This week we decided to get our team to help us for our blog. We asked everyone in Team Chinombo for their host home experience, here is what they said:

Jac’s host home experience

Being the UK Team Leader, I knew that I’d be housed alone out here. A fact that I didn’t really think about until a few days before we arrived in Rumphi when my anxious thoughts began to strike full force - Will I be lonely? What if I can’t communicate? What if they don’t like me? Etc.

I needn’t have stressed at all as my host family are great and were so welcoming. I live with my amama, Grace (who is the same age as me so we agreed for me not to call her amama) her two daughters Comfort aged 8, Tiwonge aged 3 and Aunty whose real name is Loveness and works as a nanny/housekeeper. There is also a day care attached to my home with the most adorable little children; I get broodier by the day haha!

I have my own room, which is gigantic, and I have my own en-suite attached where I can have cold showers (very welcomed after a day in the sun) or heat my own water for a bucket wash. The only downside is that we don’t have a fridge or a freezer and the neighbour’s dogs, but they can be avoided by walking the long way home. 

Anna and Joey’s host home experience

We’ve been welcome with warm Malawian arms into the laughing, dancing Luhanga family. A lovely big room, with an en-suite bathroom, fantastic home-cooked food and cakes, and our two lovely sisters, funny brother and amama and adada are just some of the things we have been lucky to have in our host home. The family made us feel so at home, we are invited to events, share cooking and chores and eat together as a family at dinner time. Being made to feel part of the family has been a fantastic experience, really immersing us into the culture and customs of the country, and we look forward to the rest of our time with family and the time we will spend with them. 

Phoebe’s host home experience 

As the only UK volunteer staying in my host home, anticipation and apprehension were inevitable. So as we stood at the Sprodeta office awaiting the arrival of our host families to pick us up, naturally I felt rather nervous and uncertain about what to expect. Luckily my mind was instantly put to rest as Joana Ngulube arrived with a massive smile on her face and warm welcoming words. 

The following month has been a journey to say the least. I feel this has been a very valuable process, with both sides learning from each other. With the help of my lovely host family, I have managed to learn a great deal about Malawian culture, traditions, family life and not forgetting what could only be described as one of the key facets of the Malawian lifestyle, cooking Nsima!

My family have been great, particularly my amama (Joana) who took good care of me whilst I was feeling unwell. On Sundays I am made to feel welcome by my host family’s congregation at church, they even translated a whole sermon into English purely for my benefit. This is just one example of the overwhelmingly kind and welcoming nature of Malawians. 

I am really enjoying my experience living with a Malawian family and all the apprehension and uncertainty has now been replaced with love and respect for my host family, my fellow volunteers and Rumphi, the best town in Malawi! 

Beth and Bronwen’s host home experience

Bronwen and I are staying with a lovely family on the Trading Centre side of town. We live with our host mother, amama Msiska, and her two nieces, Lucy, 23, and Esthery, 12. The house is lovely, really clean and homely and conveniently for us about a four minute walk to the office! We generally really enjoy the food; we get quite a lot of variation along with nsima or rice. We try to help with chores as much as possibly, generally washing up and nsima whipping! In the evening we spend a lot of time with our amama and the girls, and I think we’ve both learned a lot from each other. I particularly enjoyed dancing in the garden and singing along to Malawian and English songs! Since we’ve learnt how to whip nsima like a pro, scrub our own clothes and our Chitumbuka is coming along nicely now, although Bronwen’s maybe slightly slower than others, our family say we’re well on our way to becoming true Malawians! All in all we really love our host family and are enjoying the host home experience.

Jack’s host home experience

After an unexpected change to a new host home at the start of programme, both me and my new amama were both slightly nervous, but I quickly fell into a comfortable routine in a house with engaging people and never a dull moment. My new little sister is forever wanting to dance and the stream of now familiar faces in and out of the house have led to me quickly feeling part of the community. A cultural exchange of ideas has become a nightly event as both me and my family share knowledge about life in the UK and Malawi. The mix of helping with household life and socialising at weddings and parties creates a lifestyle that is enjoyable and makes me feel completely at home.

Andy and Sufian’s host home experience

Living within a different family for three months, in a country I’ve never visited, with people I’ve never met before, was one of the most daunting experiences ahead but fortunately it’s been one of my most exciting. I immediately felt at ease upon meeting my family who have been just as enthusiastic learning about English culture as they are about teaching me about Malawian culture. Since meeting my family, I’ve eaten a huge variety of foods, learnt lots of Chitumbuka and dance with my two younger sisters LOTS.

Written by ICS volunteers Andy Jeffery and Kate Nyirenda