Reasons to celebrate

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Sarah’s blog 27/12/22

Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas. I just wanted to post a few videos celebrating how wonderful we think the children in Ibuluma are. There are hundreds of them who are malnourished and have suffered varying amounts of trauma but, despite all that they are doing well. They now know that people care about them.

If you have helped us then we thank you. Here are ways you can support us to continue Changing Lives Malawi.

1. Donate to help us build phase 2 of Bright Futures Secondary School (classrooms 3 & 4) https://GoFund.me/44a92444

2. commit a monthly amount of £5 or £10 to support one of our feeding programmes; the nursery, secondary or weekly feeding programme for 500 children.

3. Sponsor a vulnerable child or young person for £25 per month which supports their education and provides a monthly food parcel. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

Thanks for reading and hope you enjoy the videos. I’d be grateful if you could share with others as we try to grow our audience. Thanks, Sarah x

Rugby coaching
no guitar? no problem! let’s make one!
An update from Catherine
Getting used to the new computers in the library. Children are wearing clothes from Strathblane Primary and Riverside Primary Schools in the Stirling area of Scotland.
Food, fun and dancing at the Christmas Party
Chancy thanking his sponsors and telling them he passed his exams
one of the football matches…everyone loves team sports
Trying out the new clippers we sent
Let’s dance!
Laston, one of the sponsored children, asking for a new school. He is doing well now after missing a great deal of school to help a farmer look after his cows for the equivalent of £1.50 per month.

More Gifts at Bright Futures Secondary School

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Sarah’s blog 26/11/22

Things are going well at Bright Futures Secondary School, and everyone is settling into a routine. An holistic approach is taken to changing the lives of these very vulnerable children. How can they sleep if they are cold? How can they learn if they are tired? How can they learn if they are hungry? How can they be confident individuals if they are wearing rags and old clothes?

We have been supporting The Foundation with all of these issues, through a variety of projects, and we are making a difference to the lives of the children. However, it is really difficult when there are 500+ children requiring support whilst the community works towards self-sufficiency. These children need a brighter future. They deserve a bright future. This is why we need your help.

We sent some secondary school uniform, which had been donated, on the last container and Levison gave this to some of the boys yesterday who look very smart. We will probably need to buy skirts for the girls as generally the skirts that teenage girls like to wear to school where I live are slightly too short for the girls in Malawi. More uniform is on the next container that is due to arrive in the next couple of weeks.

The young people at Bright Futures Secondary School are being provided with a hot, nutritious lunch every day at school. They are also able to access the Feeding Programme once a week so, even though these meals are only once a day, that is 6 days out of the week where they are getting a proper, hot, nutritious meal. Families are so poor that lots of the time, children do not have a proper meal every day. If you would like to support the school lunches at Bright Futures Secondary School with a monthly donation, then please do get in touch contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

If you are local to where I live in central Scotland and have any teen boys/men’s black trousers, white shirts or blouses, black jumpers or cardigans, and flat men’s/women’s shoes that are in good, clean condition, then we would be very happy if you were able to donate them. We would also welcome any donations of money to cover the cost of sending boxes on the container. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

The young people were delighted to be given fleecy blankets to help keep them warm at night. Some of the students had smaller blankets…they have already had a blanket gifted to them, so this was an extra one.

Work will be starting soon on the foundations for classrooms 3 and 4. We are so grateful for all the help we have received but we still need your help with providing more classrooms for next year. It’s been amazing what has been achieved and the amount of money that has been raised within such a short time to provide secondary school education, free of charge, for those who are most in need. Anyone who is able to donate £500 or more, can chose to have a name or business name above one of the classroom doors. https://gofund.me/44a92444 to give the gift of education.

The carpenter will start making some desks this week; however, we still need money for desks for the second classroom…approximately £500 is still required to provide desks for everyone in the two classrooms. We also need to provide more textbooks; this will be another £2,000. Thankfully, we did have a grant from The Souter Charitable Trust for £3,000 which purchased a good number of books. Until we have provided enough textbooks, we will keep adding new ones each year when there is money to do so.

So here are photos of some of the students at Bright Futures Secondary School, from yesterday with their new blankets and some with new uniform. I have put the link to yesterday’s post with our fundraising gifts and cards from which all proceeds will go towards Bright Futures Secondary School. Thank you for reading and supporting us to help the children, Sarah x

Christmas Cards & Gifts – Changing Lives Malawi

https://gofund.me/44a92444

Help please for these children

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Sarah’s blog 24/10/22

As I’d said in my post yesterday, I am looking for some help and support for a family whose dad had died suddenly on Saturday. There are three children and their mum, but they’ve lost their main breadwinner. They were living in poverty anyway, but now they are desperate.

Help needed!

It was the burial today and Levison attended with some others from The Foundation. He took cabbages, maize and some small fish for the family and they were very grateful.

There are three children, and I am just as concerned about the eldest boy who is 19 as I am about the younger two children. Vincent never got the chance to finish primary school as he was working to help bring in a pittance to help feed the family. So, he doesn’t even have primary school qualifications and hasn’t had much schooling. He doesn’t have a job and I am worried about his self-esteem, especially now he is the head of the household. Vincent needs a job to keep him busy and to give him self-confidence as well as bringing some money into the home. Hopefully, Levison will be able to talk more with Vincent next time he visits on his way to town.

The younger two are at primary school and really do need sponsors. Mitinala is 14 and must have missed some school too as she’s only in p7. If the family don’t find some help, then Mitinala is at real risk of being married off too soon as her mother won’t be able to feed her. Despite child marriages being illegal, unfortunately, they do still happen. For lots of the girls whom we have already managed to match with sponsors, child marriage was a real risk. By giving them a monthly food parcel at home and keeping them in school, these girls are now safe.

Canani is 9 and in p4. He needs a sponsor to ensue some food goes into their home each month and therefore he will be more likely to stay in school and not have to work. These children need food in their tummies every day so they can concentrate at school. Please will you help them?

I’m looking to get a little team round this family, whether it’s someone sponsoring one of the children or several people giving £5 or £10 a month to give this family a monthly food parcel. What can you do to help today? To sponsor a child, it is £25 per month. They get a monthly food parcel, clothes, soap and stationery, a blanket and welfare visits. You can sponsor as an individual, a family or as two friends splitting the cost. I really hope that these children touch your heart, and you are able to help them even if it’s just a few ££ per month. Please email contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com if you can help us change these children’s lives. Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

Help needed!

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Sarah’s blog 23/10/22

We have some sad news and are hoping that some of our lovely supporters might help us.

The team of builders who have been working hard on Bright Futures Secondary School had the weekend off and went home. Levison heard late yesterday that one of the builders had died suddenly which, of course, has been a big shock. This man had a wife and children, although I don’t have details of the children yet. They are poor people and live in a village on the way to Chitipa town.

The funeral is tomorrow and Levison and a few others will attend. Levison will take some maize for the widow and her children. Although he wasn’t an employee of The Foundation, this family have lost their husband and dad. They no longer have his financial support. We would like to be able to help them like we try to help other families who are in need.

Would anyone be willing to help this family either by sponsoring one of the children when I have more information or by committing to a monthly amount towards a food parcel? You can email me if you can help and, hopefully, we can get a little support team around this family. Thank you, Sarah x

How many kilometres now?

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Sarah’s blog 22/9/22

Lots of people have been busy in the background adding kilometres to the total for our challenge. We are fundraising to build a desperately needed secondary school in rural northern Malawi and decided we would follow one of the routes that the boxes of aid travel. The total route is over 13,000km and we need more people ‘donating’ their kilometres to help us get to our total.

Do your children walk to school? Could they take part and let us know their totals for the week? Do you walk them to and from school? That means you will do double what your children do. Are you walking the dog every day? Or supermarket shopping? We need your kilometres please whether the total is big or small. The more people who help then the quicker we will get to our total. The local newspaper said they will feature our fundraising story every time we get to a significant goal. So please join in and tell us how many kilometres you’ve walked in a day/week. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

A few of the children that the Foundation supports ran 3km yesterday adding to our total. They were delighted to be helping and they also received some new clothes and flipflops too. So, the new total is 4,940.423 km which is 37.59%. Very well done everyone who has helped us so far…and if you’ve not donated any kilometres yet….please can you help us?

We are building Bright Futures Secondary School as there are not enough places available in the secondary schools nearby. Also, young people have to board as it’s too far to walk every day. Secondary education has to be paid for, so it makes it prohibitive for the majority of young people who are supported by the Foundation unless they have sponsors.

The school is being built in phases as we are on a shoestring budget as usual! Two classrooms will be built to start with, and we will add to the school over the next few years. Please will you help? These young people need a way out of poverty… they are desperate for education as they know this is the way to a better future for them and their families.

To donate you can get in touch by email contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com for our bank details or you can donate here https://gofund.me/44a92444 You can make a difference today. We need you to help us continue Changing Lives Malawi. Hope you enjoy the photos and videos of the children running yesterday. All of these children (apart from Catherine) would benefit from being matched with a sponsor, so please get in touch if you’d like to support one of them. Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

The two boys running 3km
The four girls running 3km
These four girls ran 3km and also received some new clothes. Only Catherine (pink top) has a sponsor. If you’d like to be a sponsor email contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com
Chimwemwe and Ivet received new clothes and ran 3km to add to our total. Both need sponsors.

New Clothes & Gifts

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Sarah’s blog 20/09/22

At the weekend, some of the donated clothes were gifted to the children. There is always great excitement on these days and lots of children turn up to receive some new clothes.

Two elderly ladies, Gogo Nandege and Namasachi, regularly come to The Foundation to tell the children traditional stories. Gogo is a respectful term for Grandparent and a married woman can add ‘Na’ as a prefix to her name. They are both very poor but very generous with their time. They were delighted to receive coats, shoes and walking sticks which will help them as they walk to spend time with the children.

All of the children who I have named are very vulnerable and looking for a sponsor. So, if you are able to help one of them, please do get in touch contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com It’s £25 per month to sponsor a child. They receive a monthly food parcel at home to supplement what their family has. They also are gifted clothes, a blanket, soap and school supplies. They get regular welfare checks and are given medicine if they need it. You can sponsor a child as an individual, a family, a business or two friends can share the cost. It might be the most important thing you ever do for one of these children. Please help if you can.

We’ve always said that girls and women don’t wear trousers for cultural reasons. They do in the cities and towns but in the rural areas it is more traditional. However, some of the teenage girls asked if they could try on trousers. Some of them were far too big for the girls but it’s an indication that some of the girls would like to start wearing trousers. From now on we will gratefully accept women’s trousers too.

I hope you enjoy the photos and please do get in touch if you can help by sponsoring a child, supporting the feeding programme with a monthly donation, or paying for a box to go on the container. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com or to donate to our school fundraiser the link is https://gofund.me/44a92444 Thank for reading and supporting, Sarah x

Lots of vulnerable children waiting patiently to receive some new clothes
some of the nursery children receive new clothes

Do you recognise any of these clothes? Thank you again to those who have donated preloved clothes, shoes and money to pay for transport.

nursery children receiving new clothes
A group of children receiving new clothes. All are very vulnerable.
More needy children having received some new clothes.
Teenage girls asking to try on trousers…we will include trousers for them next time as some of these are far too big!
Times are changing as culturally girls and women in rural locations have always been more traditional only wearing skirts or dresses. However, these teenage girls were keen to try on trousers!
These two elderly ladies are very poor but very generous with their time. They come to tell the children traditional stories.
Levison with the two elderly story tellers after they have been gifted coats, walking sticks and shoes. The walking sticks and shoes will make their journey to The Foundation to spend time with the children far easier.
Two little girls from the nursery who will benefit from having a sponsor
Could you sponsor one of these nursery children please?
Shalom would love to have a sponsor. Could you help her?
Fred is needing a helping hand. Please could you sponsor him?
Could you sponsor Rashid? He has missed a lot of school to try to earn some money.

Thoughts & thanks from Levison

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Sarah’s blog 18/08/22

I sometimes think I don’t get across the sheer scale of the difficulties faced by the people that Levison and his team are trying to help in the rural far north of Malawi. When he first wanted to improve the lives of the most vulnerable, he was just thinking about those in his village. However, from reading what he has written below, you can see that people are coming every day begging for help, and walking huge distances to get to The Foundation because they have heard that they won’t be turned away. People do not have food to feed themselves or their families.

In addition to the 500+ children who are fed once a week at The Feeding Programme, the 75 preschool children who are fed three times a week in The Nursery, as well as all the other projects and wonderful things that are happening, there are so many others needing our help. These people are feeling forgotten. There are no other charities or big agencies feeding children in that area. It is a huge responsibility for The Foundation and a huge responsibility for us. That is why we rely on your help. That is why we need you as part of our team.

When you give us preloved clothes and shoes, blankets and soap…you will understand the importance of these when you read Levison’s words. It’s also important that we continue to have the funds to send this aid to the most vulnerable people in rural Northern Malawi. So, if you can, please when you donate clothes, shoes, or anything else to us, could you include some money to cover the cost of sending boxes to The Foundation. Or raise some funds for us to continue this important work. It’s £15 per box on the container. People need our help. We need you to be part of our team. Great things are happening but there is more to do. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com thanks for reading, Sarah x

“Today when I was resting under a small tree to the south of the resource centre, I shed tears when I was looking at the library/shed, the shower block and other structures around. I thought much of where I am coming from in as far my charity work involvement is concerned.

Almost each and every hour we receive people from far places (some even 40km away) coming to the resource centre to ask for help. Men, women, boys and girls come to beg for food, money and clothes. These are people who really seem to be in dire poverty. We usually make sure they get relaxed, we give them food to eat. For those who may be come with some health issues like headache etc we give them painkillers like panado.

We have reserved, food, clothes, soap etc for such emergencies. When we give them the little we have, they shed tears, roll on the ground etc. These tears are tears of joy. These are the blessings we are receiving from these people. Many ask who is behind this initiative. I myself also shed tears when I hear their stories and see how thankful they are.

As a charity organisation we have contributed a lot to the community and are making a difference to the community. We have electricity, people being fed and clothed. Think of the children and women who are HIV positive, we have improved their nutrition status. On behalf of our children I would like to thank you all for your amazing love and support you are giving to us”

Levison Mlambya, 17/08/22
Some of the younger children at The Feeding Programme
Just one of the families who have been helped by The Foundation. This family’s home had been destroyed in the heavy rains. They were given this home to live in by another villager and The Foundation was able to provide food, blankets, new clothes and match two of the children with sponsors so they have two food parcels going into their home each month.
Here they are in their new, clean clothes with a big bag of maize too.
The family with some more gifts of clothes and shoes

Getting ready for school

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Sarah’s blog 26/7/22

As you know, we are trying our best to raise money to build the first block of a secondary school. Bright Futures Secondary School will be a community school for the orphans and other vulnerable young people to attend.

Education should be available for everyone. There are currently not enough places at local secondary schools. If you don’t get picked for a place, even if you have passed your primary leavers exams and can afford the school fees.

This is what happened to eleven of our sponsored young people this year. They are resitting their last year of primary school, hoping for better grades, hoping to be picked for a place.

As the local secondary school is a distance away the young people, who are sponsored and do get a place at school, have to board at school. This adds to costs and also means they aren’t available to help their families with chores.

A secondary school in the village would make such a difference to so many people. Education is their way out of dire poverty – their way to a better future for themselves and their families.

Bricks are being made…about 40,000 so far, and kilns are going to be built soon to fire the bricks.

There are people working hard in Malawi and here to try our best to help these vulnerable children. As well as education, a school will help prevent teenage pregnancies and girls being married off too soon. Already, The Foundation has proved that if the young people are kept busy and given opportunities then there will be far less teenage pregnancies. The young people’s self-esteem has increased as they learn new skills, play team sports with their peers and read in the library. They know people care about them. They have hope for a better future. We need to continue supporting the projects that support them. This is absolutely vital to protect these vulnerable young people.

Here, we are trying to raise funds and awareness. It’s really hard as we know that some people have less available cash. We need to reach a wider group of people and if we all give a little, that will add up to a lot!

Also, we are trying to source supplies to provide for the young people when the school is built. We need to plan ahead as the container takes approximately 3 months for its journey.

There are over 100 chairs at The Bananabox Trust warehouse that we are sending for the first phase of the school. Someone donated boxes of new laptop bags. We are sending 80 of these for the young people to use as school bags. Pencil cases and pens are in boxes too as well as some secondary school uniform.

Stuart, my husband, delivered some boxes and 72 rugby balls to Dundee today and took a photo of all the chairs to show Levison.

I also received a photo from one of our supporters today who put a shout out on her village Facebook page asking for preloved secondary school uniform. People have been very generous as she’s collected a great amount which will kit out some of the pupils who will attend Bright Futures Secondary School.

There’s still so much to do and so much money to raise but we WILL do this. The children are relying on us. So if you can spare a few £££ we would be so grateful. Thank you for reading and supporting, Sarah x

Donate here: https://GoFund.me/44a92444 or get in touch contact_us@changibglivesmalawi.com

The donations that Stuart took to Dundee today including 72 rugby balls from Annan rugby club and Merchiston Castle School. You can see that the warehouse is getting full.
The chairs that we are sending for Bright Futures Secondary School
We are grateful for this huge pile of secondary school uniform donations that we will send for the pupils when they start school

Our website visitors

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Sarah’s blog 24/7/22

Just a short post from me today as I’ve got an issue with my laptop that will hopefully be sorted by tomorrow. It’s times like this that I realise that technology isn’t my forte… but thank goodness for friends who can help.

Douglas & Lynda delivered another load of boxes to Dundee yesterday. Stuart & I spent a couple of hours yesterday packing boxes. The Bananabox Trust shed in Dundee will soon be full again and then they will book another container. It won’t be long until the current one arrives at it’s destination .

Hopefully, I’ll have an update on the kilometre challenge for you tomorrow with some photos too.

So I want to take this opportunity to say ‘thank you’ again to everyone who supports us. We really do appreciate you.

I love this photo from The Foundation Christmas Party where younger children were all given a rain jacket, a pencil and a lolly. Smiles like this are so good to see.

Our website is having visitors from all over the world which is brilliant! This week some of the countries from which people have viewed our website are; Thailand, Spain, U.K., USA, UAE, Canada, Israel, China, Netherlands, Malawi, Ireland, Peru, Zimbabwe, Libya, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia, Antigua and France.

You can keep up to date with the most recent news by signing up to receive my blog. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

On Father’s Day….

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Sarah’s blog 19/6/22

https://changinglivesmalawi.com/2022/06/17/a-family-in-need-of-help/

It’s Father’s Day in the U.K. today. A day for celebration for some, a day for reflection for others and a bittersweet day for others as they remember the fathers who are no longer here.

I’m not going to do a long post today as I’ve been writing quite a lot recently but I just wanted to ask you to spare a thought for the orphans and fatherless children in Malawi who need our help and support.

If anyone of you could help a child, we would be so grateful. £25 a month will give a monthly food parcel, a blanket, clothes, welfare checks and education. That’s only 85p per day. If you cannot afford £25, could you and a friend sponsor a child between you? £12.50 a month each for two people to sponsor a child will change their life. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

I’ll share Mercy’s appeal again in the hope generous sponsors come forward for her and her brother. Thank you, Sarah x

Mercy has had to drop out of school due to lack of funds. She needs someone to sponsor her so she can complete her last two years of school.

Mercy’s mum is on her own with two children. Her son is disabled. Please could someone sponsor him to make their lives just a little bit easier?

It’s a great day for Brighton!

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Sarah’s blog 7/6/22

I’m so pleased to be able to share the news that little Brighton Ng’ambi has a sponsor. I have been emailing with a lady today who has kindly offered to be the helping hand that Brighton needs. Thank you so much! We appreciate all our sponsors…it’s not easy for some to set aside £25 every month to commit to sponsoring a child. But it might be the most important thing anyone has ever done for them. We understand it is a big commitment which is why we say that two friends can sponsor a child together if they would like.

Brighton, an orphan, now has the helping hand he needs. He will receive clothes, a blanket, welfare checks and a monthly food parcel as well as being encouraged to access the weekly feeding programme. The gift of sponsoring a child is priceless. More food means better concentration and growth. A blanket means a better sleep. New clothes means more confidence and self-esteem. All of these together add up to better school attendance and learning and a happier healthier child.

As well as the Feeding Programme, children have access to the library with lots of lovely books to read and are being taught how to use computers (although there is no internet yet as that is an extra cost we cannot afford at the moment). They are encouraged to learn life skills like growing crops, cooking, sewing and knitting, basket making, mat weaving and brick making. They also learn to care for the chickens and goats. Children are cared about holistically and love to play team sports when they are at The Foundation; football, netball, rugby and also hockey.

So on behalf of Brighton, and all the other sponsored children, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. You are making a difference. You are helping us continue Changing Lives Malawi. There are lots of other children waiting for a sponsor so please get in touch if you would like to be part of our team of sponsors contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com You can change a life today. We will update you about Brighton when we can. Thank you for reading and your support, Sarah x

Yay! Good news for Brighton. He has a sponsor! Thank you!

A little boy in need of your help – Brighton Ng’ambi

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Sarah’s blog 5/6/22

Levison has visitors every day. People in need who are looking for work or food or clothes. He can’t always help but if he can help then he will. Everyone is welcome at The Foundation. Levison and his team always try their best.

Little Brighton Ng’ambi turned up this morning. He doesn’t usually come to The Foundation. He was clearly traumatised, malnourished, wearing rags, dirty and with lice in his hair. He has been orphaned and is living with relatives. Either they aren’t financially able to look after him or he is just being left to fend for himself. He has told Levison that some days he eats once a day…other times he just has to look in bushes to see if he can find any fruit to eat.

Levison will go to talk to the people he is living with to see whether it’s best for Brighton to stay there or if Levison should find a kindly person in the village to foster him.

Brighton was taken to have a shower by one of the volunteers, Charity Banda, to have the lice and dirt washed from his hair. (They will shave his hair for him another day). Brighton was then given new clothes that had been donated and Levison took him to the library, where it was quiet, so he could eat his lunch. He told Levison that he didn’t expect all this.

This little boy’s story has touched my heart. There are many, many more children like Brighton who need our help, who need your help. We work hard to improve the lives of the hundreds of orphaned and vulnerable children whom The Foundation helps. This is our passion. To change lives. To bring hope. To give these children the gift of education. A chance to reach their potential.

Will you help Brighton? Please? He needs a sponsor to be a helping hand. It’s only £25 per month to sponsor a child. That will mean he has a monthly food parcel wherever he is living, and a blanket and new clothes. Individuals can be a sponsor. Families can sponsor. Two friends can share the cost of sponsoring a child. Or even a club or business can sponsor a child…it’s only 85p per day to change a life. Can you help Brighton today? Can you change his life? Thank you for reading, Sarah x contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

Brighton Ng’ambi is an orphan living with relatives and fending for himself

Brighton sometimes eats once a day…other days he has to look in bushes for a bit of fruit
Brighton was traumatised, hungry, dirty and with head lice in his hair

Brighton had a shower and was given new clothes and shoes
Brighton couldn’t believe he was given a lovely lunch…some days he goes without food….other days he just eats once.

One of the volunteers, Charity Banda, helps Brighton to get rid of the lice in his hair.
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