Hi Illinois Sister Cities
Association family,


Just sharing some happy energy
related to our Sister Cities activities here in Urbana.

Our Sister City is
Zomba, in Malawi, Africa.

We hosted our third “Malawi Mixer” at the Independent Media
Center in downtown Urbana. This was a party to celebrate the completion of a
public outreach grant from the Office of the Vice Chancellor to the Center for
African Studies on the University of Illinois Campus. We have had presentation
in every primary school in the city, based on reading the elementary level book
Galimoto, and conducting a workshop to build this quintessential African
toy. For the High School and two adult reading groups at the public library we
read and discussed The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, by William Kamkwamba
and Bryan Mealer. (I strongly suggest you look at this inspirational story.)


The African Studies group split
the costs with us and paid for the performance of the native Malawi band
playing authentic Kwela music, while our group and the African students cooked
the meal for over 158 people who attended (official head count). Goat stew,
chicken, nsima (corn meal grits), red beans, and greens, fried plantain, and
fried bread balls for everybody, and drinks (mango and guava juice, lemonade,
and cola). We danced for 2 1/2 hours, ate a lot, met many wonderful people, and
got the wonderful press, below. The Daily Illini student
newspaper came and did live interviews of some of our members and also covered
the progress of our AUPAP grant work in Friday’s newspaper.


That African Urban Poverty
Alleviation Project grant project list is in full swing, and we have
foundations and pit excavations done at three primary schools in Zomba for VIP
pit latrines for the kids and have progressed much further on the construction
of the hospital ablution block providing showers, flush toilets, and urinals for
the Guardian Village residents who care for their family members staying at the
central hospital. With the extra money leveraged from the cancellation of our
third proposal in Zomba, (twenty-three Water Service Points), we are planning
on adding value at the hospital with the addition of another community kitchen,
washing facilities for cooking utensils, and a much needed laundry area. All
these projects, with the hours of correspondence between our hard working Zomba
Sister Cities Committee, Zomba City staff, and the African office of SCI, has
built a stronger bond of friendship between us all. These interactions with the
people of Malawi have indeed opened our hearts and have inspired many.



Dennis Roberts

Urbana Sister Cities Committee

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