In the last 48 hours, I have seen living conditions that wouldn’t even be fit for a dog. A house that was essentially just sticks held together by mud with a straw roof. One bedroom made for 8 people to live in, with no running water or electricity. I saw 6 kids running around who probably hasn’t eaten in a day or two. I’ve seen parents huddled around a circle trying to use the scraps of corn in order to make corn flower to have something to eat. Kids having huge holes in their clothes because that’s all they have. Looking at these things hurt my heart so much. It is the first time I wanted to cry immediately when seeing something.
Now the reason I was at this house held together by sticks and mud was that a few days ago I lost my phone. My phone fell out of my bike basket and I didn’t notice until 20 minutes later after riding into town. At first, one of the men who found my phone demanded money in order to get the phone back. I was taken back because although I lost my phone, I’ve never been held at ransom for anything. We (my host brother, several collages and local friends) eventually talked the man down off of a high amount of money for Malawians, 5,000 kwacha (Roughly 6 dollars) and convinced him to give my phone back. We agreed the money will be paid at a later time.
Now let’s fast forward back to today. I wanted to thank the man who found it in his heart to give my phone back because he could have sold it and brought a new house. (Androids/smartphones are hard to find here and very expensive). After talking with the school board members and one of the men who found the phone it was explained that asking for a ransom is not how the Malawian culture does things. They explained that I am volunteering in his community and that he should be happy that I am here. It is the Malawian culture return something that does not belong to them without demanding money. In the meeting, I wasn’t able to say anything due to the culture. I left the meeting not feeling right inside my heart. Therefore, I and a fellow local friend went and found the man at his house. We explained that I just wanted to thank him for returning my phone because he truly did the right thing.
After seeing the rough living conditions (mentioned above) we asked did they have any food, and the answer was no. My heart sank deep into my chest knowing that one of the kids I teach every day lived in this house. He is a quiet student and his home life is less than desirable. Therefore I did what I felt was right. I went into town and bought enough food for 2 weeks. It’s not much, it does not solve all of the problems these people face, but hopefully, it just makes it easier for a little while. Before sending the wife back up the hill with the groceries, I explained (with the help of my friend) that when you do good things, you can be rewarded.
In Malawi, the average person lives in less than a $1 a day. So the next time you pull into the Chik fila drive thru and order a $8 meal but are upset that the fries aren’t warm enough. I want you to realize that some people haven’t eaten in a few days. These are the people I am encountering every day, these are my students from my class, or my neighbor next door. This is not to shame any one, but with $8 and your help, you can assist in more ways than can be imagined. I cannot fix everything or anything at all, but what I can do is make small impacts in ways people would never expect.
If you can please donate using any link found on my blog.
Until next time