Choosing the Waters for Sanity

Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Ms. Lonney Banda

It is a well-known fact that water plays a major role in our lives and that without it, there are zero chances of our existence. When I was told about my site the immediate thought that came to mind was Lake Malawi. Being someone from the central region who has visited the lake not more than five times, I knew I was bound to have a great time. It was a surprise to me how the whole time my host mother talked about the lake being useful, she only mentioned fishing and washing. On the contrary, I envisioned it as a place where I could find peace in the steady waters and perhaps have a quiet time.

My weeks in the community are usually fun as I have made it a point to visit Liuzi beach once or twice a week. Liuzi is not very far from where I stay. It is an environment where I meditate and remind myself of the reasons I embarked on this volunteer journey. I now have a great appreciation of the book ‘Blue Mind’ by Wallace Nicholas. Wallace explains the remarkable benefits of being near water on our health and well-being. He shows how proximity to water can improve performance, increase calm, diminish anxiety, and increase professional success.

I am also lucky to have met a great friend Sibongile, who lives by the lake side. She has helped me understand my community better and she is also a great tutor as I am now able to understand some conversations in Tonga (the local language). Sibongile is a mentor for Tiyanjane club, a club for girls who are below the age of 18. She provides guidance on sexual reproductive health, dangers of teenage pregnancies and early marriages, as these are some of the major challenges that adolescent girls are facing in my community. I am currently working with this lovely lady to mentor the girls in Tiyanjane club.

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