Not so long ago, we had the arrival of the British volunteers in Malawi. As they settled into their specific host homes in Mzimba Boma, they were most welcomed by their host families. Together with the Malawian volunteers, they started the purpose of their journey.

This was actually the first time I worked with British volunteers in communities and the interaction we had was so amazing. The way they communicated with the locals was so surprising and unexpected.

On our first trip, we visited three local areas. As we arrived at the second area called Kaulira, we found children from the primary school all over the place, it was like sand in the sea. I expected British volunteers to freak out, but the opposite happened, they were actually so happy. They began taking photos and had hugs with them. All I could see was smiles on everyone’s faces.

Meeting children at Kaulira

We then went on a second trip the following day to a local community called Champhira, and what a day it was. Little children welcomed us with open arms, despite the fact that they were British volunteers. The children were so much happier than filled with fear to hug them.

They had a deep connection as if they were relatives or rather related. I stood there for a while and watched them play all sorts of games from the UK, like ‘Hockey Cokey’ The children were so interested. I was filled with joy to see what I did not expect to see. The children then taught them some Malawian games, like ‘Gando Gando’, and it caught all the British volunteers attention just to see the children pull each other, including them. As the game was about to end, one of the British volunteers, Abbe Smith, made a very funny statement which made me laugh. She said, “Hey Chrissie, how strong are these chaps, they are even able to pull me!”, oh Abbe. The boys played soccer with the children and taught them some good moves.

Community outreach at Champhira

As we visited another local area in the second week, we came across more lovely local people, children and babies, whom the British volunteers grew to love at an instant. Together with the locals, we danced to Malawian songs.

Sometimes things are taken for granted but they are very special. Special in a way that they have to be cherished. Just like these local children, the moments they shared with the British volunteers were just so amazing and this is not the end but just the beginning of a wonderful journey ahead of us.

Written by ICS volunteer Tïøñè Christina Lwanja