Since arriving in Malawi, I have constantly heard the phrase that Malawi is the ‘Warm Heard of Africa’. Over the past three months as I reflect on my internship and the people I have met and the experiences I have had, I have realized that truly it is the Warm Heart of Africa.
From day one, I was welcomed with open arms by nearly everyone I met and have had the opportunity to experience a lot of Malawian culture, this is particularly thanks to the amazing Malawian family I lived with who took me in as their own and who I grew so incredibly close to. Through my time with them, I was even privileged with the opportunity to be in the country to welcome their new-born baby daughter and continue to grow closer to their older 5-year-old daughter, my Malawian little sister.
I also got a lot of incredible Malawian experiences from co-workers and other friends I met who went out of their way to show me just how warm the heart of Africa is. I was invited to attend engagements, weddings, day trips, weekends away, events, lunches, and many other activities, I even got a chance to go to a music festival in a refugee camp (the Tumaini festival)! The more I met up with people and experienced life in Malawi the more it felt like home.
During my time in Malawi, I have also had the chance to visit many of the natural wonders of the country. I went traveling with friends whenever I got the chance, I visited the Lake on a few occasions; I also visited the Liwonde National Park and did a boat safari and a game drive.
When I left Malawi a few weeks ago it was incredibly hard to go, particularly since I had gotten so attached to the family I was staying with, but also because I had made such great friends both in the office and outwith. Malawi really has a way of getting under your skin, from the incredible sunsets to the warm heart of the people, whether it be friends or even strangers willing to help you.
During my last week, the organization even held a ‘farewell party’ for me, through which the Executive director, my supervisor and many others made speeches and I was gifted with a beautiful carved wooden clock face, which was engraved.
Through the farewell party and saying goodbye to my co-workers and friends I was reminded of everything I have learnt and experienced during my time here in Malawi. I learned far more from the people I encountered and being at the organization than any amount of reading could have taught me and I am so grateful for that experience.