Jennifer Aniston feels cranky without water!!

I’m sure Happy would be delighted to share her water

Something frivolous for a change.

Jennifer Aniston feels “cranky” if she does not drink enough water, talking to Female First magazine

The 41-year-old actress believes the secret to good skin is staying hydrated and she feels an instant impact if she fails to consume enough liquid.

She said: “I don’t really have any beauty tips but drink a s**tload of water. I say, if anything, that’s the one thing I’ve noticed with my skin. If I stop drinking water, I dehydrate badly, and I get cranky. Water really works.”

Downing water isn’t her only obsession, the ‘Break-Up’ star is also fascinated with jeans and amidst she owns hundreds of pairs.

I know the world revolves around her, and similar people, I hope she knows that over a billion people in the worls don’t have access to clean water


An amazing Irishman in Malawi

As we head in to our sixth year in Malawi, we are constantly enthused and amazed by our very dear friend, Professor John Ryan, from Tipperary. He has spent over 30 years and is head of the Mathematics Department in the University of Mzuzu.
The fact that he is a priest from the Kilteegan order and might take one on a six hour round trip out into the bush to say Mass for a tiny community makes him even more endearing.
Besides heading up the maths department and managing priestly duties, he makes time for an enormous volume of community work, where we co operate on various bits when needed.
Today he sent the following:

Dear All

Thought of sharing the following: Have just chosen you guys as I feel you are the ones who will understand the following!

I am just about to go into our usual Tuesday evening Mass at the university on this the feast of the Conversion of St Paul.

It is becomming clearer and clearer to me every day that we all need a conversion like St Paul if this planet of ours is to flourish. We need to make that shift from thinking that the human person is at the center of everything to realising that we are just part of something much bigger and it does not make sense to separate ourselves from the bigger picture. There is no such thing as sacred and profane —its all sacred.

I now look forward to celebrating all of this with our students. in song and dance.



And then he will later drift into his Mathematical Coding. (his specialised field of maths)
What an inspiration

In the middle of nowhere where the roundtrip was almost a day!

How do kids in Malawi ever survive!!!

Sent to me by a friend

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us and lived in houses containing asbestos..

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese, raw egg products, loads of bacon and processed meat, tuna from a can, and didn’t get tested for diabetes or cervical cancer.
Then after that trauma, our baby cots were covered with bright colored lead-based paints.
We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets or shoes, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.
As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.
We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.
Take away food was limited to fish and chips, no pizza shops, McDonalds, KFC, Subway or Nandos.
Even though all the shops closed at 6.00pm and didn’t open on the weekends, somehow we didn’t starve to death!
We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.
We could collect old drink bottles and cash them in at the corner store and buy Toffees, Gobstoppers, Bubble Gum and some bangers to blow up frogs with.
We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank soft drinks with sugar in it, but we weren’t overweight because……
We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.
No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K.
We would spend hours building our go-carts out of old prams and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. We built tree houses and dens and played in river beds with matchbox cars.
We did not have Playstations, Nintendo Wii, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 999 channels on SKY,
no video/dvd films,
no mobile phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms………WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!
We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no
Lawsuits because these were accidents.
Only girls had pierced ears!
We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.
You could only buy Easter Eggs and Hot Cross Buns at Easter time…
We were given air guns and catapults for our 10th birthdays,
We rode bikes or walked to a friend’s house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just yelled for them!
Mum didn’t have to go to work to help dad make ends meet!
FOOTBALL, RUGBY and CRICKET had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn’t had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!! Getting into the team was based on
Our teachers used to hit us with canes and gym shoes and bully’s always ruled the playground at school.
The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of.
They actually sided with the law!
Our parents didn’t invent stupid names for their kids like ‘Kiora’ and ‘Blade’ and ‘Ridge’ and ‘Vanilla’
We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO
And YOU are one of them!
You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated our lives for our own good.
And while you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave their parents were.

Primary Education as we experience it.

Even though I see clean water as the first step on the development ladder in Malawi and food for a healthy diet as a close second, education is essential to these two even if I rank it third on my wish list. I suppose I look back to my own youth in the West of Ireland, where thankfully we had an excellent well within half a kilometre and always enough food and education was central to my parents’ expectations for the family.
I went to school at four when my mother sent me in with a neighbour’s lunch and they kept me! I think they needed the numbers rather than having discovered a child prodigy. Anyway I can remember little besides the lunch for Pat Morris, may he rest peacefully!

The school with the rather exotic name of Fort Augustus, was a present from the British, built in 1895, to a standard plan for the colonies. I even discovered the same school structure in the gold mining town of Ballarat in Australia. Even though the Brits were in Malawi, there is no such legacy, or more disastrously absent is the teacher’s house. In Fortaugustus, the teacher’s residence was impressive, second only maybe to the old landlord’s house up the road. It made a statement on the importance of the principal teacher and his place in society. It gave him stature, like the priest and the sergeant, even though he didn’t have the uniform like the other two. I suppose the respect or dependence of the people came from the fact that these teachers could read and write and very importantly could sign documents. For decades this respect for teacher and education has stuck with us and in poorer areas today the teacher is valued highly in Irish Society, particularly the primary teacher. Of course nowadays we have social workers and other pseudo medical state employees who figure they know it all, everything about everything, but an observant primary teacher, with their students for more time than their parents even, can be a wealth of knowledge and value to society. For me a good primary teacher can leave the mark of their teeth on four generations. Unfortunately I missed out on this one.

What am I ranting about? Well I recently met an Irish priest, Paddy Leahy from Tipperary, 50 years in Malawi and I was excited when telling him how a group of students, from DIT had helped a community to complete a three classroom school in two weeks, but he quickly burst my bubble by asking what about teachers houses. Good teachers can teach under a tree, but you can’t attract good teachers to Luvuwu, in the middle of nowhere without giving them a good house.
There are about forty six thousand primary teachers in Malawi and over forty thousand have to live sometimes long distances from their school. To get to school they walk or cycle and most can’t afford a good bicycle on the wages they get. In the fine weather there is some hope if you can avoid rocks craters thorns and whatever as they take all shortcuts available. In the rainy season it’s a whole other matter on dirt roads, floods, wooden bridges made of sticks, arriving late, soaking wet, with sickness and disaster ever present. No wonder most days half the staff is missing, in the hospital, burst tyres, tubes where the patches outnumber the original tube. I know how tough it to cycle to school, but I only did 7km each way, on a good bike, on a good road. Oh, I travelled 10 km each way for one year, as our school was being refurbished, on a sand road. It was tough enough, but nothing like the goat paths here, and I wasn’t a qualified teacher, just in sixth class!

I then thought of Ison, the school principal, in Luvuwu, living in a poorly constructed thatched house, with his wife, children and extra orphans, and knew immediately why he couldn’t command any respect for himself or the message he was offering. He was no better off than the people he was trying to lift and inspire. What good is education if this is what a principal teacher can afford? To date I have found no teacher with a landmark house, one that makes a statement, one that would inspire any young person to become a teacher. I believe, in the end only a good primary school system with well trained, paid and respected teachers will ever lift this country from its status as a begging dependency

All I have seen is the North, where we are supposed to have the most educated Malawians and it’s awful. Now if I am seeing the best education in the country, God help the rest. Statistics, God help us, tell us that Primary Education in Malawi is free since 1964, I think, but what does that mean. 100 children sitting on the floor of a poorly constructed classroom, with no books, copies or pencils, learning by rote writing English they don’t understand on a white blackboard. The primary school system is absent, if you use any meaningful yardstick, the secondary school system is expensive or private and very often supported by donor money and Church bodies. Teachers are poorly trained and paid, have no status and the brighter ones find themselves delivering aid for NGO’s who should realise that their work would be much more effective if they left them in their schools. Of course who can blame the teachers for accepting the white jeep, the big money, the expenses, and the status?

The next big issue is that you have teachers, with poor English, preparing students for exams in English. We have recently done some inservice teacher training with six volunteering Irish primary school teachers, working with staff in a remote primary school, and the improvements were amazing with even a little intervention. Regular follow up contact between teachers, here and there, is having great response.
Another issue is that of books. The school above has no books for Standard 8, the year where they do the exam for admission to Secondary school. You can’t buy them, they are not available. They printed millions a few years ago and when they’re gone they are gone!

As the world commemorated the International Day of Literacy last month the teacher in Malawi continues to play second fiddle in almost every sphere of life. The nurse’s wages have been propped up by the world of NGOs because of the AIDS pandemic, the Aid business gobbles up the brightest and training is not great. The Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MDGS) well acknowledges that education is crucial for Malawi to achieve the much desired sustainable socio-economic development, but as usual Malawians talk a lot but application is regularly missing. Loads of Strategy but where do they start? As is regularly found the central people in this, the teachers are of such low status, they are omitted from the script. Loads of bureaucratic bullshit, big words, hotels, meetings, meals, expenses and out of pocket expenses and millions of donor money spent, results in little or no spend on the issue. Donor driven reports in Malawi are ten a penny, a must have for every bureaucrats shelf or more regularly drawer, rarely produce results. They do however employ and overcompensate the consultants of the Aid business, and pretend that all this money is spent on Malawi and Malawians. The National Education Sector Plan (NESP) recognized that inadequate and inferior physical infrastructure, including teachers’ houses, is one of the challenges facing primary education. Malawians love shortening names but in reality this plan like a million others lacks any kind of teeth, and if it does ever happen it will cost 500% of what it should with much of the money going to foreign, highly paid consultants and little will go on teachers houses!!

Mary Coyne, Edited Jan 3 2011

If they make it to Secondary school, we have a fund to pay for them

Mama Gondwe and her handbag!

It might be called philanthropy, but who cares. We got involved with Malawi just to make some little difference to peoples lives, by bringing them clean water. We thought it would be easy: it wasn’t. We thought Malawi would appreciate our work: they don’t. We thought people with a lot of money would help: they didn’t. We hoped we could make little difference: we have. Are we enjoying it: Wow!

We found that we can give a remote rural villager clean water for life for one euro!

On February 11 last, I sat beside an old gogo (granny) outside the pump factory in Mzuzu. We communicated with a real Malawi handshake and a few smiles. When I threw in my few words of Tumbuka, she bent over laughing. She was in her Sunday best, weather beaten, looked to be 90, but what really stood out was a fantastic handbag.
She wanted a pump.
William (one of our pump men and much more) was called into action and said to me we have to do something, it’s not far.

We’ll chance it says William

All three of us hopped in the jeep only to find that after 17km mostly deciding where the road was, as she was directing us to do the crow flying bit and we had to find the roads or tracks to match, we found ourselves walking, no, running, the last mile, behind this fragile old lady holding her handbag way out in front of her.

She showed us the river where 16 villages were getting their water, with the heavy rains it had become a fast running stream of grey water, the river of death, I now call it.

By the time we got there we had attracted a bit of a following: chiefs with hats and sticks, old men, women and children and one scrawny dog.

Location decided

After a short discussion we agreed a location for a new well, which would be the first one in the area.
I had the video camera with me and suggested to William that he do a little interview, with Mama, but as he went on, the number forty one kept coming up (when speaking Tumbuka they give their numbers in English). I stopped recording and asked William about 41 and with his usual laugh he said that’s why we’re here, forty one people from the villages are in Hospital with cholera, and some have died.

William worked all weekend, organised the bricks, sand and manpower (not always easy, but William is a convincing and vocal six foot three) and we put in the new pump on Monday, amid songs dances and prayers, always prayers.

Clean Water

Tastes good

Not totally convinced that her figures were correct, I visited the Chief Medical Officer, Winston Mwanza, at St John’s Hospital (formerly run by the Medical Missionaries of Mary): a meeting hastily arranged by Harisen (our man in Malawi).
He had a huge welcome, and even though his clinic was full, he brought us to his office, did a bit of tidying, sat down and said you are the pump people. He verified the figures and told us the Hospital was over run with cholera cases, BUT then said I have a great story to help you.

You know we run an outreach clinic in an area called Doroba; In 2007 we had 143 cases of Cholera and 6 people died; in 2008 we had 6 cases and no death. This year we had no case. His information from the clinic is that in late 2007 we installed 3 pumps and more in 2008 and 2009.

Standing in amazement I asked could the pumps have much to do with it and he said EVERYTHING. He continued; if people don’t have a protected source of water, when the heavy rains come, everything is washed into the drinking water sources, the water becomes polluted and Cholera, and Diarrhoea result. He continued;

All sick, we brought them to Hospital

Diarrhoea is a real killer and Malaria of course. Keep building the pumps, that’s a great solution…
As we rushed back, I told him it only costs 1 euro to give each person water. So sad he said as he returned to his overflowing waiting room, considering that talking to us for 10 minutes was worth while.

Are we happy to be making a difference?: we are amazed!
And so is Mama Gondwe and her handbag.

You might ask, where do we get the money?. Well mostly from people with little money, friends and friends we don’t even know. But THEY all know that WE pay all the organisation’s expenses, so 100% of anything they give us ends up in a village in Malawi.

Are they happy with their investment?

They certainly are, mostly disbelieving that so little can do so much!

If you can pay even for one person to have clean water it would be magical: It would cost you a Euro and could you find a better investment. You would’nt get much of a handbag for it

If you want to invest:
and some amazing Malawian women can get a life

John and Mary Coyne, 31 December 2010