By Jessica Fobert
I woke up bright and early this morning to hack away at the moist red soil from last night’s water. My hero Kirsten woke up at 6 am to assist me with digging up the 1 metre deep compost pit. The soil here is not like it is back in Canada. It dries up in the winter seasons and lacks essential nutrients and therefore needs a lot of fertilizer to maintain certain crops. Most of you probably don’t know much about Malawi, but a large number of the population relies on agriculture as a source of income and necessity to life. For that reason, I chose to base my research work around agriculture and to provide a sustainable way of farming for the people of Malawi. My plans are to educate the people in the surrounding villages about the benefits of composting while experimenting with fertilizer versus compost. I hope to inform Malawians about the benefits of composting so that they can learn to live more sustainable.
As Kirsten and I hacked at the moistened soil for 2 hours we finally began to see some progress being made. Chief Makupo came to the Campus around 9 am and walked right to the compost pit. He gave us a hand and what Kirsten and I had accomplished in 2 hours, the Chief had completed in 10 minutes! I was astonished at the hard labour that the Chief performed, but as more helpers arrived I noticed that most Malawians are used to this type of work. It seemed much easier to them than it was for Kirsten and me.
Malawians are hard working people! Even the children are constantly helping out their families by taking care of siblings, collecting water and working in the fields planting and harvesting crops. Being in Malawi has allowed me to appreciate the easy, laid back life that we live in Canada. I’ve never experienced collecting my own fresh water or walking an hour and a half to reach the closest town; however, this is a part of the daily routines for Malawians. Each day that I am in Malawi I am constantly amazed at the skills and the strenuous work that Malawians perform on a daily basis. I can see that the Transformative Praxis: Malawi group is working their hardest by collaborating with locals to provide a more sustainable lifestyle for Malawians.
About the Blog
Since 2013, students participating in Transformative Praxis: Malawi have been writing blog posts reflecting on their experiences of participating in action research in Malawi. The original blog with the full archive can be found here