My name is Assiatu Pongolani based in Mulanje as a Corps Africa Volunteer and i am here for only a week now. But it does not mean i am new in a Corps Africa family. I was in Nsanje district and just moved down here. A lot has been going through to reach this point in Mulanje to finally call it home. The day that Corps Africa staff and i went to Nsanje to finally say goodbye, on our way their were so many things that we went throughthrough. We met a bunch of cattle for a couple of times with no one to direct them and makes difficult for the car to pass through. We were almost hit a girl child on the road because they wanted to pass through the road while holding hands with each other but the driver did his best to avoid her and later managed to stop. We arrived in Nsanje where our house was. The house Is within the school campus. One of the Corps Africa staff Katherine who accompanied us Is white, we got a lot of students who came where we were packing our bags into a car. But while other students were helping taking the bags out of the house, others were busy shecking hands to Katherine meaning she was sorrounded by more than 200 kids getting a hand sheck from her while she sat under a mango tree looking for a shade in a hot day of Nsanje.
We started off the journey back to Blantyre and the road struggles were also underway. We arrived in a certain area where we had a flat tire but actually the nail hit the tire and the car did not have a spare tire so the driver had to rush to Bangula in Chikwawa to get the tire fixed and while we were waiting, on the same point the car battery died. It was so hot and we could not force ourself to stay in a car but rather going to a certain woman house stayed under the tree chatting while Katherine and I were playing bawo game and that was an owesome time to wait for the car to get fixed. The car was fixed and started off the journey again. Next was passing through the funeral on its way to the graveyard and people were all over the road and the driver had to beg for a little space to pass. Guess what will happen next??? That was the question that Katherine asked me and i answered I don’t know!!!! But the next thing was my bucket full of items fell from the car and I lost most of the items that were in it and people who came to witness the incident took them because they were all broken and sadly had to start buying all over again.
Now Mulanje here I come, that I am calling my home, my community and my Malawi. Arrived on Saturday the 26 March, 2016 in a lovely host family of Mrs Makanjira. Kadewere village has 427 households with a population of 1356 and the village is somewhere scartered and the people depend mostly on farming. Their are tea estates around this area which is beautiful and a small trading centre called Thabwa where one can buy some of the daily needs and people in this area are more religious.On Sunday morning around 6:30 am Maxon who is the chairperson of one of Corps Africa working partners called Friends Of Mulanje Orphans (FOMO) in Kadewere village came to greet and escot me to the Chief who is a woman (lovely). The chief was very happy to have me in the community and she is willing to work with me in any other development work. She proceeded to say I should be flexible and confident in working in this area and if any challenges arise or something bad happen to me, I should right away report to her before I report to anywhere even to Corps Africa staff. I felt that was nice and felt welcomed into this community. She also continued to say, she will introduce me other committees that are within the community such as Village Development Committee and others.
Monday the 28 March,2016 was Easter holiday but for me was not because i went to FOMO centre for the first time to introduce myself to people who works there as well as kids. It was nice and continued to feel welcomed as kids asked me so many questions including if they might be visiting me at home for chat, hope i will no longer feel lonely in this community. On the same, as FOMO has secondary students whom they stay at a boarding school and they are now on holiday, Maxon asked me to deliver HIV/AIDS information to those students through Grass Root Soccer curriculum before going back to school on the 11 April. I felt that it is too much work and tiresome to do GRS everyday for two weeks but at the same time, i felt it is the only way to incorporate myself and getting to know the kids very well and making them to be open with me. So I started GRS on the next day which the kids really liked because of the kilos, cheers and of course energizers that I am good at.
As I said the Chief is lovely, she came the other day to my host family house just to check on me. She also came together with the VDC chairperson coz they also wanted to pass an invitation to me concerning a meeting that they gonna have about forestry that one of the government workers wanted to conduct so she thought to incorporate me in this meeting so that I could introduce myself to all people and the villages around. This was another opportunity for me to get to know other partners that are working within the community. This forestry department worker from the government came to introduce the campaign of planting 30 kesha and mango trees around every borehole in the community in order to stabilize the water table to avoid boreholes to get dry during dry season. He also encouraged every village to have a Village Natural Resource Management Committee (VNRMC) which will be responsible for dealing with people who are cutting down trees carelessly by even taking them to police station if found. woow!!
My last point of view here in Kadewere village so far has been that, people are willing to work and help themselves first according to the meeting discussions that we had and on top of that, people are nice and welcoming. Since community development consists of working hand in hand both with the community people and the adviser, I think the community that I have wanting to help is this one and people are self starter that will help in successful project implementation. And today I am happy and confident to finally call it my second home away from home, my community and my Malawi. Until more updates to come, I say thank you for now.