Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Ms. Tusekile Munkhondya
A rolling stone has its day to hit a snag and gather the mosses. After days of struggling to settle down and getting accustomed to community life, finally, the sense of belonging to the community sank in. I had started to enjoy the community life through the sessions that I managed to have as they gave me a platform to interact with people and appreciate their way of life. Living in the community is intriguing and equipped with life-changing experiences. One of the charming experiences is how the community has adopted me as one of them. I no longer feel like a stranger and I found mothers, brothers, and sisters within the community.
From my childhood, I had no knowledge of how a mud floor is made until I found one of my community mothers making the floor. Without hesitation, I extended a hand to help. I joined the process as she taught me how to, though I still found it difficult to ably do it. It was funny to the mother and other family members as I struggled, but in no time, I was able to carry out the task. My community mother was amazed by how I quickly grasped the knowledge and she was grateful for the hand I extended to her “Tusekile tathokoza mwatithandiza, ntchito ina phweka. Muzabwerenso ulendo wina kuti muzolowere’’ (Thanks Tusekile for helping, come again next time so that you get used)
Just as development is slow, so is the learning process, which does not end. I have had the privilege to attend a traditional wedding. A wedding in town is different from weddings in rural communities. In rural communities, people are selfless, and the number of invited guests is not limited. It’s an open feast and a variety of local foodstuffs are prepared ranging from Thobwa (sweet beer) and Nsima served with chicken. The experience has been life-changing. One of the lessons learned is unity in diversity. Aside from their differences, communities still believe in the power of numbers in achieving goals. This has been evidenced in the support the community rendered to the newlyweds as they adorned them with assorted gifts as a blessing for their new lease of life.
Aside from the joy of being in the community, I have learned to share in their struggle. one of the long-overdue struggles is the scarcity of potable and clean water. The community’s struggle in accessing water makes them behave like early birds. They are forced to get to the community well as early as 03:00 am for fear of finding the well dry if late. It is quite scary considering they go to the well at awkward hours. What irks me most now is the scorching heat of the sun and the absence of rain as the community wells have now become arid. This is exposing the community to hardships and being prone to waterborne diseases which may affect their healthy living.