Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Ms. Ireen Kanjala
Meeting new people is not very difficult. Getting to know people and maintaining a relationship with them is not difficult either, but it’s rather challenging. This is why I am happy when I make a long-lasting impression on people enough to make them my friends. When I first came to my community I was clueless on how to make new friends. When I volunteered to teach at the local primary school I wasn’t sure the children would like me enough to make me their friend and welcome me in their lives outside of school.
Months later, I am happy to say I made so many friends at the school more particularly Kristopher, who has been a friend throughout my service. I met Kristopher at the local primary school and he has since become a good friend. Kristopher is a sixteen-year-old standard 6 boy who has taught me that no effort is too small to bring change and happiness in one’s life.
Kristopher is a third born of five children. He lives with both his parents and four siblings. His family relies on farming for both food and income. His father owns over 10 acres of land and uses about 2 acres to grow maize, vegetables and cash crops like cassava, sweet potatoes and groundnuts.
Kristopher inherited over 3 acres from his late grandparents. He made a choice to farm on the land to help provide for his family’s needs as well as his own. He pays his own school fees and buys farm necessities and basic household necessities.
Last year, Kristopher harvested 11 bags of maize but gave it all to his father because he did not harvest enough to sustain the family. When I asked him why he gave up all his harvest he simply said “He is my father, there is nothing I would not do for him”. I knew that those words though not many, they were embedded with so much love and respect.
Kristopher’s family makes me feel welcome into their home and frequently take me to their farm. He brings me fresh food from the farm and shares with me his hopes and dreams; for his future and his family. I love the support I get from them and most importantly the life lessons I am gaining from my new friend.