Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Ms. Funani Matemba
The first month in my community was full of mixed emotions. It was both tiring and interesting. Most community members came to my house to greet and welcome me in the community. I should confess, I have never been greeted by a lot of people like this in a space of a month. I still can’t remember most of their faces, let alone their names.
Among these people was a man whom I still remember because of an interesting conversation we had. As I was learning from him about the community, I asked him about the youths specifically the girls. To my surprise, he answered, “The youths stopped meeting because of Covid-19 and there are no girls in this community.” I laughed because I thought he was trying to be funny, but he was very serious about it. I asked him how this was so, and he explained that most of the girls in the community are married and some are single teenage mothers. I later found out that this is true. On my first meeting with some of the girls, despite being the oldest in the room I felt so young as they all told me that they have babies. There are a lot of girls in my community who dropped out of school and are raising their kids alone in their parent’s homes. Some got married to their fellow teenagers and they are living independently. Some girls want to go back to school.
Recently I learnt of the death of a teen mother in the community. A huge rock fell on her while trying to mine sand to sell so she could support herself hand her child. This is one example of the struggles these young mothers are facing. This has made me realize that there is more to being a CorpsAfrica Volunteer than facilitating development projects in my community. I hope my service will help to change the plight of some girls in my community as I work to mentor and inspire them to remain in school and have big dreams for their future.