Volunteering in Malawi

23 June 2022

February 10th was the day that I stepped on the plane to Malawi, from the Netherlands. I was wearing winter clothes, although it was arond 30 decrees Celsius in Malawi. It became clear in a moment that I landed in another continent: Africa! A trip by car in Malawi can be summarized clearly: driving on the left side of the road, trying to avoid potholes, all around you honking cars, cars with scratches, no marking on the roads and very little signs near the road. When we arrived at our guesthouse, the gate was opened at our horn.

I am writing a blog about my weeks in Malawi. I could also write a book about it! I will try to tell you what impressed me most. What I remember mostly about Malawi is the kindness, hospitality and conviviality in Kwanjana. It started with our enthousiastic entrance in Kwanjana. I was brought to the centre by dansing and singing people, where the children mothers sang for us. It was so special, I knew immediately that there was a special bond between me and the people of Kwanjana.

Three mornings a week, I visited the homes of the sponsor children. I really had the opportunity to 'look between the front doors', as we say in the Netherlands. I could see how life looks like in Malawi. People live in a tiny house made of mud bricks, with a roof made of grass, which cannot cope with rain. People live outdoors, most of the day. People hardly have any belongings, beside some waterbuckets, a sleeping mat, blankets, a pan, some green soap, clothing, shoes and maybe some plates and cutlery, a musquito net and scythe. Only 3 of the homes I visited, had a bed or chair. When I came to visit, the host spread the sleeping mat outside for me, and sat next to the mat themselves. People were excited when I was wearing a chitenji (a colourfull long skirt). In the mean time, a lot of sorrows and pain was visible:

-         Mothers that cannot provide enough food for their families.

-         Most children grow up without a father.

-         Most children get married and have children on a very young age.

-         Children are at home instead of at school.

-        People are ill, but they have not enough money to see a doctor.

-         Family members look unhealthy or malnourished.

It is special to see how happy and grateful the children are, that visit the children's centre of For a Change. They receive food, pray and sing together and are educated. The extra lessons provided for children that go to the primary school last until 3.30 PM, but because they are having fun, they stay until 5.00 PM before they are heading home.

During my time in Malawi, every week I was surprised about the new developments the Foundation is coaching. Health care is increased with the option of physiotherapy, new homes are built, agricultural developments are made, the amount of sponsor children increases...The effort of the 10 volunteers and 3 teachers from the village is a real blessing for the foundation!

In the mean time, I am back in the Netherlands for a couple of weeks. I miss Malawi, especially the relax way of living, time to chat, hospitality and friendliness. Kwanjana will have a place in my heart forever!

All the developments I saw with  my own eyes, show that God is blessing the work of the foundation. I wish you all the best, and the power and guidance of God to be able to continue with the great things the foundation is doing!