Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Mr. Lusekelo Simwela
The hills are alive again. It is green everywhere, from the endless fields of maize to the miombo trees covering the slopes, to the grass both long and short. The hills are alive; that was the first thing I noticed when I first got to my site. Strange as it looked I loved it. The hills however were not alive for long, soon the rain stopped, the maize was harvested, the grass was cut and some of it burned and it became cold. It was so cold I once wore three shirts and a jacket just to keep warm. It was so cold I thought I had wasted my money buying a fan. But that did not last either as the cold slowly went away.
I welcomed the sun I craved its warmth. But just like the cold before it too became unbearable. It was too hot, I remembered my fan, my baby. It worked, sometimes on the few days that were cool enough for it not to blow even warmer air towards me. The trees became brown then, the grass was even browner, it felt like I had been transported to another place till one day.
The sky grew dark even though it was noon and the skies opened up. I saw the land transform. As one tree after another started to turn green. The fields were tilled once more and maize was planted. The hills were alive again. A complete circle, a testament of what I had gone through. For I too changed. I went from living in Lilongwe with my family to Makanani Mwanza. I got there without knowing a single person, I lived among them through the cold winters, the harsh summers, through the meetings and interviews. I worked with them, ate with them. I felt their happiness the same way they felt mine, shared in their sadness and their sorrows. I celebrated in their triumphs as there were mine too. I became one of them, from having a happy family back home to having one here in Makanani, Mwanza.
A full year, full of experiences and I will never replace or forget. But just as everything else, this too has come to an end. Today I walked around my site saying goodbye to the chiefs and different people. I got to the last house. The house belongs to a man I worked closely with on my shallow well project. I had spent a lot of days at his house from the very first weeks of my service. He has five children the youngest of which is Verina. She was barely three months old when I first saw her.
She hated me; she would cry every time I wanted to carry her, she even peed on me once. She however slowly warmed up to me. I finished my goodbyes and I left and she followed me all the way to the road. I had to cross the road as I had to go to my host family and I waved her goodbye and she started crying uncontrollably. The mom came to comfort her and I walked away to the sound of her sobs. It broke my heart.