Rebuilding Lucius and Eliza's home

On March 10, after a week of heavy rain across southern Africa due to Cyclone Idai, floods in rural Malawi wiped out homes and farms and displaced an estimated 80,000 people. Lucius Paul and his mother Eliza were among those affected, and have asked for help in rebuilding their home.

I first met Eliza in 2009 when I worked as a volunteer in Neno District. She helped me move in to the small house next to hers, and her warmth and generosity made my transition to life in rural Malawi possible. She brought me roasted squash and corn until I learned to cook for myself, helped bring me water until I could carry it for myself, and always offered to share whatever she had. Her son Lucius helped me navigate the village as well, introducing me to neighbors, showing me around the market, and translating for me -- especially with his many young cousins, Eliza's grandchildren, who lived with her. I'll never forget when I woke Lucius up late at night in a panic because I found a scorpion on my wall; all he had to do was pick up a shoe and smack the scorpion, but for me the real value was that he came, no questions asked, when I asked for help.

There are dozens of excellent organizations providing relief in Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe, and I would encourage you to support them (I'd recommend Partners In Health who provide high quality health care just a few miles from Eliza's home, and the International Red Cross , who will be able to mount the large-scale relief effort needed in Mozambique). However, if you would like to contribute directly to a family to help them rebuild -- and, in Lucius words, to build a home that will "stand firm in all weather changes" that will accompany climate change -- please donate below.

The funds raised will go towards the supplies that Lucius will need to rebuild, including sand and cement for the foundation, bricks, and iron sheets for the roof, which he estimates will cost MWK 800,000 / US$1,100. They will also need to purchase food to replace the lost harvest and goods for their home that were ruined by the flood. Lucius and Eliza worked hard over many years to build the home they had, but my hope is that this fundraiser will help them build back better and faster.

My mom, Eliza, and me on a visit in 2013

What is left of Eliza and Lucius' house and garden

Donations (33)

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  • Teresa Holland
    • $25 
    • 4 yrs
  • Janet Ma
    • $30 
    • 4 yrs
  • Toby Muresianu
    • $15 
    • 5 yrs
  • Stacey Weinstein
    • $65 
    • 5 yrs
  • Adam Weissler
    • $20 
    • 5 yrs
See all


Marguerite Thorp
Los Angeles, CA

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