Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Ms. Vanessa Chimutu
With my arrival into the community I had so many mixed feelings and emotions about what I was supposed to be doing here, but by and by, everything fell into place.
I was acquainted with everyone at the school where my partner organization (Age Africa) is located. Now there were a lot of misconceptions as to who was going to come here, the staff at the school were expecting a white person who was male. And aside from this, they had the preconceived notion that I was going to just teach. But once I explained myself and the work I am going to be doing here it was understood, at least that’s what I think. The head teacher then took me on a tour of the school which I must say was brief since they only have four class blocks which are the classes as well as the library.
The head then begun to tell me some of the challenges which they experience at the school, such as, high dropout rates, pregnancies, and theft, just to mention a few. I also observed that the school had no geography teacher for the form fours, so after shadowing the teacher who was teaching them and was leaving the next week I was excited to volunteer to teach the students a subject which I majored in at university! Isn’t this great!!!!!! One way of getting to know the students at the school better. Well enough about the school….. Moving on.
I had the liberty to also meet the chiefs of the villages and and introduce myself to them, in actual essence, the Group Village Head is Lambulira, who oversees all 46 chiefs that surround her locality. It was such an honor to have met her, and we got into a few talks of the works that they have done in her location, she mentioned the building of the new health center, and also the improving the quality of their Early-childhood Development Centers (EDCs). She also raised concerns as to how different organizations come and go with just giving them false hopes, (this right here got me nervous as people may be having high expectations towards me). Thus far I have managed to visit one of the EDCs and the health center and talked to a lot of people about how these operate (A special blog will be uploaded concerning this).
Other observations I have made about the village is that people grow a lot of tobacco here, other crops include maize, sweat potatoes and soya, but due to the bad weather conditions, a lot of maize has been burnt, and this has had a lot of people worry as to how they will survive through out the year since maize is the staple food. For entertainment they play a lot of soccer and netball and interesting enough this is from people of all ages. They also go to church, watch a lot of movies translated into Chichewa, which are known as video shows, people can actually stay up late watching these, aside from this, they can also sometimes organize discos. What caught my attention the most is that, all the people will be involved in all these activities which I find fascinating.