Paradise kids in Malawi
16 June 1976. Thousands of students from Soweto, South Africa, protested against the education policies of the apartheid regime and the inferior quality of the education of black people in the country. More than 100 children were killed by the security forces and thousands were injured. To commemorate the march and the memory of those killed, the African Union established the International Day of the African Child, celebrated since 1991 on the 16th June every year.
This blog is therefore dedicated to all the children in Africa, a continent where the level of education is far behind all other continents. Especially, this blog is dedicated to the kids in Lifuwu.The stereotype of the African child with bloated tummies, snot noses, and ripped t-shirts is the reality in Lifuwu. They are still, however, just like the kids you would find anywhere else, and their genuine smiles make you forget that they are in one of the poorest country in the world.
We can say that Lifuwu is the village of kids. You can find these children at every spot of the village, and they will joyfully follow you everywhere. There are on average 7 births per week in Lifuwu; there is no women that does not have a baby to be carried on her back. The kids in Lifuwu are spontaneous, generous, sweet, and all that they need is love and attention. It is so easy to make friend with them; the children are always so excited when new a’zungu arrive in the village and ‘what is your name?’ becomes the daily song for our new volunteers.
The kids in Lifuwu are extremely creative and active; as any other kid, they love playing despite there not being any toys to actually play with. The originality, however, in creating games with the material found within their natural environment is inspiring. Depending on the season, the children here play different kinds of game. There is the time to play with the mud to create any kind of shape, from animals to mobile phones to motorbikes. Even fishing for the kids in Lifuwu is a fun game. Of course, football is a game which has no bounds to the seasons, and you will often find kids playing with home-made footballs made by condoms and drawstrings. Sometimes play time has to end, and we also find the Lifuwu children busy with work, helping out at home, cooking, collecting firewood, working in the fields, or grazing cattle. In their free time, the children go to school.
Getting to know all the stories of the children in Lifuwu is impossible; they are so many! However we still find some names and smiles in particular that you cannot forget. Some of these kids become your shadow, your daily smile, and they care for you. Inevitably, everyone of us begins to have a select group of favourite kids. Working and playing with the kids of Lifuwu is extremely fulfilling. Everything is simple and natural, yet so unpredictable. And no amount of effort can control this unpredictability simply because of how innate it is within the African culture. The kids here don’t know how to indicate they want the colours or materials to play with; they fight to receive a portion of porridge simply because they don’t understand that all of them will get some; the children here are not patient, and sometimes won’t let you rest. But beyond all of this you will still find fulfilment, because you realize that everything you do for these kids does mean something to them, and knowing this affirms that your work actually is impactful to a community.
You need perseverance and sensitivity in a place like Lifuwu. Perseverance and sensitivity must be referential to those who think that a little help is like a tear in the ocean. That tear is needed here, and we cannot ignore it.
Thanks to everybody for the support of help2kids in Malawi. Thanks to all our volunteers and donors. And thanks to all the people who have made the fundraising campaign for the Health Centre in Lifuwu a success.
help2kids Malawi Aid Project Manager