On November 2007, for the very first time I sat foot on the African continent. It wasn't a destination I had chosen deliberately. At that time, my daughter Claire was in Ndola, Zambia, realizing something she had long dreamed of doing: sharing time with poor children and helping them.
That one should help the poor was a concept I was long familiar with. On the other hand, the fact that we, from industrialized countries, could need help from the poor was something that I realized much later in life. Statistics show that in Switzerland suicide is the number one cause of mortality of 15 to 44 years old men. Therefore it is obvious that materialism is not the key to happiness. Furthermore, seeing how much volunteering had a positive impact on my two daughters, I wished that many young people could have the opportunity to spend some time in a third world country.
With this kind of thoughts, I was spending a week in Africa, staying with an African family, the family of Nicholas, who hosted my daughter for four months. In the early hours of the day, I loved to sit on the front porch of their tiny home. I looked at the sun slowly rising, first spreading light over the mango trees, purring orange colors over the small shed at the far end of the garden and finally illuminating their spacious land. During those quiet moments, before the day really started, I was thinking how wonderful it would be to have not only one volunteer, but to have three, four, five of them living with Nicholas and his family. Not only could they help each other go through the daily challenges, but they could do much more activities and develop larger service projects. They would surely have incredible experiences here in Africa, unforgettable ones, which would accompany them through life, guide them through its heights and lows to more success and greater happiness. For this purpose, I thought that it would be nice if Nicholas could build another house in his garden.
Sharing my thoughts with Nicholas, he approved silently nodding his head. He stood up, went to his room and came back with a piece of paper. He unfolded it in front of me and there, on the paper, was a sketch of a bigger house. It has been his dream, it was my dream. This house could be used to help the poor and the rich.
Back to Switzerland, Claire's testimony about her stay in Zambia moved many people's heart. Relatives, school friends and many other people generously gave donations.
Less than two years later, the Malaika Home is beautifully standing beside the mango trees.
As I am writing this report, Claire is back for one month in Ndola. She is staying with the Nicholas' family in the Malaika Home together with another volunteer from Switzerland, one from America, and four from Congo.
My heartfelt thanks go to all those who helped in one way or in another to make this one dream come true.