Malawi changed my life
Comfort is 9 years old. She wakes up at 4:30am. She walks around 3km to arrive at the water pump, here she collects 20kg of water, places it on her head and walks back home. She does this EVERY DAY. Afterwards, she helps her mother to clean the whole house, takes care of her small brothers and finally gets ready to go to school. She walks over 10km on bare feet to arrive at her school and start he class with 80 other children. A classroom with no chairs, no tables, not even a pen and with only one teacher. But she is one of the LUCKIEST GIRLS in the country. Why? Because others don’t have the privilege to go to school like her.
Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world. More than one million children have no access to education. Most don’t really know that education is a human right that everybody should have access to. But I think before that, they have the necessity to cover other human rights such as better access to water, food or shelter.
Generally many people consider the profession of a teacher as a very important one as they know that through education you can develop yourself and get a better life. Every student who goes to school listens very carefully to what the teacher has to say. So, every teacher in Malawi has a very big responsibility in what they teach to the children.
I got the chance to work 8 months in Malawi as a teacher. More specifically, I worked as a Teacher of Teachers. DAPP (Development Aid from People to People) gave me the opportunity to be part of running a great program that will make the student-teachers become Another Kind of Teachers.
We had so many different periods during my time there, such as family attachment where students-teachers and teachers went to live for a couple of days with a family in rural areas to basically help them improve their lives in some way: for example to dig a rubbish pit, improve the latrine, construct a firewood saving stove. Another period was to undertake an investigation over 5 days in a very poor area where access to water was one of the most difficult problems. We talked to people, heard their problems and tried to find solutions together. During the bus travel period, I experienced the best and the most difficult experience at the same time. Over a duration of 3-months, we were travelling through the whole country, visiting different areas, getting to know people and getting close to them. That sounds super nice, right? So the difficult part came because whilst at the school we had all the commodities needed. This ease of having available commodities was over as soon as we started our bus travel. You don’t really realise how privileged we are in our countries, for example being able to open a tap and get water from it, or knowing when you are going to eat next time, or have always having the chance to sleep in a comfortable place.
But you know what? Even considering all the difficulties I went through, I will always choose to go back. Why… because Malawi is simplicity. It is waking up at 5am in the morning without any problem for a person who hates waking up early. It is getting inside a bus not knowing when you are going to arrive at your destiny without any stress. It is learning how to live daily with what you have without needing anything else. It is people who suddenly come into your life and make it easier with their smiles. It is the country that has taken all my heart and has kept it in a very safe place for me to come back.
Since I came back it has been such a difficult thing for me to explain this experience, which has completely change my life. But, as my teammate always said: “Africa is not something you can explain, it can only be lived”
He is totally right, long live AFRICA!
by Carla from Spain