American Writer and Visual Artist William S. Burroughs once said “the aim of education is getting the knowledge, not of facts, but of values”.
This was partially to say that when one attains education he or she is not only supposed to have acquired knowledge to allow them to better understand how the word works and hence advance their personal agenda, but also to be able to recognize the values of human life and pursue them for the betterment of other people’s lives.
Apparently, this is exactly what is happening with a young nursing student at Mulanje Mission College of Nursing Patrick Makina who since last year embarked on a journey of tracing his charity work values and putting them into practice, beginning with construction of a house for two elderly men of Sitolo Village, Traditional Authority Chikumbu in Mulanje, who had been living in the bush.
“While in my first year of Nursing School I found out about these two brothers, Barry and Duncan Leo who for 35 years had been living in the bush, unable to construct even a modest house for themselves and when I listened to their story I was touched so I decided to start looking for funds to support them build a house,” explained the 25 year old Makina.
He added that through the knowledge that he attained from a course called Community Diagnosis within the nursing lessons he felt duty bound to do something about the Leos’ situation and so he went from place to place asking for assistance for the elderly man.
According to the elder brother Barry, aged 85, after he got divorced from his wife he lost the only house that they had together and started living with his mother and the brother.
However after their mother’s death the mud house collapsed due to heavy rains, leaving the two without another option than finding accommodation in a bush within Sitolo Village.
“At our ages, coupled with the poverty that we live in we could not manage to build another house for ourselves, so we moved to a bush that provided minimal privacy and no protection from cruel weather conditions,” explained Duncan.
Group Village Head woman Sitolo said she knew about the two elderly men’s situation.
However, she blamed poverty among people of her village that left the two brothers with no help until Makina came across them.
When he came across the situation during one of their community visits, Makina felt duty-bound to assist them and so he began his search for resources to construct the 3 million Kwacha house that currently Duncan and Barry happily live in.
“When I went home I asked my sisters who committed to help me with a huge part of the money, but still it wasn’t enough so I went on knocking at more doors and finally some Blantyre based business people topped me up and the construction of the house commenced,” Makina explains.
He added that his contribution to the well-being of the two brothers has not only satisfied their souls but his too.
Makina then committed to follow this calling which he said had come to him at the right time when was matured enough to understand other people’s sufferings and his responsibility to play a role in their salvation.
Mulanje Mission College of Nursing Principal Keith Lipato believes that Makina has set the standards for fellow nurses and nursing student as he has portrayed the way lessons should be put into practice.
“Beyond dealing with health problems that the community is suffering from, Makina has considered redefining community diagnosis by including the necessary charity work that he has done. We would like to commend him as well as to call on our nurses and nursing students to emulate this young man’s example,” said Lipato.
Aged 25 and still studying at Mulanje Mission College of Nursing, Patrick holds hopes of becoming a champion in advocating for incorporation of charity work in the nursing practice, in order for Malawian nursing to reach its best meaning.