Energy transforming communities, Bondo, Malawi

Miriam's working day

Miriam Saurohwe is 24 years old. Her husband is a farmer and they have two daughters, aged 4 and 2.

She and her husband assisted in the construction of Chipendeke’s micro hydro scheme.  Miriam describes her day:

“I wake up at half four or five and that’s the time I always wake up, that’s the time sleep goes away and I always wake up.  I sweep the yard then wash dishes from the previous meal, then clean the house.  After that I go into the garden and start weeding or planting or whatever needs to be done.

“After sweeping the yard, I wake my daughters and wash their faces.  Then I feed them with porridge which I made earlier.  My older daughter Privilege goes to crèche at 7.00 am.  My younger daughter Previous remains with me.  We are wheat farmers so at 12 noon I make tea and the children come in including Privilege from crèche and the whole family eats at 12 noon - tea and wheat bread.

“After eating we go back to the fields I normally weed in the afternoons. When I weed a large piece of land my back aches but then I have a short rest until I feel better.  It is harder for those who are older.  We normally finish weeding at 4 and I go home.  I make up a fire, and I heat water for my husband, my children and I to bath.  We have tapped water and I collect firewood for the fire.  “We eat again at 7 and then we normally just talk for just a little while.  We then would normally sleep at 8.

“We look forward to getting electricity.  Electricity if it comes will help our clinic, we will be able to be treated at night if we have problems and we will also be able to store our medicines. The biggest problem is with women who give birth at night or who have miscarriages.  These normally happen at night.  If you go to the clinic at night if you are delivering you have to carry your own candles or lamp so they can attend to you.  Recently a woman had problems giving birth and they had to refer her to a clinic 40 km away.  Her husband had to get a phone, then she had to wait for the taxi to come.  She had a horrible journey and it was very difficult for her.  With the candle you can see but it quickly finishes, it doesn’t always last for the labour, that’s the problem and also you can’t see well.

“When we have electricity I hope to buy a TV so I can find out what is happening around the world.  I am a farmer and I want to buy a fridge so I can stores cabbages and carrots, I can grow them and then stores and sell and get more income.  The problem at the moment is you can’t keep them fresh.  They are only very attractive when they are fresh, this I when you can sell them for a good price.

My role on the project is to carry sand and carry stones.  I think if I also contribute the electricity will come faster and sooner and I will also benefit.”

Video slideshow: three energy access case studies from Malawi

MEGA Malawi

The Mulanje Electricity Generation Authority micro-hydro project in Malawi is a sustainable and ambitious social enterprise - aiming to tackle the dual challenges of sustainability and scale.

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