Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Ms. Dorothy Mapira
Just like any other person who is commissioned to do some work, “So help me God,” becomes their most favorable phrase. Thinking of the work ahead, one would really say these words as we did on that beautiful night when we took the oath to serve the people in rural communities. The training and all the lessons we learned will now yield something tangible and productive. I embarked on an individual journey to my site. Early on 8 February 2020, I left home on a journey of change, learning, and a new experience in life. It was a journey of leaving my comfort zone to something new that I believe would give me a sense of accomplishment in life. Having traveled for almost five hours from Lilongwe, I arrived at my site.
Mzimba South, down in the north region is where I am based. An area surrounded by rivers at both ends, they popularly call it an island. You can hardly see vehicles and if you are lucky, you can see one once in a month when there is an under five clinic. Darkness at night is undeniable as there is no electricity, and for those who can afford, solar power is an alternative. There is no running water; boreholes are the source of clean water. Having grown up in town where I am not used to carry water on my head, people laugh at how I carry a bucket of water, probably they know the reason why, but I find pleasure in doing so. Since they are of Ngoni culture, rearing animals such as cattle, goats, pigs and chicken is their identity.
I love my community, the people are friendly, and there is a lot to be desired and a lot to work on. One cannot certainly work in all the villages at once, but one village at a time. I believe everyone has a responsibility to change something, and so do I. The change you can bring in the rural desolate area cannot be underrated. I believe that my stay here will serve the intended purpose and bring about the change that is required. My first month in the community was meant for my integration, and learning more from and about the community. I have made friends, both young and old. Looking forward to sharing more experiences as I continue with this journey to influence change in my community.