Every time I take a Global Village trip I think, “It can’t get any better than this!” But somehow…it does. Okay, maybe it isn’t totally fair to say that they keep getting better. Every team, every country, every village is different. But I love Africa and perhaps that’s why this experience was so rich and rewarding for me. Malawi is a country at the top of my “Must Return Soon” list. High praise.
The best part of any Global Village experience is the opportunity to connect intimately not only with your team, but also with those in need. Malawi is one of the poorest counties in the world. Most of the people live in rural villages, without electricity, with limited access to clean water and jobs. They spend every day working to obtain what they need to survive. The early months of every year as known as “the hunger season” when the rains have come and food is scarce. Layer on top of all that, inadequate shelter and lack of healthcare, and you have a difficult life.
The people in Thanguli Village where our team built, are among the poorest I’ve met, but they are also some of the most open, hospitable and humble people I’ve known. Like the story in the Bible of the poor widow who gave all she had, those who have little give sacrificially. Those of us who have a lot oftentimes give out of our abundance. There is a vast difference between the two.
This is why I build.
I know that someone will have a better life, to no small measure, because I am able and willing to go. I am able and willing to advocate. I am able and willing to give. If the widow can give, can’t I? If a grandmother who, now the caregiver of her seven orphaned grandchildren can give, can’t I? If the sister of a single, epileptic mother, barely able to provide for her children can give, can’t I? These are the real life Habitat homeowners I had the honor of meeting in Thanguli Village.
Let me take you inside a house, where eight people live, sleep, seek shelter from the rain, and store what precious few belongings they own. This house, made from mud brick, grasses and thatch is roughly 10′ x 12′. You’ll see rocks in a pit in the floor at the entry, used for heating and cooking. To the left, the sleeping room with clothing hung on a line and to the right some buckets and pots for food preparations.
I thank God this old house isn’t their home anymore! Thanks to their partnership with Habitat for Humanity Malawi and our team, the family will be living in a new brick home with several rooms where males and females can have some privacy, a concrete floor, proper ventilation and metal roof that will not leak!
Before I came to Malawi, I read the partner family profiles for these people. I read that these children were motherless….fatherless. All struggling. I read about their leaky thatched roofs and their dirt floors. But now, now I KNOW them. I am grateful they shared a part of themselves with me. They are the reason I continue. They are the reason I became a Global Village Team Leader. They are all the motivation I need. To. Keep. Giving.
Our team was able to advance the house to near completion in only 5 building days.