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The Story of the Spear, the Club, and the Dry Spell

Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Mr. James Matipwiri

As the legend of our ancestors narrates the life of hunting and gathering for survival in their era, the DNA still lives among youths in my community. I’ve curiously listened to the stories that my host brother and dad keep telling me about how it was in the past, and how it is today. In the past, a normal day meant that young boys would gather their weapons and hounds and go hunting in the nearby forests. The forests at that time used to have many kinds of animals, but now only a few species exist. Today, it is no longer easy for these young boys to find an animal and make the kill for food. On average it can take up to four hunting trips to have a successful day of hunting, whereas in the past the boys came home with something every day. In these days of desperation, the hungry boys would do whatever it takes to have that tasty bite of meat. Sometimes it is even possible for a domesticated animal like a cat to be barbequed if in the wrong place at the wrong time. The boys do not hesitate and do not take chances. That feeling of returning home without a kill and only carrying spears and clubs is not tolerated here.

Just like the decreasing diversity of animals in the forests, the coming of rains has also brought hardship to my community. Usually my area starts receiving productive rains towards the end of December each year. However, this year we haven’t been so lucky. So far there has been little rains and since the first time the ground tasted moisture it’s been over a fortnight. The community has been hit by a dry spill that is promising significantly low harvests. The crops do not look good and the people are worried. These circumstances are threatening food security and we are busy trying to figure out how to handle the challenging situation.

I believe that innovative and adaptive measures need to be implemented to ensure sustainable food and income security. Climate change is now obvious and its effects are being felt in my community, but we are not just sitting and watching as buzz alerts tell us to do something. As a way of fighting the challenges we are all facing, my community is in the process of raising over 150,000 tree seedlings in nurseries across the villages. These seedlings will then be distributed to members to plant at their homes and in their fields.

Listening to the stories has been an interesting part of my experience so far. I am witnessing a new environment, different from what the stories say of the past.  The journey ahead will not be easy, but the community has come together to try and find a solution. With the united people I have the challenges we are currently facing will in one way or another be solved.

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