Malawi update

PAIGE PFLUEGER (front right), a junior arts student at Arizona State University, and Alison Bryde of Norfolk (front left) painted a mural with help from Malawi students as a gift to the school during this year's mission trip. 

Norfolk Schools in Malawi continues to strike a chord with Northeast Nebraskans.

The school, which graduated 22 students last spring as part of its third commencement ceremony, now has 84 students and seven teachers this fall.

While in Malawi for the graduation ceremony, the school’s founder, Dr. Joe Mtika of Norfolk, also participated in receiving two 40-foot containers shipped by Orphan Grain Train of Norfolk. The containers were filled with Mercy Meals, school supplies, humanitarian relief aid — and a school van that was donated by Cornhusker Auto of Norfolk.

More than 15 churches and religious organizations received Mercy Meals, Bibles, clothes, bicycles, beds, mattresses and hygiene kits to distribute to their parishioners. Most of the school supplies, which included 100 desktop computers, were donated by Norfolk Public Schools. Wakefield Public Schools donated 20 laptops that the students of Norfolk Schools in Malawi use, especially for those taking the ACT.

Mtika and his wife, Jayne,were joined by Paige Pflueger and Alison Bryde of Norfolk. Pflueger, a junior arts student at Arizona State University, painted a mural with help from Bryde and other Malawi students as a gift to the school during this year's mission trip.

In July and August, two school teachers from Norfolk Schools of Malawi came to attend training at Northeast Community College in Norfolk, thanks to two scholarships provided by the Northeast Community College Foundation. The two teachers stayed with host families during their training and met community and educational leaders in Norfolk, which is a sister city of Blantyre, Malawi. The partnership between the two cities came into existence as a result of the work of Norfolk Schools in Malawi.

More collaboration continues in the area that has seen the involvement of Norfolk Public Schools, Christ Lutheran, Norfolk Catholic High, Northeast Community College and Wayne State College, which is exploring providing additional education opportunities in Malawi.

Dr. Joe Mtika said he thanks God for Norfolkans and Northeast Nebraskans for their continued interest in providing education to Malawian students, both in Malawi and also in Northeast Nebraska. This fall, there are 19 students from Malawi at Northeast Community College, 17 of whom went through Norfolk Schools of Malawi, and three at Wayne State College, two of whom went through NSM.

Mtika continues to seek host families and sponsors for students in the Norfolk area to help cut their costs in their first year of living in America.

“I thank God for the community of Norfolk and their compassionate spirit,” he said. “While many more students that graduated this year are still trying and waiting for a student visa, four are already here, with two more arriving soon.”

* * *

Want to learn more?

Those who are interested in hosting students should contact First Presbyterian Church at 402-371-1635.

In other news

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — In 1959, Ronald Erwin McNair walked into a South Carolina library. The 9-year-old aspiring astronaut wanted to check out a calculus book, but a librarian threatened to call the police if he didn’t leave. McNair was black.

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. (AP) — Defense Secretary Mark Esper used his first-ever visit to a nuclear missile field in frigid North Dakota to tout the Trump administration’s multibillion-dollar plan for a top-to-bottom modernization of the nuclear arsenal. The costly project is necessary, he…

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese health officials expressed new optimism Thursday over a deadly virus outbreak while authorities in South Korea’s fourth-largest city urged residents to hunker down as vacillating fears nagged communities far from the illness’ epicenter.

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (AP) — A Virginia man held a suspect who was trying to steal goats from his farm at gunpoint until authorities could arrive to make an arrest, authorities said.