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December 14, 2010

Holidays are approaching, and although the fanfare in Malawi comes nowhere close to what I assume is happening at home, you can tell that there are preparations afoot here as well.

After spending the last four months working in the Malawi Water and Sanitation sector, my letter to Santa this year is pretty short.  In fact, it has just one thing on it.  I’m asking for development strategies that answer tough questions, and don’t bend to the pressures of foreign donor wants and demands.

You’re probably thinking, “That’s a pretty tough one, eh?”   (or possibly “what in the world is she talking about?)

Well, read on.

As part of EWB’s annual outreach campaign, I have posted My Perspective on this issue.  The idea behind the campaign is that all of you out there (as many people as I can possibly find) click on this link, and take a read.  Once you’ve had a look, I want to hear your thoughts, challenges and ideas back, and if you also think that this perspective is valuable, you can show your support by making a contribution to our work.

I’m already greatly appreciative of all the support I have personally received from friends and family this year, as I headed through a pretty big transition, so it is not easy for me to ask for this one more thing.   However, now that I’m here in Malawi I don’t think I’ve ever felt stronger about the importance of this issue, and having a solid understanding of what increased financial support would mean for the goals that our team is trying to achieve, makes it even more important.

Finally, support from my friends and family back home for the work that I am doing means more to me than you could ever know.  Any contribution, no matter how big or small, and every comment, thought or idea shared, will bring more smiles to my face and joy to my heart than just about anything else you could possibly do this holiday season (except maybe if you showed up here yourself on Christmas day) .

Here’s the link again, in case you missed it the first time:

Thank you so much for your thoughts and consideration.  Warmest wishes, from the warm heart of Africa,


Ps I also encourage you to check out Bobby the Broken Borehole’s Perspective – definitely worth the read if you have a few extra moments.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Pat Dunstan permalink
    December 14, 2010 10:47 pm

    How does one make a donation? I certainly admire your commitment and caring, Alyssa. Take care.( P.S. I would LOVE to pop in for a surprise Christmas visit but that just won’t happen.) I’ll be thinking of you, tho”. Love you and what you’re doing. Pat

    • December 15, 2010 7:52 am

      Hi Mrs. Dunstan. To make a donation, you have to go to: and click the ‘donate now’ button.

      I’ll be thinking about all of you on christmas eve/this sunday night too. Those two services are some of my favourite parts of the holidays. We sang Once in Royal David city at church last week and I immediately thought of the candlelight service.

      thanks for all of your comments and thoughts you’ve shared all year through. I really look forward to coming back the day after I’ve posted something and seeing what you thought!

      Happy Holidays,


  2. Anne Tipler permalink
    December 15, 2010 4:16 am

    Alyssa, I am so inspired by your work and your reflections. Thank you for all you are doing! Merry Christmas!

    • December 15, 2010 7:59 am

      Thanks Mrs. Tipler! Merry Christmas wishes to your whole family, I hope you have a safe and happy holiday (and possibly get to do some x-country skiing for me?).

  3. Vera Kozel permalink
    December 15, 2010 4:51 am

    Well Alyssa I am so very proud of the work you and your team are doing and I was wanting to donate to a cause where the admin did not take 60-90% so I shall make my donation to Engineers Without Borders. I Love you & wish you a Healthy & Happy Christmas – we’ll miss you terribly Xmas Eve.

    • December 15, 2010 8:21 am

      Awww.. I’m going to miss you a bunch on Christmas eve too! It seems pretty wierd thinking about celebrating that night anywhere else. Please give big hugs and all my love to the entire crew.

      Not sure if you saw on the site, but for every dollar donated to EWB, 87 cents goes directly to programs in Canada and Africa.

      Thanks so much for your generous donation!

      • December 15, 2010 8:24 am

        and I should add that 100% of donations from the perspective campaign are going directly to our African Program work in Sub-Saharan Africa (rather than our advocacy and outreach programs in Canada, which are also very important!).

  4. Holly Lindsay permalink
    December 20, 2010 11:41 pm

    We are so proud of you. We think of you often. Cheers!

    • January 4, 2011 12:44 pm

      Thanks Holly!

      Hope you and Mark had a wonderful Christmas, a great 2 year anniversary, and a terrific start to the new year!

      Happy 2011!


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