Gary Brough - Malawi
Resource and Mobilisation & Communications Manager
CCAP Synod of Livingstonia
Church & Society Programme
PO Box 112
Welcome to the first of our Partner Plan letters and thank you for your interest and prayers as our family gets ready to make Malawi our home for the next three years.
I travelled to Mzuzu in the middle of November. I’m spending just over a month here settling into my new role and making preparations for returning with the family in the New Year.
I’ve been missing the family at home in Lenzie. My wife, Jacqueline has been holding down the fort, looking after the children, packing up the house and continuing at work. She’s amazing. Jacqueline has been working as a pensions consultant since we married in 2006, she’s open to see what God has in store for her in Malawi though her immediate priority will be the girls.
Eilidh (5) is excited about the move though I’ve had to reassure her there will be no crocodiles or lions in the garden. She started school in Scotland just this year, so this will be a big change for her. Morven (1) is oblivious to what’s going on and will hopefully continue to smile through everything!
I am working for the Church and Society Programme
(CSP) in the Synod of Livingstonia. Their work includes insuring access to justice, tackling gender based violence, bringing an end to child marriage among many other things.
As Resource Mobilisation and Communications Manager, my role is to help the programme to expand its human rights, justice and democracy projects by sharing the impact of the programme and attracting new funding.
It’s very early days for me in the role, it has been good to be here in person to meet colleagues, build relationships and learn more about the current work of CSP. In particular, it has been good to be working alongside Linus Malu (photo), a lawyer and fellow Church of Scotland Mission Partner.
Almost every day brings a reminder of why this work is so important. Newspapers and radio broadcasts include stories of rights abuses on a daily basis
CSP run a one stop legal centre for victims of gender based violence. I met one of the paralegals who’d come from her day working there and she told me of some of the cases she had dealt with that day. I say cases, but that’s too administrative. These were women and girls who have suffered violent physical and sexual abuse. Most of which occurred in their own homes. One woman had to be directed for medical attention because she arrived with a serious head wound. She also shared the story of a girl not much older than my own daughter. Violence against women and girls is a harsh and all too present reality around the world, but feels particularly close here.
It’s a challenging time for CSP to maintain the funding for the vital programmes. Just for example,the fuel prices have risen sharply over the last month to about £1 a litre and that’s a real challenge for an organisation that serves such remote communities. We must decide day by day which journeys are essential.
This also adds to the challenges of setting up home for the family. Thankfully, though I’ve had a very warm welcome from new colleagues who have been quick to offer help and advice as I start to settle in.
“Pachoko, pachoko.” – Little by little or slowly, slowly – is a very appropriate local phrase for the process of getting things done. I’m learning to be patient, slowly! Weekly planning has been replaced with vague aspirations in the morning of what I might achieve that day.
That said, we now have a house and most of the basics in place. It’s a lovely peaceful spot with lots of garden space for the children to explore. Avocados, peaches and papayas grow in the garden – though there’s a monkey that helps himself to breakfast each day.
Eilidh has a place at Mzuzu International Academy which I was able to visit, see her classroom and meet herteacher. Just being around has meant I’ve met people who have come here to serve from all over. This should be a great experience for all of us but particularly for the girls.
As I write we’re making preparations for a group of visitors from the Church of Scotland who are coming to do some training with the legal team here and I go from visitor to host. I’ll return to Lilongwe with them and then home to Scotland next weekend.
This is going to be quite a Christmas for us! Thanks again for your interest and prayers. I pray you enjoy a blessed Christmas celebrating the one who brings ‘life and light to all mankind’.
Gary, Jacqueline, Eilidh and Morven x
‐ For a smooth transition to life in Malawi. That we’ll each adjust to our new life here, particularly the girls.
‐ For new friendships and working relationships, that they would be forged well and quickly.
‐ For the work of CSP and for resources to help it continue to grow its work and meet the needs of those who need it most.