Quite a lot has happened since my last blog post. The major thing being that due to circumstances beyond my control, I have had to change sites from the hot beautiful beaches of Nkhata Bay to the chilled, serene hills of Dedza. As much as I will miss the life and smiles of Kuwirwi Village, I cannot emphasize how much I am looking forward to living and working in Dedza.
Let me share a quick background of my new community. Well, my new village is just 40 minutes, give and take, away from Dedza town. It is the ‘home’ of potatoes, with 70% of the households involved in some way with potato farming. The village is quite rich when it comes to the academics that it harbors. Both the Malawi College of Forestry and Cjongoni Technical College are surrounding my village, so it’s no real surprise that the locals here are ecstatic when it comes to the introduction of new development, especially through the Education sector.
I have been here a mere fortnight, but I already feel at home. The adjustment has been much smoother and easier than I expected. For starters, my house situation is, for lack of a better phrase, pretty darn amazing. My neighbors are really cool too; they have made me feel more than welcome. Every other morning, I wake up with a bag of potatoes at my door step. And if it’s not potatoes, it’s maize. Basically, I’m about to put on a whole lot of weight thanks to my new community. I’m pretty sure in some language, the name of my village probably means ‘hospitality’.
I have spent most of my time trying to better understand my surroundings. Both the people and the environment itself. I take random walks on an everyday basis, getting lost along the way, but hey, it’s all part of the experience. The tranquil nature of the hills that surround the village make it easy to zone out and stay at peace. It’s no wonder that the locals here are almost always positive and happy. It’s hard to not be.
On the work front, I’ve managed to have a couple of meetings including one with the village leaders and another scheduled this week, with the school committees. As a whole, we are working on narrowing down a project, but the community is very excited about things to come and is more than willing to work hand in hand with CorpsAfrica.
My short time here has blazed past. What I have learned is that the village has the resources, and the people have the knowledge, what they just lack is the facilitation, and hopefully I can be the missing piece to the puzzle. I am looking forward to everything both I and my community have to offer each other. It’s all really exciting.