July 20, 2012
It’s slightly after 12 noon and a bit hot in Zomba, the eastern district of Malawi. My colleagues and I are visiting a primary school where Save the Children is constructing a school block. The maize has not yet been harvested and we have to pass through fields. As we walk on a winding path, an old drunkard shuffles by. I swiftly dodge him and he stands in front of my colleagues, just for a hand shake. Suddenly it starts showering.
We quickly reach a nearby compound. Two boys are playing and goats are grazing. We are in Lone Maluku’s compound, she smilingly comes out to welcome us. Lone Maluku is a mother of seven and has two children in the Save the Children sponsorship program. She says she is the proudest mother in her village and is reassured knowing that her children, 9 year-old Catherine and 7 year-old Kingsley, are sponsored and in school. “It is clear that education is the key to any development of every
human being. Look at me, I did not go to school and that is why I look like this,” she sadly points to her clothes and regretfully smiles.
She continues, “You know, if I had gone to school I would never have had seven children at my age, and besides I would have found a job like other educated women. Life is tough without education. I am very hopeful that my children will finish their education, it is of paramount importance to me.” Lone says she is grateful to Save the Children for delivering these programs and is confident her children will have a bright future.
“I know my children will make it in life, every day I tell them to work extra hard if they don’t want to be like me,” explains Lone, now with a child on her back as she prepares lunch for her family.
It suddenly occurs to ask her age. She replies, “I think I should be thirty-something because I was born in 1972. You see I dropped out of school early and I don’t know many things.’’
“I have to trek long distances early every morning to look for firewood and water, sometimes it is so cold but I have to go on. You have to understand me when I say that I wish I had gone to school and my children must be educated,” says Lone stressfully.
Life may be hard now and regrets may echo in her ears, but one thing is clear for Lone Maluku, education is the surest way to achieve a better life.
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