Crouching on a row of crumbled bricks, I sorted through tiny rocks and twigs amongst the pellets of rice that would later become our dinner. “So is rice a common meal for you?” I asked. It was my first day in Africa with this family, so my ignorance was blatantly obvious. “No, no, rice is a delicacy, we have on special occasions”, Fatsani answered. We continued to sort through the rice impurities for what seemed like hours.
Do you consider rice a delicacy? I certainly didn’t. Until I had the opportunity to live with Tad and his family in Malawi, Africa. I learned to shower from a bucket, play soccer with a duct tape ball and enjoy the bliss of a life of simplicity.
Tad and his family gave me a place to sleep, food to eat and memories for a lifetime while asking very little in return. Tad, the father of the family, is a reverend and head of a youth ministry in his area. He recently relocated in order to serve a new and underrepresented population. However, running into financial struggles, he is left with a half-built house. He is now sleeping outside in a car in order to protect his house from robbers. And local authorities are threatening to seize the property.
My heart is heavy with the news of my friend’s struggles. A friend that I know is full of love and enthusiasm for the world, someone who dedicates his life to the service of others. I'm encouraged and inspired by the prospect of being able to help. A dollar goes a long way in Malawi. I know I’m in a position to help Tad, and I want to do everything I can to give his family a safe place to call home.
If you're interested in more context, read on
I first met Tad during a gap year between high school and college. As the head of a youth ministry program, he helped expose me to various schools, orphanages, churches and other communities in the area. I was lucky to volunteer and interact with many dynamic people across the country. Not to mention simply being welcomed as another son in Tad’s household. Seven years later, and we are still in touch. He has never asked for money, but routinely keeps me updated on the triumphs and struggles of life back in Malawi. His love for his family and community is indomitable, his character honorable and I couldn’t think of a more deserving recipient of this aid.
Tad has three children, all in school: a boy currently attending university and two younger daughters. However, he cares for five other children regularly and while I was living with him, I honestly couldn’t notice any difference in treatment. Any additional funds raised through this project I hope can go to assisting in school fees for his kids.
If you are curious what the estimated costs of finishing development of Tad’s house are, these are the rough numbers he provided us:
Roofing (metal plunks) $1000
30kgs of roofing nails $200
brushes and chemicals for treating plunks from termites $350
10 Bags of cement for fixing 8 doors and 16 window flames $80
Glass and putty $450
Labor charges for all this work $500.
Floor and plastering 100 bags of cement $350
Labor cost $450
A quick bio: My gap year and experience with Tad left me with a rekindled passion for service. I graduated from Westminster College in Salt Lake City, UT with a major in Public Health, and I am now serving in the Navy in Florida. I’m spearheading this project with my grandpa, who has a rich history of medical service in Malawi and had the pleasure of personally presenting Tad with a donated laptop that Tad still uses to this day.
If you'd like to stay up to date on progress with the house, or if you have any additional questions or concerns, please reach out to me and I'll put you on our email list. [email redacted]
- Joseph Serra
- Alison Royle
- Richard Stevens
- Karen Adams
- Cedric Dempsey
Panama City, FL