Short biography of Bro. Wladimir Henk van Heck

by Bro. Andrew Makocho. Summary:

= Bro Wladimir was born on 26 October, 1929 in a town of Veghel in the Netherlands
= His full names were Wladimir van Heck Henricus Gerardus Maria
= He was a second born in a family of five, four boys and one girl
= Bro. Wladimir made his final commitment in the congregation of FIC brothers on 15th august,1951
= After profession, he taught in the primary school while at the same lime studying for a higher School certificate
= The General Superior of the congregation requested his services at Saint Michielsgestel in Den Bosch in Holland
= He soon displayed expertise in speech training and was asked to teach give some seminars on speech training in Latin American Countries
= He was to remain at Saint Michielsgestel for 25 years
= In 1980, when he was over fifty years old, he was asked to go to the mission in Malawi.
= He remains the last Dutch brother sent from Holland to help improve deaf Education in Malawi.
= Bro. Wladimir arrived by KLM at 2.OO pm at Chileka airport on 21st November, 1980
= Bro Hubrecht had driven five deaf boys and girls to welcome him at the airport and brought him to to Maryview Community
= His was appointed as coordinator for the two deaf schools of the FIC brothers in Malawi. He changed the language of instruction in the deaf schools from English to Chichewa. He noticed that the deaf pupils experienced communication problems with their parents and relatives during holidays because they spoke no English
= However, this modification placed a heavy burden on him to learn Chichewa so as to monitor Progress. Fortunately for him, he mastered Chichewa with astonishing speed and even quoted Proverbs.
= In his work at the Audiology clinic, he discovered that many deaf pupils returned home with little assistance and need for a third school was necessary. Its compelled him to seek funds to build a third school at Mountain-view from 1998 and opened in 2000
= Despite the huge commitment to the deaf in the classroom, he explored the nearby villages and was overwhelmed by the abject poverty of the people
= He slowly built a team of trusted people from the villages he visited and regularly received reports of progress of the sick. It is on record that he covered an average of twenty kilometers everyday of walking after finishing classroom work. His works of charity extended over the years and embraced paying hospital bills, paying school fees, helping people get fertilizer, food, clothing and seed for sowing.
= In the last four years, he scaled down his visits to the villages and relied on his team of volunteers. Recently he had been struggling to provide food to the hungry of the surrounding villages as maize was scared.
= When it became very clear that Bro Wladimir was getting older, the Provincial superior asked him Some four years ago, he was asked if he was interested in repatriating. Bro. Wladimir told the superior that his heart is with the people of Malawi and it would make no meaning to abandon then. He got so concerned with his community of brothers and kept asking that it is his wish that he does not become a burden to his brothers.
= A group of destitute orphans and elderly women and men are now without direction with his departure. Before he closed his eyes, he had finished building twenty houses for village people that got affected with the floods
= Bro. Wladimir suffered from a reflex which complicated itself into an enduring Mood pressure. He had been getting his tablets from the Netherlands but a generic version of the same existed in Malawi. The doctors certified his medication and kept his sickness under control.
= He died peacefully in his sleep in the early hours of Friday, 11"'. March, 2016. Bro. Wladimir has taught us to be captivated by the suffering and joys of the people. God blessed those that are honest to God and his people. With St. Paul, (see 2 Tim 4: 7) we would conclude that Bro. Wladimir darted the race and he has completed it successfully.