Journeys that have changed my life!
When I look back on my 26 year old life, I sometimes wonder how I have come so far and how I have been so lucky...
At age 8 I was in Standard 4 and my teacher called in my parents (and I think my folks thought "oh what has she done again this time???!) but it seems i was far ahead with my studies and it was suggested I skip a class.
The education system in Malawi works as Standard 1 to Standard 6 then Form 1 to Form 6 if you follow the GSCE syllabus but Standard 1 to Standard 8 then Form 1 to Form 4 if it follows the governments syllabus. I was sent from a GSCE syllabus school to a Malawi Government School and I did not only skip one class it ended up I skipped 4 classes.
I was sent to an all girls boarding school 4 to 7 hours away from my home (depending on if its by bus or car) and I ended up being the youngest student all my secondary years. I did not only have to deal with a brand new syllabus and learning new subjects like Agriculture, Bible Knowledge and Chichewa (our local language) which I had no prior knowledge of, but I had to fit in socially with the other girls who were teenagers and older (average 14 up to 25 years).
But somehow I managed to fit in, had lots of friends, passed my junior exams, then graduated. I later re-sat my senior exams to get better grades but it still ended up with me being in a technical college at age 14.
As I had no idea what I wanted to be when I "grew up" and my parents let me decide for myself i ended up not actually studying for 1 degree but went to get diplomas in Business Admin, Marketing, Hotel & Catering Management and Secretarial Studies.
At 18 I had my first child, got married and had my second child at 21. I own my own Bamboo product making business on a small scale - hoping to expand once i have a modern functioning workshop which is in the plans for next year, I work as a travel consultant from 8 am to 5 pm, I founded Self Advancement for Youth in Malawi which I work on Part time but what I am passionate about, I am trustee for The Women's Club which offers marketing and networking opportunities to women via an e-e-newsletter and conferences and trade fairs, I am a member the Young Women Leaders Network which goes to girl secondary schools acting as role models in different professions, I am secretary for the Catholic Women Organisation for my Parish. I am involved in other volunteering activities as well and all this is thanks to the internet.
I dont know how I manage to find spare time in my hectic schedule for the internet but thats the beauty of it and I have found opportunities of going abroad to attend conferences and I am currently completing a 6 month fellowship project in the Philippines. But I have learnt that as much as I have a family and responsibilities, I need time for me and maybe thats where the Web comes in - it helps me to travel, it helps me to find opportunities, it helps me to relax and its something I do by myself - sit in front of the computer and journey by myself. I have been luckier than most i think, but I have also worked hard And so far these journeys that I am taking on my couch are changing my life for the better and I can never wait to find what opportunity and friend will be available to me a second after i click my mouse!