Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Ms. Isabel Mandiwa
While the first few months living in my community were exciting and thrilling and I just couldn’t wait to get started, now I have some nights and days where I ask myself, “Am I doing enough? Am I doing the best I can to the best of my ability? Is there more I should do?” These people look up to me to fix their problems and I am just one person who’s learning what my responsibilities are. I am creating the pathway for the next person who will take my place some time next year. I am creating the first experience.
It gets lonely sometimes, all the familiar voices from family and friends back at home seem so far away now and I wonder how I will make it through the next eight months. And then I see all the new friends I have made in my community, my host family- I love them, and all other community organizations I work with and suddenly my mood changes; I am happy again. And then there times I feel empty, there just is no emotion at all am not happy but neither am I sad, just blank. I wonder if it happens to anyone else.
When I leave this place I want to have made a difference in someone’s life, a difference that changes their life for the better and a difference they can pass on to the next person. When that happens I will feel I have done the best of what I could without any personal gain other than satisfaction which is somewhat a reward in itself.
Living in this community has taught me something; something that I will always carry with me wherever I go; to appreciate life, to be thankful for the good things in your life, and learn from your mistakes and failures. It’s as though I’m looking at life with a new set of eyes. I know kids that don’t own a pair of shoes and I have a thousand shoes back at home that I choose to wear on that particular day to match a certain outfit and it all just seemed normal until now……
For so many years Malawi has been talking about poverty and finding ways to eradicate it and I never really knew what it meant until I got here. Poverty is real… And am not particularly happy to live in one of the poorest countries in the world but then again I’m not going to run or just stay and do nothing. So I will start small, right where I am… Kadyalunda, Balaka.