When a child is ready to go back to their home community, we invite the guardian to come to Open Arms for a few days prior to the return. This is a chance to show the guardian our daily routine, what time the children wake up, when (and what) they are fed and when they go to bed. It is also a time to help with the readjustment of life back into the village. In a typical Malawian village life is very different to the comfort of Open Arms. We are aware that the contrast can be huge and work to minimise the effect of a sudden changing environment on a returning child.
In 2003 in the grounds of Open Arms Blantyre we built a traditional house which is similar to what many of our children will go home to. In the house there is no electricity, no running water and no comfy bed. The children and their guardians are given a mat to sleep on under a mosquito net, and a lantern for light. Here a child and guardian can stay for a few days as they adjust to the changes and get comfortable with each other and their environment.