With so much time on my plate, how to spend it became a daily problem I had to solve. During my first days of service I saw many hours being wasted, which left me feeling useless and unsatisfied. However, I decided to trade my boredom, frustrations, and idleness with teaching at the primary school right opposite of where I live.
I have been teaching for about two weeks now, and just like the beginning of everything new, I started with high energy and the dream of being loved by my students. Last week I started reading “I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban.” This book triggered a lot of emotions and questions from inside of me. I asked myself questions like, “What motivated me to go school?,” “Did I even enjoy going to school?,” and “What were my expectations from the knowledge I have gained from my education?”
After reflecting some on these questions, I realized that for me, like many other people, I simply went to school to get my parents off my back and make them happy. However, maybe if I would have been more like Malala, I would have gotten better grades. Anyway, I decided I would ask my students similar questions to find out how much they love school and if they would go an extra mile to see themselves be educated.
After delivering my lessons the following day, a few of my students allowed me to ask them the questions that were flowing in my mind.
Me: What do you enjoy at school?
Students: Speaking, learning, eating popcorn, playing.
Me: What if someone took away your right to go to school?
Students: Zosatheka!!!! I’ll continue to go.
Me: What if someone threatened to kill you and ordered you to stop going to school?
Students: Iiiiiiiiiiih! It would depend (and they started laughing).
Sadly, as much as these students know that education is one of their basic rights, they fail to fathom that the road to education is not easy for all people. In Malawi, many of our communities are failing to help young ones realize, and fight with determination, whatever obstacles they face that force them to drop out of school. It is time to not only tell these young ones that education is their right, but also that it is time to fight and help themselves gain their right to stay in school. As I serve as a volunteer here in Malawi, I hope I inspire my students and help them realize the beauty of education, and that not all children are as lucky as them to be in school.