and some of the TAFA students. We are waiting until next week (when the TAFA students have finished exams) to "willow" the rice, which is the manual sifting of the rice from the chaff and stalks. The money from the sale of this rice will help with school fees in January.

Richard Mtambo, prepping for scholarship exams

I am so proud of Richard Mtambo who got 17 points on his MSCE (government exams). I have known Richard for a few years since he was a student at Nkhata Bay Secondary. TAFA has sponsored Richard to preparation classes in Mzuzu to write his scholarship exams, with plans to study engineering at the Polytechnic in Blantyre which is part of the University of Malawi.

Steve Harawa, continues his 2nd year training at St Johns

Steve Harawa continues his nurses training at St John's. He has been part of medical teams of people that have been mutilated to children approaching death through malaria and other diseases. He now goes to study at the Mazimba hospital and then down to southern Malawi at Zomba where Chancellor College, University of Malawi is situated. Steve has also been the mentor for Richard, to help get him to excellent prep classes for his scholarship exams.

We are also so proud of Monica Nkhayange! Jacco has been managing funding of fees and school supplies provided by funding from Sri in Dar Es Salaam. She continues to be one of the top students at Bandawe Girls School. I have great dreams of TAFA's continued support of Monica and hopes that TAFA can get additional funding to help many more girls like her.

Gracious Mwandwanga, hot on the pursuit of "big" business after graduation

"Mr" Gracious Mwandwanga, one of TAFA's first students 4 years ago and an inspiration to hall of us. Through the biggest of challenges, Gracious has made it through secondary school and graduation and has been motivated to team up with his friend Abie with her sausage business. TAFA, with the input of Gracious and the spreadsheet knowledge of Jacco, have been working on how we can finance/purchase a refrigerator and electric meat grinder for the sausage business

"Jacco" Mhone, taking a well deserved break
after a grueling and challenging couple of months

And the infamous "Jacco" Mhone... TAFA project manager and business student at GLECS College in Mzuzu. Jacco has finished his ABE exams and expects excellent marks from his studies. He has been able to do this, as well as monitor and supervise the other TAFAians and projects, write reports for TAFA, create spreadsheets and send me the TAFA "weekly spender" spreadsheet every week. A term very well done. Thank you so much Jacco! And for Jacco the reward has come from Father Chris Schonenberger, founder of Haphororo Youth Retreat Center, at Pretoria near Johannesburg. Chris has asked Jacco to spend Christmas with him at the retreat and is providing transportation, lodging and food. I have no doubt this "trip" may be one of the highlights of Jacco's life and he will get to experience life so different than in Malawi. I really thank Chris for his generosity and time doing this for Jacco. And I wish Jacco an "excellent journey".

Father Chris, on a visit to Nkhata Bay with Jacco


Wednesday, 29 October 2014 - The rice has been harvested and sold, and TAFA has 20 students attending secondary school and 4 in college. The marks are coming back this week from the June MSCE exams (level 4 = 12th grade) government exams and some students have greatly impressed. Many of the graduates are working on projects with TAFA - maize in Kasungu, a sausage business in Karonga, looking at a car wash in Nkhata Bay, and of course, our next plot of rice at Mkondezi will be ready to harvest in 3 weeks. Joe's replacement knee from D-Rev has been delayed 2 months but our project with D-Rev and Dr Robster Nyirenda, head of Orthotics at Queen Elizabeth hospital is coming together well. And needless to say, many of us TAFAians have been discussing Ebola.

It has been quite the September and October. As is usual in September, we at TAFA work hard to see what funding we can find to add to our revenue from our projects. And it can be difficult and stressful. We seldom have enough money to send all our current students back to school. This year we were greatly helped by TAFAian initiative!!! We made some money from our rice plots at Mkondezi. Thanks to the hard work from Mr Gama and his wife; our TAFA "mum' Mary Nyirenda (headmaster Mkondezi school), "Jacco" Mhone (TAFA project manager) and many TAFAians, we are proud to say that we made a profit. Jacco just sent me the "profit/loss spreadsheet, I am analyzing it and then it will be sent to Mary for "final audit".

I chatted with "Pido" Kalipa last week and he is proud be be graduating from Accounting at SOCHE Technical College in Blantyre at the end of November. It has been a couple of "challenging years" for Pido, but "we" have done it!! So proud of Pido. Now with along with TAFA... we must figure out a plan for Pido for employment work or a business. Richard Mtambo called me yesterday, he got 16 points in his MSCE - one of the best scores of anyone I know. Now we are working on seeing how he might get a scholarship to go to Malawi Polytechnic in Blantyre to become an engineer.

Gracious and Shem are finalizing plans for their sausage business in Karonga. These boys are learning about expenses vs profits and learning to create a budget and business projection. The business looks good, Still a few more details. Gracious was one of the first students TAFA sponsored. We are proud to have assisted him through 3 years to his graduation in June along with Shem. TAFAians I am most proud of.

TAFA is also working with Alfred in Kasungu on our largest project to date - growing maize. Alfred Kamisa, a student who graduated last year from Nkhata Bay Secondary has been persevering and most adamant we get things going. Thanks to his direction and spirit, the ridges have been completed for planting the maize. We are currently working to buy the seed and get it planted before the first rains.

OUR GOAL AS YOU CAN SEE - is to make TAFA self sufficient through our projects with the students we have been sponsoring. This gives the students an income after graduation, they can learn business and also help to fund TAFA.

I would like to thank Milo Gach, of Milo European Cars in Vancouver for his continued support, this time money directed to our maize project. Others like Cheytna Butler with her monthly contributions. Without our supporters, these businesses could not be started and operated.

And a huge thanks to "Jacco" Mhone. As a college student at GLEC's College of Business Science, he has his days full with classes and study. He has also been the organization with Mary to fund the students and co-ordinate and monitor the projects, along with his deskmate at college and fellow TAFAian MacDonald.

I called Joe Mandhlopa three days ago, good news Joe! D-Rev just confirmed we are getting some of their first knees in production. Bad news... they have been delayed 2 months for production changes. Joe is a TAFAian who lost his leg last year in a dump truck accident. TAFA has teamed up with D-Rev in San Francisco and Dr. Robster Nyirenda, head of orthotics at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Blantyre. The plan is to build Joe a new leg with the D-Rev knee as a test, in plans to supply many of the "high tech/low cost knees" to amputees in Malawi. This project, inspired by my connection with the Rotary Club in Malawi should be operational now in March when the first knees ship.

And Monica Nkhayange, a 15 year old orphan at Bandawe Girl's School... with her sponsor Sri, Monica continues to excel. I talked with her headmaster last week... she was in the top 4 out of 60 students. Jacco is working with her directly this week to help ensure her tremendous success.

And yes, we have been having conversations about ebola. There have been no cases of ebola in Malawi. We are hoping it stays that way. Malawi is on the opposite side of Africa from the epidemic in West Africa. But it is a huge concern.

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