45-year-old Grace used to live in a small village called Mwalija with her husband and four children.
The village is situated in a very low-lying area of Chikwawa next to the Shire, Malawi’s largest river. The family were forced to flee when the fast-flowing water swamped their home in the middle of the night.
She said when the floods came, she tried to seek refuge at a nearby island:
“It was around 3am, we were asleep then we realised the water was coming inside the house. We all ran for our lives to the island, we left everything in the house.”
On the island, Grace and her family were joined by almost 400 people who had also escaped the flooding. They were all completely surrounded by water, so they had to be rescued by boat.
Whilst waiting to be rescued, Grace was carrying her youngest child on her back and another child on her shoulders. Her husband carried the other two chi
Once they had been rescued, they were moved on to Kasisi camp about two kilometres away from Mwalija.
That night, some people slept in the courtyard of the camp and others – including Grace and her family – stayed with relatives who hosted them.
They were all given food by another organisation working in the area, this meant the family was able to prepare something to eat the evening they were rescued.
Grace said she stayed with her relatives from the day she fled her village, up until the day she received ShelterBox aid on Wednesday, 1 May 2019 (24 days).
More than just shelter
As well as having shelter, Grace was also pleased with the other aid items she was given. She explained how the kitchen set now meant she had pots to cook with and warm water to wash the children.
The area the family live in is now on higher ground away from the river.