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Renewed Hope in the Aftermath of Cyclone Ana

June 22, 2022
Felesta with her son and grandchildren.
Felesta with her son and grandchildren.
World Renew

On January 24, 2022, Cyclone Ana hit Malawi, bringing heavy rain and causing flooding that washed away houses and destroyed crops. The cyclone was followed closely by a series of hurricanes that resulted in further destruction.

Felesta Reji is a widow, a mother, and a grandmother. She tragically lost one of her three sons before the flooding, and she became the caretaker of his three orphaned children. Before Cyclone Ana hit, Felesta lived with the three children in the village of Kambuzi on a compound she shared with her two surviving sons and their families. Felesta owned her own home and farmed her own plot of land.

“I lived well,” she says proudly, “and was able to provide food for my whole family. I could sell some of my produce for household necessities and buy seed for future plantings.”

But Cyclone Ana and the subsequent hurricanes changed all that for Felesta and her extended family. The flood swept away her home and all of their belongings, and it destroyed all of her crops.

Like many other families who lost their homes in the flood, Felesta sought refuge at Chapomoka camp, where she found shelter in a school for herself and the children. They had no food or belongings except for the clothing they wore when they arrived.

With funding from the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, World Renew has partnered with Eagles, a local faith-based development and relief organization, to provide three monthly food distributions to the displaced families at Chapomoka camp. The first distribution of food baskets took place in April, providing families with maize flour, beans, cooking oil, and salt. After three months in the camp, Felesta has been able to move back to her village. Because her home was completely washed away, she and her grandchildren now live with one of her sons and his family. He was able to find a home just a kilometer away from Chapomoka camp.

“We are so thankful to World Renew for the food we received,” she says, smiling. “We had nothing to eat, and this helps us survive until we can farm again.”

Felesta has already started to do odd jobs for others: harvesting millet crops for food and income. She hopes to make enough money, to buy seed, a few banana trees, and farm implements—and to eventually rebuild her home. 

“I am happy to work hard harvesting millet. I want to farm my own land to provide for my family,” she says.

She has the same hopes and dreams for her family: “I want my children and grandchildren to work hard too, because God will bless their hard work and be with them.”

“My faith remains strong,” Felesta states. “I pray, always, that God will continue to bless me and my family and to bless you as well. I am grateful for the food; it will keep me strong until I am again able to return to farming.”

Felesta’s story is a shining example of courage and faith—a true testament that our God is a faithful God, even in times of adversity.