Tiyamike Mulungu Center, which is Chichewa for "Let us give thanks to God" was founded by Will and Pam Phillips in 2003 and continues under their direction today.
The Center is home to 115 children. The children have come at different ages and circumstance some as babies, a few hours old, to years ago, a boy 12 years old who had never been to school. The babies now 3 and 4 and 5 years of age are amazing and so alive with lots of smiles and laughter waiting for you to see and hear. So we have all ages: boys and girls. TMC has been and to our knowledge remains, the only center within 135 km that has been willing to take on the responsibility to care for multiple infants. We surely welcome anyone who would step in to this area of need! Our goal is always to receive only the desperate cases where the baby or child would not be able to be cared for. It is widely understood that many of these babies who have lost their mother's breast to feed them would not have survived. In many ways we have acted as an emergency waiting facility receiving little ones... of which many would have passed away, and then having them transferred to other baby care homes. This has at times stretched us beyond what we ever thought possible, but well worth the stretching in the end! We, as always, leave it to the Government authorities as to whether the babies come to us or are looked after elsewhere which at times, can be of some concern due to the workload (resulting response times) and such of the local Social Services staff. Prayer for all involved is so welcome! There are many reasons for babies being brought to care centers such as ours; sadly, a mother dying in child birth or perhaps the high costs of proper infant nutrition, but the answer isn't just giving formulae or funds. In this culture many new wives refuse to care for (or care for poorly) the baby of her new husband's deceased wife. Also the issue of hygiene needed to facilitate the feeding is of concern. Often the family home people live in consists of a grass-roofed, mud-brick structure with a mud floor... hopefully with plastic under the grass roof. Even having someone who is willing and able to care for the little one is an issue. The time required for caring for a newborn has to be taken from other chores, and other family needs. This is time already needed in this hand-to-mouth-living world. There is further information in our January, 2012 newsletter on this web site.
We and those who join with us to support and make Tiyamike happen take on the responsibility, as much as we are able, for the care through to adulthood of each child we take in. This commitment includes the provision of education and all basic needs. To meet these needs, there is currently an onsite primary school and the first two grades of a secondary school. The Government education system in the area is burdened with many students and few teachers and little resources, creating a very difficult learning environment. This is why we need "English as a first language" qualified teachers, not only as primary teachers but secondary as well. The boost they give our children is immeasurable compared to the alternatives they would have to suffer if we did not have such teachers.
At present, there are 2 sites from which we at Tiyamike house the little ones and older children. We no longer have a 3rd site, we have closed the baby house in Blantyre and we will consider opening one again only with clear written documentation indicating the approvals of such Authorities as are required. It is a costly and very time consuming effort to provide such a service so far away from our home in Bangula. It is not questionable as to whether at least one life and likely more were saved from the year and one half we operated our Baby House in Blantyre. We have no regrets in having put the effort and costs into the Blantyre Baby house. The fruit already harvested more than compensates all involved. We expect one day we will again climb that mountain as we have seen the benefits of providing a home near the Government Hospital Pediatric unit to allow for the best medical care available during the crucial early days and months.
TMC1 is grand central station! It is the property in Bangula which is home to most of the children with the exception of the boys over the age of 12. It is also the location of Will and Pam's home and the place where visitors and longer term co-workers are housed. The school is also housed on this site. It is a place of constant motion and action and a great place to sit in the playground after school and be with a bustling bunch of children enjoying the sunny afternoon!
A second location, about 8 to 10 acres in size, is home to our boys 12 years and older and referred to as TMC3. They have a football field, a garden site to maintain that serves the center and space to run and be teenage boys. We have care givers living onsite and are looking for a good Malawian family to live there with them as well. This beautifully treed property (hmmm sounds like a real-estate ad \O/) is a perfect for finding a quiet place to reflect or a rambunctious football game (its big enough to have both at the same time) on a Saturday afternoon!
Tiyamike Mulungu Center ©