As the final chapter in this incredible journey concludes, I reflect upon all the most memorable and rewarding experiences in the past two weeks.
I’ve always wanted to travel to Central Africa on a humanitarian/volunteer mission. Although I had no expectations going into this trip, the country, the build, sites, flavours, music, colours and especially people far surpassed my wildest dreams. This is the real Africa. Authentic, raw, sometimes gut wrenching and sad but at other times beautiful in every way.
I will continue dreaming about mud bricks, mortar, bottled water, Carlsberg, the beautiful music of Lawi (Francis Phiri), fried rice, double fried fish, heat and humidity, freezing showers, stinky fish, and dancing.
Malawi is a country of stark contradictions: it’s arid and dry but fertile and very wet at times; it’s home to the second tallest peak in all of Africa yet is is quite flat; there’s Chechewa and then there’s English; the people are smart yet not entrepreneurial; the older generation is scarred by a lifetime of hard labour and little food, the current generation remains angry at foreigners and wear emotionless faces whilst the young generation continues to smile with hope; there’s electricity and hot water and suddenly there’s neither; Malawi is amongst the poorest countries in the world, yet it’s people are so rich in culture and happiness.
Malawi is simply Malawi: simply authentic, ignorantly stubborn, perfectly content and strikingly beautiful. And I love it!
I will never forget my fellow adventurers who made this trip an incredible experience for me. From laughs and tears to sweat and hard work, there were moments that I didn’t want to end. The experiences that we shared were unique, exciting, boring (cultural dance), and always fun and light hearted. My new friends are an inspiration to push me to be better in many facets of my life. They are so accomplished in life that I feel I have a long way to go. Thank you.
As for my non-profit endeavor, GIVEGROWGO, I feel more inspired and excited about what’s to come. The more I think about it, the for-passion, for-purpose motto is precisely what GIVEGROWGO is all about. I’ve received amazing support and proactive recommendations from both Habitat Malawi and my new friends. One future endeavour will be the “Mulanje Roofing Project (more to come) which will be a unique and inspiring journey to build new roofs for the most vulnerable families in Geregere. We want to make a long-term, sustainable impact on the lives of many more families in Malawi. I’ll take some time to think through various ideas on how this can all come together in the upcoming year. I’m passionate and very excited.
This Habitat Malawi trip is a great reminder to live in the moment, be grateful for everyone, everything and all the special moments and to live a simple and authentic life. The “reason-season-lifetime” motto not only refers to relationships but also our values and passions as we stumble through our paths in life. This trip has empowered me to do more for others and to be an authentic leader in philanthropy back home. This is what I want to do in my life; it is neither for reason or season. Philanthropy fits into all of my core values perfectly and i am so excited to continue on this journey of self discovery.
These are exciting times and I can’t wait for my next adventure. Life is short, live it. Love is rare, grab it. Anger is bad, dump it. Fear is awful, face it. Memories are sweet, cherish it.
Zikomo Malawi. I’ll miss you and will be back soon. Wokongola.
Click here to read more about Our Pre-Trip Thoughts & Interesting Facts About Malawi in addition to The Vulnerable Families that we helped on this Habitat Build.