Merci is 24 years old and is from Zomba; she stays with her older sister. She is a second year student at university studying information technology. Before the pandemic, when she was not studying or working as a TEGA, she would be cooking, chatting with her friends, or using her phone for things like Facebook. She notes that her education has been significantly affected because she is not able to buy enough data to study online.

“From the last diary in which we described what has been happening in our lives, this time…life has been very hard for a number of reasons. Firstly, I fell sick and I was admitted at a hospital and stayed there for two weeks. And my life was hard because I was constantly at risk, you know that time, during the Covid-19 i was difficult to be where a lot of people have gathered, so it was hard in the hospital ward… And when I was discharged, reaching home… life was still hard because things kept on changing particularly with finances, things kept on changing and got really hard…So it’s frightening we’re going to finish the year though we’re already at the end, things are getting harder… we usually buy new things and eat nice food on Christmas day, we are in doubt [for this year] as there is nothing indicating that we are going to drink Fanta and wear new clothes.”