UPDATE 11 August 2009: A villager has decided to donate his stock of bricks to the project - so building can commence as soon as £800 is available.
UPDATE 16 August: The Project Committee has dug and built a pit latrine next to the site of the mill for use by the builders and then by staff and customers. This is pictured below - the iron roofing sheets are included in the budget for building work.
UPDATE 1 October: Warrington Guardian in the UK (Mike's local paper) reports on the project and appeal for funds. Click HOME for the cutting.
UPDATE 17 October: Picture received from the Project Committee showing the bricks being moved to the site.
UPDATE 22 October: Loan fund at £800 - enough for the building. The first installment has been transferred to the village committee. Villagers will now construct the building under the supervision of one of their number who is an experienced builder.
UPDATE 27 October: News just in: "We are glad to inform you that the foundations have started today. We bought 8 bags of cement on Saturday. The Committee members used their bicycles to transport the bags [10 miles]. The Committee is working very hard and there is cooperation among members in doing the work."
UPDATE 12 November: Pictures, receipts and report received on work so far. Below pictures of preparing the foundations and transporting bricks and completing the floor slab - all generations are involved.
Update 3 December: the November report from the Project Committee shows the progress with the walls and roof, giving the almost finished building. Exchange rate changes and price increases put the loan for the complete building phase of the project to £ 1,000.
Update 11 February 2010: Funds transferred for purchasing wiring and electrical fittings to prepare the building for the milling equipment.
Update 12 March: Grant of £ 2,000 awarded by W.F. Southall Charitable Trust towards the project.
Update 16 June: The electricity company, ESCOM, has installed the required transformer and connected the building to the supply.
Update 6 August: Still seeking extra funds for buying the maize mill equipment. The Project Committee has just been sent a small loan to buy 50 kg maize to break into 1 kg bags affordable for those in the village who need it.
Update 30 November: Commercial loan taken to be able to purchase the maize mill equipment so that the mill can be put into operation.
Update 4 December: Three villagerswill be trained at Chiradzulu Agricultural College in December on operating and mainting the milling equipment. The milling equipment will be purchased for installation after they have completed the course.
Update 10 January 2011: Members of the Project Committee collected the equipment from Blantyre and installed this in the newly-painted building
24 February 2011: ESCOM did not have three-phase
cable available for completing the connection from the
transformer to the milling equipment. Apparently ESCOM’s
budget for buying materials has been exhausted. With no
alternative, additional funds have been sent for the Project
Committee to purchase the cable to be fitted by ESCOM.
26 March: ESCOM have made the connection - all
except for the electricity meter. There are no longer spare
meters in the country we are told.
4 May: A meter is fitted after an appeal to the ESCOM
Regional Engineer for help resulted in a meter being found.
15 May: The Project Committee’s engineer connects
the mill and tests it.
16 May 2011: MAIZE MILL BEGINS OPERATING
5 June - 15 June: Power cuts hit Southern Malawi. First
partial month’s income allocated to costs, extra equipment
needed for the mill, paying for a business licence and the
social welfare fund (helping with school fees for orphans
and other costs for vulnerable families).
15 July: Three people are being employed to run the
mill plus a night watchman. After salaries, electricity bills,
maintenance costs and the social welfare fund, the first
instalment towards repaying the capital fund is made.
15 August: Monthly report suggest bringing forward the
purchase of a sheller to go alongside the mill, to improve
the service to villagers and increase income....