June 05

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From “Truly Asia” To “The Warm Heart of Africa”

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“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” – Saint Augustine

In the next couple of days, I will be travelling to Africa! Sounds good or not? Well it depends on your own perception. You might be asking me – Where in Africa? When is the exact date you are going there? Why are you going? How come you choose Africa? And the best question I want to answer is “What are you going to do in Africa?”

I am travelling with a PURPOSE. I am a VOLUNTEER. I am GSK and I am PROUD of it.

Together with other GSK employees around the world, I am selected as part of the 2018 Pulse Volunteers to serve our NGO Partners. As I embark on this journey starting 18th June 2018 and for the next six months, I will be leveraging my skills to help and assist my NGO Partner in Malawi in East Africa. Thus, I am hoping to create a positive and long lasting impact to my NGO at the end of my assignment.

Travelling with a purpose is not new to me. I’ve been living in Malaysia for the last five and a half years due to work. After a year in GSK Philippines, the Southeast Asia Finance Team have been migrated in the GSK Business Service Centre – Kuala Lumpur. And the rest, they said, is history.

Malaysia’s tourism tag line is “Malaysia…Truly Asia”. This is evident since this country has a great mix of culture of south east Asia. From it’s amazing tourist destinations, to the delicious foods, to the cheerful people and colorful history, Malaysia indeed is Truly Asia. Living here is very convenient. Local transportation is accessible. Food is everywhere. Going to and from the office is fast. Internet connection is indeed surprising as well. I am leaving in a fast-phased environment.

Let’s move forward a little bit. By next week, my volunteering activity will begin. I will be leaving not only Malaysia but also the environment I used to stay with for the last half decade to dedicate my time helping my NGO in Malawi.

As one of the smallest countries in the continent of Africa, Malawi has been dubbed as “The Warm Heart of Africa”. The population of the country as of 2016 is around 18M per Wikipedia. Its capital is Lilongwe and considered as well as the largest city of Malawi. On the other hand, Blantyre is the second largest city and I will be based in Neno District of the city.

I heard a lot of stories regarding Malawi from my Pulse Buddy Sylvia while she was on her assignment. The people are very welcoming and always willing to help you. You cannot feel any homesick because you are part of the “family” there. I can feel the joy from her blogs when I read all of those. Though there are some challenges living there like water, electricity and internet connection, there are more to life in Malawi and these are the PEOPLE in the community. I am really excited to experience as well ‘The Warm Heart of Africa’.

My journey from Malaysia to Malawi will be amazing and life-changing. I will be able to discover more of my purpose here on Earth. And I can be part of the page and story in the book called WORLD.

 

Fun Fact

Malaysia is near Malawi – according to me.

If you are going to arrange the world countries alphabetically, Malaysia will come after Malawi. Hence it’s near to each other 🙂

Above Photo

Left : Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia at night

Right : Lake Malawi