My first week in Mulanje has flown by! It feels like I’ve already been here a month, and I never would have dreamed I would feel so at home in a place thousands of miles away. I’ve never felt more inner peace and personal satisfaction from doing the work I love in a place where a little goes a long way.
From the moment I arrived in Mulanje, I was immediately mesmerized by the beautiful rural countryside of Malawi, with the magnificent Mt. Mulanje in the background, and the hospitality of the Malawian people.
The first day on the job, I hadn’t brought lunch, and my colleague (who I met just hours before) invited me over for a traditional Malawian lunch. His wife showed me how to make nsima, a staple food made from maize flour. Before long, we were chatting like friends!
Mulanje Mission Hospital is filled with compassionate doctors, nurses, clinicians, and pharmacy staff, who made me feel right at home as I started to work on my mandate to help improve management of the hospital pharmacy.
The pharmacy staff was receptive to my arrival, and expressed a keen interest to learn from a volunteer from overseas. I was equally interested to learn from them! I felt confident in being able to work on building capacity in such a positive environment.
My first task was to conduct a baseline assessment of the current hospital pharmacy management, and develop a training program and management tools to optimize pharmacy services. My first workshop was a review of good dispensing practices and the rational use of medications. The staff were appreciative, and tried to apply some of the things they had learned right away.
There is a magical aura in the air here in Mulanje, and it makes me feel alive. I am touched by the dedication of the staff at Mulanje Mission Hospital in providing the patients with the best care given limited resources. Malawi is indeed “The Warm Heart of Africa”. The strength of the human spirit is inspiring, and I am grateful for the opportunity to apply my knowledge and skills in an area of need.