PERSONAL STORY 1
Brighten Ndawala - Sinthana
We've asked Brighten some questions about his life during the COVID-19 pandemic. He has a NGO called Sinthana. He told us his experience during this COVID-19 pandemic. He said that he has come to realize that the whole world is very united in everything and that things have really changed. He said that the life of many people have changed in terms of daily living, food, health and finance. He told us that many people in Malawi are living on fear for death. He said that everyone's life has completely changed. In terms of greetings, people can no longer shake hands or staying near to another. Even though the situation is like that, many people in remote areas (like villages) do not really care about prevention of COVID-19. This is one reason why he, together with his NGO, came up with a bucket and soap distribution project, as well as awareness on dangers of the Corona Virus. He tells the people in the community how they can prevent themselves of the virus by washing hands.
Brighten told us that many people are becoming to understand how to prevent the COVID-19. The only thing that is very difficult in Malawi is for people to stay home or lockdown. Especially children, he said that it is very hard to control them. Brighten said that he knows the difference between Malawi and Europe. Especially in terms of the house he remembers when he went to France in January this year. He was surprised by the house he rent. All the houses had running water, toilets, kitchens and hot water. That was something he never experienced before. He said that in Malawi 95% of the houses have no running water. Water has to be collected from the borehole, lakes and rivers. Toilets are outside of the house and also kitchens are outside of the house. That's something we've never experienced. Also their families are a lot bigger than our families in Holland. In Malawi many families are living in an extended family. A few families are even living together. Brighten said they call it a compound. This cannot be avoided because it's their culture. Family is very important in Malawi, so that culture can never be broken. Brighten told us that his life has changed a lot since the pandemic. All the people have to wear gloves, face masks and wash hands every now and then. This was not part of their culture. In their culture people normally only wash hands when they want to eat food and normally only wear masks when they are working as doctor or nurse and wearing gloves during emergency only. This shows that life and experiences has really changed for everyone in Malawi.
A thing he has learned from the pandemic so far, is that one pandemic can cause a very big change and affect the economy of the whole world