The Wisdom of Malawian Grandmothers, with Dr. Jocelyn McGee

On Saturday, June 23, Dr. Jocelyn McGee shared stories of resilience she received from elders living in rural villages in Malawi, Africa. Dr. McGee, who was born and raised in Oklahoma, is on faculty at Baylor University. Her research program emphasizes global health, culture, and aging. In 2014, Dr. McGee founded the Malawi Resilience Project to assist elders who are the primary caregivers of orphans whose parents died from HIV/AIDS. Many of the elders are widowed grandmothers who struggle daily to survive while taking care of multiple orphans. These grandmothers are living beacons of loving kindness. Their wise words serve as a call towards greater compassion for ourselves, our families, our communities, our nation, and the world.

Following the lecture, Norman Cultural Connection introduced a service project to support these Malawian elders. Norman Cultural Connection and Dr. McGee are collaborating on a service project with the Othakarhaka Foundation in Malawi to provide tin roofs for elders whose thatch roofs have been destroyed. There are an estimated 53 elders hoping for roofs, and the cost to provide a roof is estimated at $150. The materials will be obtained in Malawi and local people will be used for the construction projects. So far, we have raised funds for about half of the roofs to be replaced! We will continue to collect funds, as we hope to fund the replacement of as many roofs as possible before the rainy season begins in November.