Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Ms. Eliza Chanika
Coronavirus has hit the world with approximately millions of people infected, thousands dead, and hundreds of new cases daily. People are living in fear with schools, markets, and churches closed. Mobility is restricted unless you are in the category of those permitted, like health workers, firefighters, or the police. People are desperate, scared, and afraid of the virus. Just a few days ago, the President of Malawi issued a 21-day lockdown to try to control the spread and maybe it will not hit Malawi hard. Markets now are busy places with everyone running up and down trying to get enough food for his family in preparation for the lockdown coming in a few days.
The virus has indeed disturbed our daily routines and soon it will shake our economy. My community is among the affected. Every now and then I see people running up and down, discussing the virus, sharing their fears, worries and concerns. One day, as I was seated under the mango tree, one of the students I was teaching at the local community day secondary school passed by. We had a conversation and it was like this:
“Will schools open again? Will we be able to play football again and engage in our club ?”
“Yes soon, as long as we control the spread maybe the cure will be known soon.”
He is not the first nor the last to ask questions about the virus and I believe his questions were from deep down.
“How can we keep our community safe? What can we do to reduce the spread?” A young lady spoke up, commenting on the conversation we were having. “We can do something as a community, we can change things.” She proposed that we meet.
That was the beginning of the Girl’s Club. We established the club to help our community to raise awareness on the information of the virus. We decided to take an initiative and do a door-to-door awareness campaign. Asking people to keep social distance and avoid crowded places, to always wash their hands with soap or ashes and always stay safe. Encouraging good sanitation and hygiene wherever they go. Now my community has adopted the new culture to fight against the virus. The prevention guidelines are now songs in my community, day in and day out.
In addition to that, as a club we also tackle issues that affect our daily lives as girls. How to achieve academic excellence, career guidance, entrepreneurship, sexual reproduction including HIV and AIDS, proper morals in relation to our culture, and we also do special games to keep our bodies in good physical shape.
We are in our community and as a girls club we will continue to stand against the virus. I must say indeed one hand can pull ten but two hands can pull twenty. My community is being pulled out by the decisions made by a few and we will continue to fight against the virus till the end.