Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Ms. Ireen Kanjala
It’s been four months since I came to this community, and I am loving the experience. I have gotten so attached and have fallen in love with so many things during the process of making this place home. It is amazing how optimism can be so motivating and rewarding. I would like to briefly share with you the five things I love about my community (not in any order).
1. The Youth’s Energy
When I arrived in this community I received such a warm welcome from the youth. They honestly motivate me because they seem so eager to take charge of developing their community. It is wonderful having meetings with such great attendance and participation; they make me look forward to what the future holds for Malawi! I also love the time I spend with the girls. They make it so hard not to miss them when I’m away, and they keep me busy with stories and discoveries. I love it!
2. Walks In My Community
I enjoy my walks through the community, my favorite being the 20-minute walk to and from the school where I volunteer. Though occasionally I appreciate the bicycle ride offers too. I have discovered that these walks are a great way to meet people. I enjoy the company and the stories I share with strangers who over time have become my friends.
3. Interacting With Kids
Kids are fun to be around because I love their laughter and the games they play. They have the freshest ideas and the most tiring games! But a little sweat never hurt anybody. I recently just learned how to play kumenya nguli (hitting a spinning wood top), and I love the way it gets me excited.
It’s not all about fun and games though. Teaching and mentoring the kids has been a huge reason why my service is wonderful. I really love the time I spend with them, inside and outside of the classroom.
4. Culture and Tradition
This is one of most intriguing things I love about my community. I am learning so much about the Chewa culture, which also happens to be my native culture. I thought I knew enough about it, but after being in my community for some time I realized I knew nothing. I feel so enlightened after getting a first class seat into this culture and am finally taking the time to learn it all. I am happy to say I AM PROUDLY CHEWA.
5. The Eye For Sustainable Agriculture
Most of my community’s livelihood depends on agriculture, with their most grown food crops being cassava, sweet potatoes, and groundnuts. These also coincidentally happen to be my favorites! The community members have been adopting more advanced agricultural methods to improve the soil fertility by planting nitrogen fixation trees.
A few months ago, I was clueless about this community. Now I am happy to say I call it my home. The connections and linkages I am making with the people and organizations here are continuously making me feel comfortable and most of all proud to be part of this community. I am looking forward to discovering more of my favorite things.