“I came with an open heart and I found the Africa I thought”, these were the first words of Donatella, Italian volunteer, sharing the experience of living in Balaka, Malawi. Words that immediately confirm the goodness and generosity of her initiative of solidarity that she really wanted to take and have scheduled for so long. A gracious month donated, for a break, a holiday between the work and social tasks she had.
“I came to Africa for the first time with an open heart, because I think, this should be the way to live the African experience. I found in Malawi what I was thinking about Africa. I found it through hundreds and hundreds of educated and enthusiast pupils who crowd the nursery schools of the mission: St. Monica Nursery school in Balaka and Chikondi nursery school in Toleza, among others. I found the simplicity in the people of Malawi but I also experimented for the first time in my life the real poverty in a nation where to have a bed in the hut is a privilege”, says Donatella.
Between one activity and another, Donatella and Elena tried to share their experience with us, because even in Africa, even plenty of time is never enough to accomplish all the activities they had planned for: drawing, painting, decorating rooms of different places, such as the entrance of the new paediatric ward, rooms in the family house for ex-street kids at “Tigawane”, classes of the nursery schools, and again conjoining Dave Pabros with art lessons for boys and girls in the Andiamo secondary school art club. The volunteers have also engaged into administering Italian lessons to some members of the cooperative, without enough rest or even having simple meals they dedicate themselves to their jobs.
In this way Donatella and Elena approached with enthusiasm and generosity the reality of Malawi, knowing the different projects and managing, together with the youth of the cooperative to give their precious contribution.
Donatella, apart from bringing herself, her passion for arts and her enthusiasm in guiding and creating artworks together with kids of various age, also brought with her full luggage of necessary materials not found in Balaka: colours, brushes, glues, chalk basis, papers for decoupage and others. And again, other materials will arrive in big boxes sent through the container, that the wave of enthusiasm and creativity should continue even after her leaving.
Elena underlined that she has had a wonderful experience going beyond the difficulties that such tough experience might reserve. A merit to her and her knowledge in languages, especially English, if their experience have gone far in the details, making possible the dialogues and comprehensions needed in order to welcome and appreciate the local culture.
By Alessandro Marchetti