A passion to make change

June 10, 2019 | Celeste, International Development and Globalization, Uniterra, Malawi, ArtGlo, Partnership and Networking Officer

I landed in Malawi on May 6, 2019 and everyday there has been new challenges for me to face and reasons for me to be extremely grateful to have the opportunity of being here. I first landed in Lilongwe, which is the capital city of Malawi where I spent a week going through the WUSC training and familiarizing myself with Malawi. The capital city is busy and filled with life, as well as easy to navigate. One of my biggest fears travelling as a woman, is the different contexts that woman disproportionately face in different countries. However, I was immediately put at ease as I felt extremely safe in Malawi and everyone I encountered was kind, welcoming and extremely helpful. For example, if you asked somebody for directions they did not just tell you but they would stop what they were doing to help guide you to where you had to go.

My experience so far with Malawi and its people really has lived up to the name of being the Warm Heart of Africa. Majority of people also speak English so it is extremely easy to get familiar with the city and find your way around. Within my first week of being in Lilongwe, I was able to take public transit and walk around by myself.

After my week in Lilongwe, I moved to a Southern region of Malawi that is more rural called Zomba. It is known for it’s beautiful mountains and the lush nature. It is a lot quieter and is a slower pace. This move was actually quite difficult for me, as I have always lived in cities and am extremely familiar with the settings of a city. I was also sad to leave all my friends behind, as I would only be moving to Zomba with one other Canadian intern. It was worrisome for me to lose my support network and start over after adapting and familiarizing myself with being in Malawi, and having to start all over again. The first week being in Zomba, was extremely difficult as I had to learn and re-adapt and I felt as though I experienced culture shock to a certain extent. However, once I met with my partner organization I was quickly relieved and knew I made the right decision being in Zomba.

The Art and Global Health Centre is one of the most incredible organizations with the greatest staff. I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to be surrounded by such driven people that have a passion to make change. It is extremely empowering, and the different projects that they have in place are innovative and ground-breaking. ArtGlo truly wanted me to have a great experience from the start and be able to learn as much as I can. They care a lot about my interests and passions and tried to cater my mandate around that which I am so grateful for.

Consuming myself in work and enjoying my everyday work tasks helped make the transition a lot easier. I quickly felt as though the organization became a new support system for me, which helped me quickly adapt. I truly believe if it was not for ArtGlo my experience in Zomba would have been really different. Therefore, I urge future interns to choose an organization that aligns with their passions and interests to gain the most beneficial experience.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.