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28.01.2016 03:11:56 8474x read.
Malawi Province: A Province with Boots Too Big to Fill.

MALAWI Province: A Province with Boots Too Big to Fill.
It is believed that when the FIC brothers came to Malawi in 1960 they were purposely coming for apostolate; formation was not an item on their agenda. Late Bro. Thomas Lechner of blessed memory, is recognized as having initiated the formation programme in the early years. Due to the fact that formation of the locals was not a priority for the brothers we are tempted to think that there was little commitment and support to the cause, hence early attempts bore no tangible fruit. Much later in the 80’s Tom Lechner, Piet Leenders and Frans Turkenburg devotedly toiled in formation work and their labour bore a big fruit (also literally) when Bro. Andrew Makocho made his first vows as the first Malawian FIC brother in 1984. Look at the gap! This was 24 years after the arrival of the first Dutch brothers. The formation of local members or the lack of it has influenced the current situation of the Malawi Province one way or the other. This in my view, is the reality.
The Present with a View to the Future
Over the years the brothers took upon themselves enormous apostolic works (Teacher Training, Secondary Education and Special Needs) against a dwindling number of members. How admirable that the FIC Brothers were trailblazers in the field of Special Needs Education in Malawi. We salute Brothers Hortensius Meeuws, Ludwin Speth, Kees (Rudolf) van Oudehesden, Maurus Colignon and Hubrecht van de Ven (may their souls rest in peace) who were passionately committed to this field of education. Presently we are still directly responsible for Mua, Maryview and Mountain View schools for deaf children and the Maryview School for the Blind. The ideal situation would be to have an FIC brother on the staff of these schools. However we get solace that the first Malawian brother, Andrew Makocho is currently a lecturer at the Montfort Special Needs College, a remnant of the then Montfort Teachers’ College. Maintaining our visibility and keeping the FIC candle burning at this college is vital for it remains the one and only institution that provides training to teachers of special needs education in Malawi.  
In the early 90’s the FIC Brothers were asked to take over the Mitengo Technical College in the rural tea growing district of Thyolo. Of late as brothers we face challenges of providing leadership at the college. With only one brother on the staff making our impact and providing the FIC vision is no easy task. This is another worthy apostolate where we plan to partner with government so as to ease the financial and staffing burden.
My opinion is that St Patrick’s Secondary School remains a source of national pride for the Brothers FIC in Malawi. Though currently there is no brother working in this school there is much hope that in future we shall have several brothers on the staff. The Provincial Chapter of 2006 resolved that this school should be turned into a private school. In my opinion if this decision is implemented the Malawian brothers can concentrate their energy in providing quality secondary education which still remains a big need in the country. Realistically it is difficult to believe that we shall have a good number of brothers in special needs education in the near or distant future. We need more collaboration with lay people and other religious in this field. Hence St Patrick’s can provide a new vision, a new beginning and a lasting legacy for the contemporary generation of Malawian FIC.
Mzedi, which was once the biggest community is now a shadow of its old glorious past with barely two brothers living there. Formation apostolate offers a lot of hope to the growth of all our Communities. Of latter years quite a good number of young men are showing interest to “come and see” the FIC way of life. We begin to believe that in the near future the formation programme will sprout into full life and provide a healthy nursery that we dearly long for. We are grateful to the Lord that one Mac-Joe Nthemwe started his novitiate on 8th September 2015. This is a positive development and a sign of hope for the future.
We Keep on Building on the Founders’ Vision
As fellow brothers in our four communities of Mzedi, Maryview, Bethel and Mitengo we desire to be brothers of one another and continue nurturing each other in community and at apostolate. With faith we strive to remain committed to the ideals of our Founders and founding fathers of the province. Though we are a small community, like the first Christians, we are determined to keep the FIC spirit healthy and alive in this beautiful country despite the many challenges we face every day. If God is for us who can be against us? 
Pascal Mtuwana, fic

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