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June 22, 2010

More from Malawi

By Cynara Vetch

Unfortunately our car problems have continued. On our first night in the country Dom went out to get money, he had to swerve to avoid someone on the road and rolled into a big ditch. The car is now slightly the worse for wear. As a result we have stayed in Nkata Bay and had our screening here whilst waiting for car repairs.

We found our first ladies’ team, the Manuchi women’s football team. Their coach is Mizard Ngwira a talented player on the boys team he’s also a group leader with the HIV support group run by The Mitsunge AIDS and Community Development Support Organisation (MACODESO). The female players range from 15 to 30 years and are wild women, tearing round the pitch their floral skirts torn and dusty. They are struggling with equipment and we swapped a girly flowery homemade ball that they had made with their first real football.

The girls team has been set up so that they can compete in a women’s competition organised on behalf on the Malawian president, Bingu wa Mutharika. Mutharika has had a big impact on Malawi’s HIV problem. Alick who coordinates MACODESCO told me  “Five years ago it was very difficult for people with HIV. Now we have democracy in Malawi, it has become an open thing to have the virus. There is a syllabus for HIV and AIDS in Social Studies, which is learnt at school. Now on TV there is coverage about condoms, how to use them, it has been accepted and families can talk about it. ” Alick told me that at the height of the epidemic 24% of the population was infected now this has been reduced to 14%.

Sadly the crowd was completely out of control and when we gave out HIV packages and footballs they mobbed Mouse and Tammy pulling them to the ground and trampling them. They are fine but as a result when there’s a big crowd we’re now going to deliver packages to our partners and they can distribute them.

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