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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)"

Monday, 26 February 2018

Small Businesses keep on growing

Gracious has been working on and creating more small businesses. He has added another popcorn stand, now in Mzuzu. He is employing some the boys that TAFA has been looking after, who were previously homeless.


So sorry about the passing of your Uncle, Gracious

Gracious Uncle's ceremony of becoming headman

Gracious Uncle's ceremony of becoming headman


congratulations on your ABE marks again this term Gracious!

Lutengano, back at law school
your persistence and even your ability to go without eating
to make this happen, is amazing

"We are working on things to make it easier..."

Monday, 15 January 2018

"everyone" is back to school!

TAFAians are all back at school and University - Tusa back at university studying alternative energy, Richard studying Communications Engineering, Monica, Accounting and Agriculture, Malita and her brother Canaan at Secondary School, Vincent completing Form 4, Gracious, signing up for more business classes.

Other TAFAians, Mpenzu and Elia from Mbeya, Tanzania continue University and one of the "original" TAFAians from Nkhata Bay, Laston Banda, continues to study Hotel and Restaurant Management in Dar es Salaam.

TAFA is also a bit DISTRESSED with the situation with Lutengano, who has lost his funding to return to the University of Malawi to study law. We will be working on this over the next month or so to find solutions. If you are in any way to help Lutengano with his law degree, please let me know. Any assistance is so greatly appreciated!


Steve Harawa in his Army "colours"

Steve Harawa is now "posted" in Mzuzu and is living the active Army life. He will be posted to work in a hospital in the next 5 months.

We are so proud of you Steve!! going to boot camp, joining the army and doing training... all so you can further you career as a midwife and nurse.

Augustine Mlotha,
celebrating the Christmas Holiday in Lilongwe with friends

Augustine, your exemplary marks and outstanding work at your studies of Economics at the University of Malawi and your completing your thesis makes us all so proud!!

You so inspire us all

so sorry Richard!

After having to sleep on the bus overnight because of lack of funds for a taxi when returning to University...

Richard ended up with Malaria
He is feeling much better now

direct from Malawi

The joys of being a communications engineering student...
you can fix the headphones people donate to you!

Richard's work desk
as yes, he was successful, the headphones now work!

The beautiful photos of Victor Nyirongo Bless

Victor has just recently got a camera. The results are really worth enjoying


the TEG system is continuing to prove itself

Gracious "Team Leader"

Chisomo and Richard


The TEG system is up and operating....


Gracious, Richard and Chisomo
planning the system


Creating the solar frame

Testing the system

Gracious is now living with the TEG electrical system the boys designed and built over the Christmas/New Years holidays. We are just in the midst of the final reports about the system.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Richard, Tusa, Chisomo and Gracious
created TEG over the holidays


Gracious is now living the TEG electrical system the boys designed and built over the Christmas/New Years holidays. We are just in the midst of the final reports about the system and should have them available in one week

"Everyone" is back/on their way back to school after the holidays...

Malita and her brother Canaan are both back at secondary school, Richard is leaving for Blantyre on Sunday, Tusa is already in class at University, arriving yesterday. Gracious is signed up for more business classes and I am going to work with Chisomo to help in prepare a plan so he might attend University of Malawi, Polytechnic for the following term. Vincent has returned to school and Jay is helping Gracious with all his businesses - TEG, selling Energy Drinks, Popcorn, Duvets and a few other items.

more to come shortly.....

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.


please click here to continue with all the TAFA stories over the years!

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