Friends of Blossom: Elaine and Peter Zakreski

Malawi Nurses

One of the most intricately detailed paintings in The Blossom Project series is destined for Malawi. We are sending it to the nurses of Kamuzu Central Hospital on the outskirts of Lilongwe, Malawi. However, Malawi was one destination country where we chose not to rely on postal services, so we started looking for another delivery option.

The Blossom Project has taught us that the world has gotten smaller — in a good way — and that a rich network of community links tie our own backyard to every corner of the world.

Meet Elaine and Peter Zakreski. Through some friends here in our western Canadian city we heard about this pair of local retirees who first visited southern Africa in 2006 as tourists. They were struck by the beauty and cultural richness of the land and people; and also struck by the barriers that keep too many in Africa from realizing their boundless potential. However, it was a chance meeting on the flight home that would bring the Zakreskis back to Africa and steered their retirement to a different destination.

Five years on, the Zakreskis provide the central fundraising support for a rural healthcare clinic in the Domasi area of Malawi. The clinic serves 3,000 villagers, and is linked to numerous other projects, especially water wells. For the full story on the Zakreskis’ work, you can visit their website, Hope for Malawi. Please consider donating while you are there.

The Zakreski’s travel to Malawi each May, bringing with them everything from medical supplies to soccer balls donated by local retailers. And they’ve agreed to take our painting and deliver it to the nurses.

Nursing in Malawi is a tremendously demanding occupation. The country continues to carry the brunt of the AIDS epidemic in the region, yet healthcare resources are among the most meager anywhere. Nurses who go abroad for training are no doubt tempted not to return to such difficult circumstances. And yet they do return. We’ve seen pictures of the children’s ward there and we can imagine the painting on a certain wall that already has some lovely artwork beautifying an important workplace. Thank-you, nurses of Malawi, and thank-you, Elaine and Peter!

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