Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Ms. Khwima Nyirenda
It’s been four months since I settled in Mzimba district, and it’s been quite an extraordinary four months of my life. I have to say I have done more than I could ever do anywhere else and I can comfortably say I have successfully integrated into my community.
I’d like to talk about my experience with the girls at my site whom I have been mainly working with schools. Boy, have I met amazing school girls with big dreams! I wish I could say the biggest dreams, but no dream is too big. I recently started a pad-making project in my community after I was approached by a female teacher at the primary school. Through this project, I have made 75 new female friends that call me “amama” (mom). My relationship with these girls grew beyond sewing pads because they are a curious bunch (and I love myself some curious girls). We sewed pads and we talk about sexual and reproductive health, but the real conversation started when one standard 5 girl, Sinthani, asked “Kasi degree nivichi?” (What is a degree?). I later learnt that a teacher had left last December to get a “degree” at the University of Malawi, but some of the students never understood what that meant. Sinthani opened a door and let in a swarm of bees with that question. After she felt comfortable to ask this question, questions flew in about degrees, about university, why go to university, and how to get there.
These questions have not stopped, even after the pad-sewing project ended a while ago. You see, I could tell them to work hard, set goals, be determined, be great, no boyfriends (that’s what I say actually), but the truth is we need a little more investment to make the ”work hard, set goals, be determined, be great, no boyfriends” talk a reality. I mean can you make it without a book to read, career talks, and many other things? For so many girls in my community, and in Malawi, getting an education remains a distant dream, an unattainable ecstasy that hovers beyond reach. BUT, it doesn’t have to be that way if we invest in girls in one way or another.
In my own humanly possible way, I intend to use this opportunity with CorpsAfrica to invest in the girls in Mzimba, and bring attention to my site for YOU to invest in the girls here. Follow my blog on this amazing journey! Happy Women’s month and #March4Women.