Longstanding Steeple Church members may remember Zedi Nyirenda who came from Malawi in 1979 to do a degree in Civil Engineering in Dundee. Zedi became an active and much-loved member of the Steeple and our minister at the time, Rev. Jock Stein, appointed him to serve as our first Student Elder.
In 1982 Zedi and Joanna were married at the Steeple. Zedi went on to graduate with a First-Class degree from Dundee University, a Masters from Newcastle and a Doctorate from Oxford University. He was the Site Engineer for the Millennium Bridge in London, amongst other achievements. He and Joanna returned to Malawi a few years ago to live and work, but Zedi contracted COVID-19 and died suddenly, in January 2021.
A few years ago, Zedi put together the engineering designs for the local Sisters of the Holy Rosary to build a much-needed hospital in his home village of Chigwere in northern Malawi. Land was donated free of charge following a meeting with the village headmen, and money was raised for construction to start. This project meant such a lot to Zedi and so our aim is to help his wife, Jo, to raise funds to complete the hospital as his lasting legacy.
The village is in dire need of local medical facilities; the nearest hospital is 20 km away in the city of Mzuzu and during rainy seasons the roads are impassable; this means that most people do not have access to quality health care, and mortality rates are high.
A local mobile clinic is held once a month (except during the rainy season) to treat children under five and expectant mothers. The village and local area has a population of some 15,000 people of which 3,200 are children under five years old and 3,000 women of child-bearing age of which 120 are currently expectant mothers.
This project will see the completion of the first phase of St Marcel’s Hospital, bringing much-needed improvements to the local infrastructure and living standards. Jo is raising the £50,000 to complete the construction. £4,000 was spent drilling a borehole and some £40,000 has been spent so far on building work, with more to come. Local companies and labourers are being used to provide employment for the villagers. A further £10,000 is needed for the installation of water tanks and a solar pump to service the hospital water supply. This is the part of the project that we, as a church, are aiming to support.
The village has no running water and relies on boreholes. The Malawi Rural Electrification scheme is not due to reach the area until some time next year. A solar water pump from the borehole is essential to ensure the hospital has a reliable water supply. A diesel generator has been donated as a back-up energy supply.
If you would like to support our appeal, you may donate in the following ways:
- Cash donations can be placed in an envelope in the offering plate on Sunday and should be clearly marked ‘Malawi Hospital.’
- Cheques can also be made out to ‘The Steeple International Fund’ and placed in the offering plate.
- BACS online payments can be made to ‘The Steeple International Fund’. Details of this account can be requested by email from the Church Office.