Malawi: A Story of Loss


​At Nyachilenda campsite we met Grace Lawrence, a 20-year old woman from Nyachikanda village, traditional authority Ndamera in Nsanje. She and her family were displaced by floods, just like many people in Nsanje district. She is eight months pregnant.

When the floods came, her husband was in Mozambique on a business trip. She was left with her two children, Manesi and Marita. As she waits to reunite with her husband, she tries to come to terms with life without her 3-year old daughter; Marita went missing at the time of rescue. Grace narrates her story.

“It was at midnight when we heard a roaring sound of water and quickly we noticed that the house was filling with water. In no time the water was knee-high and I immediately decided to climb to the roof top of the house with my two children, Manesi and Marita. I heard people screaming in the neighbourhood. Some were climbing trees but we climbed on the roof top of our grass thatched house.

“The rescuers came with boats. It was a quick rescue operation. Everyone was scrambling to go into the boat. Later when I looked around, I noticed that Marita was missing. I was sure that she died. Had my husband been there, I think we couldn’t have lost Marita.

“I will live to remember this experience for the rest of my life. We have experienced floods here, but not of this magnitude. We lost all valuable items that were in the house. We didn’t have time to collect them. We lost food, clothes, kitchen utensils -- everything.

“Of all the losses from these floods, the loss of my daughter is the most painful one. I can’t believe that I will never see my daughter again. I wish I saw her, even if it means seeing her dead body.”

Story by Sandra Bulling, CARE Media and Communications Coordinator