Let’s help Patience

Today hasn’t been a good day. Actually, the last few days have been tough with Something Amazing programs building up, school and work. A few days ago, I got terrible news that has hurt me in ways I didn’t know where possible. Every time I am faced with death it hurts me a little differently. Not every situation is the same, but this one was quite different. In Malawi, we sponsored a family, (that I have spoken about in previous post) Patience and her mom Felua. Ms Felua was diagnosed with cancer about 12 years ago, a few days ago she was feeling pain and went to the hospital (which was normal for her)and passed away. 21751270_1766443943396468_8437666162215221459_n - Copy

An overwhelming feeling of inadequacy rushed all over me. I became very close with this family as I visited 2 to 3 times a week, whether I was tutoring Patience, dropping off food for the house. This became a regular routine for me and I became attached. We may not have been able to speak a single word to each other, but while I was there I could tell Ms Feula knew her days were numbered and she wanted the best for her daughter. There was a large language barrier, between us, but that didn’t stop a bond. Many times I didn’t know what to say and many times there wasn’t a smile ever to be seen on anyone’s faces. Maybe there wasn’t food in the house, maybe Patience was tired from taking care of her mom, maybe everyone was tired and just needed a break. Many times I went over to the house and I did not have any good news for the family but simply could bring my presence.  21868149_1770424482998414_1683580688_o

One of the few times I brought good news, was when a Something Amazing participant built her a house to give her and her daughter a place to live. Times I just wanted to cry at the situation, that patience and her mom lived in. And this is one of the few rare times, Ms Felua smiled and seemed content with life. I don’t really know much about her, or where she came from all I knew is her and her daughter needed help and I could do that. Even a few days later I still think: Could I have done more? Could I have visited a few more times? Could I have given patience one last hug? Could I have done a million things better? I was feeling convicted of things I couldn’t control. My biggest fear was what would happen to Patience, there was no immediate family I felt could take care of her and give her a loving family.21875565_1770424586331737_556683661_o.jpg

My Manager on the ground in Malawi, talked to the local chiefs to ensure that the house will still be Patience and the main issue was who will take care of her. The best solution was to send her to boarding school. Now I don’t know how she will go to school, who will pay for her fees, but it’s the least we can do. Patience is in need of many things in order to be ready for school. I may have not been able to help her as best as I could while I was in Malawi, but I can help make her future a little brighter. Patience story is like many Malawians. Something Amazing aims to help one person at a time, and this time we need to come together and help Patience.21740450_1766856090021920_6502493186026034984_n - Copy

Even the smallest amount can help:

  • $170 provides for a years’ worth of school
  • $65 is a semesters worth of school
  • $25 provides 4 new uniforms and jumpers or blankets and hygiene items
  • $20 provides a new book bag
  • $ 14 provides a mattress for her new school
  • $12 Gets her several new clothes for after school
  • $4 Provides 8 new books and math instruments
  • $3 provides new school shoes
  • $ 2 soap and hygiene things

Any amount can help us. I will be selling small wallets and a hand-carved chess table at a later time if we cannot get donations promptly. Anything not funded, I will make sure she does not go without, but I need your help as I can’t save the world by myself.

Until Next time

Stay awesome

Jill

We Eat to Survive.

Let’s talk about food. I have been asked many times how the food was over in Malawi. At home I have a plethora of choices. Today will we have chicken or fish? Do we want sautéed veggies? Rice or pasta? How bout tacos? What about Chinese food? These are daily questions I ran threw my head when looking into my pantry. Americans are wasteful, we also buy way too much, even things we may not need or want. We buy it because it is there.19179614_1648193078554889_1690278931_o1.jpg
The average Malawian, even though there may be many options for food, eat to survive. Varation in food is for those who have money. Having anything left over in your pantry is for those who have money. The average pantry is completely empty. Everyone buys food just for that day and there is no left overs. Mnay homes do not have elctricity or there ar emany power outages that make having a fridgerator difficult. Now the access to get food is very simple usually a 5 minute walk from any house. The need to go to a store that is far is not the issue. Personally, I feel if the store was far, everyone would still only buy what they need because that is the culture.
The daily menu looks like, breakfast: tea, butter and bread, sometimes boiled sweet potatoes or porge (made out of NSima). One time we had popcorn and tea that was a very interesting day.20862370_1730918470282349_652235855_o.jpg
Lunch: NSima (which is corn grinded down to flour and water) with some sort of relish  (usually: mustard greens, chinese cabbage, pumkin leave,  tomotoes, onion and possibly beans)


Dinner: is usually very similar to lunch there maybe chicken, (usually once a week) and a different Varation to the relish as mentioned above. Other than the above mentioned options these are the meals that are made. (The fish I had is only had the campsite due to being right next to the lake different area ,different staple).

Each night at dinner we would huddle around a small coffee table. There was one bench that 3 out of the 11 people in the house could sit on. In Malawi it is custom that the vistors eat and dish out their food first. Now I know you are probally imagining big serving dishes, with alot of food. But no, these were small normal sized bowls meant to feed 11 people. Before dishing any food out a younger child in the family would have a pitcher of water and a bowl, for each person to wash their hands before eating.

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Now you may think to yourself why don’t you buy other food, cook for the family, show them a different variation? This is like telling your grandmother there is a different way to make a dish, that she has prepared 80 years the same way. It just doesnt happen. Even if there is rice, pasta, anything else, everyone still wants the staples. It is what they know. I can not change that, nor do i wnat to but j can adjust. I have learned to love certain ascents of the food, and sometimes just close my eyes and eat because I’m starving. Sometimes I’m still hungry. Many times I just don’t think about it. Or sometimes I make the choice not to eat because I can not stomach the meal. Meal times are no longer an enjoyable time of the day for me.


I have learned that we eat for survival here, not for enjoyment. Maybe this is one of my many first world problems, but adjusting is never an issue. All I can think about many times is just wanting tacos. I have personal found a few hidden gems that I enjoy here, like these fried donuts (without the super sugary part) and a few good cookies. Or the fresh fries and fried chicken on the side of the road. As I choke down this sweet potato and tea, I’d rather run into the comfort of my money, but sadly others cant.

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Until Next Time

Stay Awesome
Jill

You don’t have to like me, but respect me

(As a reminder these are my experiences. I cannot speak for a whole country or continent.)

The social norms here in Malawi are very different. I feel like I have taken a time machine and have gone back in time.18870052_1630371413670389_1293046520_o.jpg The roles of men and women are simply: the women are the main providers, whether that is bringing home money, taking care of the children, or doing all of the house duties.  The women are to go fetch water, get firewood, or sell the harvest. Men and women are not respected on the same level and I have experienced this first hand. For example, an older gentleman that works at the campsite asked Ernest (A fellow Malawian female) to go fetch water, since she was busy I went instead. I got about 5 liters of water,(4 really big bottles of water) which I had to walk about 10 minutes in total to retrieve the water. It was not a far walk but can become difficult due to the amount of water I was carrying. When I returned about 20 minutes later, the older gentlemen asked, “Why I only got 5 liters of water instead of the 15 liters?” This would have been a fair question if 5 other guys were not simply just sitting around doing nothing. I simply replied, “Your welcome for the 5 liters of water, and one of your other men can go get the other 10 liters.” It is seen in this culture that, fetching water, regardless of how far or how heavy it is a women’s job. I have walked into rooms and have not been acknowledged solely due to the fact I was a woman. This has made me want to flip many tables. Many of the times I am by far the most qualified person in a room, due to experience in teaching, almost fully completing a degree, owning a nonprofit, and have done lots of research on developing nations, but I have been overlooked due to my gender. This is their cultural I cannot change it I must accept it. Now I simply stay quiet and observe the people around me.18818060_1630361263671404_1372981790_o

The structure of work is very different here. There are plenty of men who go to work, but this solely depends on the structure of the household. If one does not own a business, is a driver or owns a farm than the person does not work. Here in Rumphi, Malawi if you own a business you are successful. It does not matter if your business makes a profit, but you own something and one should be proud. I do believe that owning a business is something to be proud of. My only issue is when walking down the street for 5 minutes you pass 15 mini shops (usually a small outhouse looking building with the simple necessities), 5 barber shops and 15 people selling vegetables. I do not know how people make a profit to survive.  This has become a systematic problem due to the lack of education. In Malawi, Primary school (1st grade to 8th grade) is free, after 8th grade, the parents must pay for the student to continue education. Parents cannot afford for their child to continue their education due to the lack of funds available. The other issue is the student cannot pass the 8th-grade exam due to constantly being out of school or having unqualified teachers. Many of the students in rural areas miss weeks’ worth of school to help on the farm or help their parents earn money to get food.18869687_1630362463671284_1301511625_o

In these situations, I cannot do anything, because these are systematic problems. But what I can do is make the teachers accountable for showing up for work. I can make sure that each day I am present for school the students are in class as much as possible. I can make sure that even if a teacher isn’t present learning still continues. Education is key to accomplishing anything in life. Although going to college and university is not always the option for everyone, education is. This goes for anywhere in the world, students are our future.  We want to make sure that each student knows they can accomplish anything. We (teachers, parents, friends, decent human beings) must uplift and protect our children so that they can go be Something Amazing in this world.

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Until next time

Stay Awesome,

Jill

 

 

Off to School We Go

First, I want to thank everyone that reached out to me over the last few days. It truly means a lot to me. If you know anyone else that is out in the missionary field please pray for them daily and send them a message, it truly does help us during our toughest days.18675263_1621353741238823_111748038_o (1).jpg

I have struggled the last few days to write a blog on my time at the school thus far. The school can be extremely frustrating due to the mentality of the staff members and the school committee. I first will walk you through my typical day. The sun is rising at roughly 5:30/5:45 which means it is time to wake up and get ready for the day. I refuse to take a shower in the morning because it is extremely cold at that time and it would just make me cranky. We have a small breakfast and head out the door about 6:30 in order to ride our bike 45 minutes up several hills, past many corn and tobacco fields, in order to get to the school. We arrive at the school about 7:15 to a handful of students cleaning the classrooms and front yard with a bundle of tall grass, used as brooms. About 7:30/7:45 a lot more students have arrived and the Headmaster (Principle) has gathered the students in rows in order to sing morning songs and have prayer before starting school. At this moment only about one teacher has shown up and is able to assist during the morning ceremony. Teaching in the classrooms are supposed to start at 7:30, but only two out of six teachers has arrived.18720850_1621354311238766_163237227_o.jpg

The students are now sent to the classrooms while the teachers talk and wait for the others to arrive. Some days teachers do not show up because of a plethora of excuses. For example, they were “busy,” hungover, or just didn’t feel like coming to work. This can happen anywhere between two to three times a week. Over the last week and a half, all the teachers have only come to school once. The other teachers come anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour late, because the walk to school was too long. About 8:30 the teachers begin to teach, if a teacher didn’t show up for the day their class just plays outside in the field for the entire day. 18675314_1621354304572100_1232590198_o (1)The class periods are about 25 minutes long, many times after a class period the teacher will call for a break, which should last about 10 minutes, but usually last roughly 30 minutes. There have been many days that teaching has been disrupted for the students to build bricks or pick corn in the field. I have not truly understood this method completely, and probably never will due to the cultural difference. It is very often that school has finished at about 11:30 am and all the students are sent home.

Many of the students walk a few miles in order to go to school. With the plastic bags in hand hold their torn notebooks and with holes in their clothes the students are ready to learn. I have had the pleasure to teach several English lessons and break the material down for the students to understand. English is the student’s third language that they will have learned by the age of 8. This causes many struggles and confusion when trying to understand a lesson fully in English. The students must also use a lot of memorizing skills due to the lack of textbooks in each class. In certain classes, there are four books for a class of twenty-five. I commend each student for their bravery and readiness to learn even with the lack of textbooks and supplies that a normal American class would have. I would never take any frustration I have with how the school is running with the students. The students have such a pure heart. They enjoy running around barefoot, and playing in the field, enjoying life like any other child.18642088_1621354401238757_1603758112_o.jpg

It has taken me some time, but I have found the project I will conduct for the students while I am here. All of the schools in Malawi require a uniform. Regardless of whether a student can afford the uniforms they are allowed to come to school. At the school I teach: 40% of the students do not own a uniform, and 85% of the uniforms have large tears, missing buttons or completely do not fit the student. It cost roughly $2 to buy a new uniform for a child.18676648_1621353744572156_1555681847_oSomething Amazing will be donating new uniforms to the students that do not have a uniform roughly 35. We also will be repairing the broken uniforms and making them like new. The students have a sense of pride when wearing these uniforms. We want to ensure each child can feel a sense of happiness when coming to school and not a sense of shame because they cannot afford a uniform. School should be a place of refugee when a home situation is not ideal. Something Amazing has hired a local tailor which will help make all of the uniforms for the students within the next few weeks.

Something Amazing is still receiving donations to help provide uniforms for the student. If you donate $10 you just provided a uniform for 5 students. We thank everyone in advance for helping with this project.

Please follow us on social media: Facebook: Jillian Marie Bundy or Experience Something Amazing

Or on Instagram: Maybeits_jill or ExperienceSomethingAmazing. Remember to subscribe at the bottom right-hand corner.

Until Next Time,

Stay Awesome,

Jill

93 days and I cant wait!

We are exactly 93 days until I leave for Malawi for 2 months. malawi 10

For those who are unaware of this trip or what Something Amazing does, Something Amazing is a nonprofit that helps lower the cost of volunteer trips more affordable for anyone to go. Along with, making trips affordable Something Amazing partners up with a local village and school in order to help the children and people in that village. Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world where many people lack basic necessities. In order to help, we must raise enough funds before our first group trip this summer! We currently have two people signed up to go on this group trip.

All money raised will go to our efforts to:malawi 12

  • Send more kids to school
    • It cost roughly $45 a semester to $$125 a semester to send someone to secondary school or college
    • We currently send two boys, Andrea and Freddy, to Secondary school and college.
  • School Supplies for the village
    • Roughly $100 to $150 can supply enough school supplies for 200 students for 6 months.
    • We have two schools we are currently helping.
  • Other projects
    • Bring Freshwater
    • Soccer supplies for the local teams.

This is where you can help!

Below are two links where you can donate:

This link you can donate and ALL proceeds go towards our current programs:

This link you can buy a Spa Basket that is fully handmade with all natural oils. The basket includes soap, bath bomb, soap scrub or bath salts and a handcrafted wooden soap holder.

This basket is $22 or two for $40. Half of the proceeds go towards our programs. 16523173_10212420019240511_1042214776_o-1

Our goal is to raise $1000 in order to help a great help while our there this summer. Do something Great today and help! Majority of money will go directly towards the programs we have planned!!Stay Awesome!Jill

Why Change?

I have officially been home for three months. These three months have been a heap of fun, heartbreak, changtable mountain.jpges and anything else that could have turned my life upside down. Through these three months, I have learned the true meaning of adapting to change. Many of us hate change. As people, we get comfortable in how we live. We tend to stray away from anything different from the usual routine. Coming back home to simple Georgia was one of the hardest things I have done. The transition back to an everyday life of not being in a foreign country has taken a toll on my mind and soul. Some days were extremely difficult and in order to get through the day I reminisced on my adventures and time with my kids.
Other days were great, especially days I ate all the food I missed while aboard. I even went to the extreme lengths and cut my hair off, I am loving my new cut now, but that decision rocked my world for a few weeks.cut hari
Every day for the first month I yearned to be back outside of these country’s borders. Of course, as soon as life started to settle down, and being home didn’t weigh as heavily on my heart, life took another turn. We live in an age where pictures tell a story, every picture is a memory that won’t be lost. I lost majority of my pictures from my South African trip due to my IPhone crashing. It took a few weeks to mentally recover, but I had to realize that the pictures of my kids weren’t the only thing I had left of them. Every day for the second month I did everything I could to find internships in another country. Once presented with an internship in Costa Rica, I was excited to branch my talents and explore a new environment. At this point everything was falling into place, everything I asked for was given to me. Everything does not come at the correct timing’ therefore we must make further adjustments.

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On the third month, everything changed again. I thought Costa Rica was exactly everything I needed at this point in my life. Working alongside a nonprofit as an intern and learning everything needed to properly run a nonprofit. Sadly, I had to turn this opportunity down; in order to study at THE University of Georgia. For those of
my readers that aren’t from the Southern parts of the United States or Georgia, THE University of Georgia is one of the best universities in Georgia and the Southeast. At first, I couldn’t understand why good opportunities kept presenting itself for me to make hard decisions. I was devastated when Costa Rica had to be turned down, but when one door closes God always opens another. Now I am all moved into my new apartment in Athens, Ga and I couldn’t be more excited about the new opportunities awaiting for me at THE Unversity of Georgia.
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I cannot be abroad right now, but everything I do now is to make a better future to travel the world later. Something Amazing has been working hard to secure our trip for next summer. If you or someone you know is interested in going to Malawi please fill out the application.
UPDATE: Freddy has been sent to school with the help of our supporters. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram in order to get weekly updates.
Until next time
Stay Awesome
Jill, Ceo of Something Amazing

So Longs and See you Laters

The last month has been a world wind13405540_1184170384957163_1980882133_o of traveling and excitement, which has limited the amount of time I have had to work.  For the last 6 months I have conquered navigating South African streets, Paris subways, different hiking trails, and many other exciting activities. Now I am back home.  This is a bittersweet statement due to the fact my heart is not home with me. I found a place that I love more than Kanye loves Kanye. I miss all of my kids from the orphanage.  The impact that these kids have had on my life is beyond anything I could have expected. The smiles, hugs, laughs and cries warmed my heart for so long that I am starting to feel empty.  Every conversation held, I start to wrap any subject back to an experience back in South Africa.
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Through the anger, disappointments, happy, sad, and exciting moments I would not have changed the last 6 months of my life. The first two weeks I cried for these kids.  I cried because I did not know how to help. The pain in my heart did not go away, the pain simply just got smaller. The more time I spent with the kids the more attached I became. The attachment began to mirror the relationship of an older sister looking after her siblings.  No one ever wants to say goodbye, not even a “see you later”. After a while, “the so longs” become “see you never” and the memories are all that are left of the amazing interaction.13410808_1184172254956976_339562634_o

The last day was extremely hard for me, as I hugged my last kid with tears running down my face I could not even muster up the courage to say, “You Later.” Although they saw me cry that day it was tears of sadness mixed with a dash of joy. One of the other volunteers on her last day wrote: “Today was a sad day. The day I had been dreading since I was accepted this assignment as a volunteer at this orphanage. The day we had to say goodbye again. I knew they would have a place in my heart, but my heart is now in 1000 pieces, I didn’t expect. I’m a mess right now and I feel like I have been dumped. I have a huge lump in my throat, a big hole in my stomach and my tears will never end. I love these kids. Each and every one. These kids, you changed me forever!” –Cecilie

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South Africa treated me well during these last six months.  I plan to return to the orphanage one day, but I pray that none of the kids I know is still at the home.  I pray each of the kids at the orphanage find wonderful homes to grow up in. My biggest prayer is that all the kids eventually receive all of the love and attention that they deserve. I know these kids will do great things in life and I cannot wait until our paths cross again. For many of my kids I left a photo on their locker with words of encouragement on the back. I hope that photo travels with each and every one of them wherever they go in life.

Until next time South Africa,

Stay Awesome

Jill

 

We are Lost.

 

Day 1.

Three Germans and an American have set off onto our crazy road trip along the coast of South Africa. It is scary to think we rely on my English to help get us through our trip. The different mix of personalities should make this trip very interesting.  I have never been on a road trip with friends before so this is all very new to me. We plan and plan, but it is very obvious our calling in life is not to be travel advisors. In the first 15 minutes we missed our exit and got turned around. The next 45minutes we were going in the wrong direction.  Eventually we found our way . The way consisted of driving for an hour on dirt roads and missing the exit, but we were finally on our way.

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I tend to meet more people who have no idea where they are going in life then those who have everything planned. Obviously ,there is no right or wrong way to go about life. Along our travels we stopped in Betty Bay, Hermanus, the Southernmost point in Africa and Mussel Bay. Each of these small towns held foreigners and locals all just seeking a life filled with in seeing something different. I find family where ever I go whether in the big city or small villages.

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The extreme difference between the less fortunate and the wealthy is the hardest thing for me to understand while being here. The most interesting thing I have seen is the beautiful multi-million rand (South Africa dollar) houses sitting on the coast, only 500 meters away from people living in tin shack houses. The small tin houses have limited water and electricity. While travelling into the rural parts of South Africa we have passed many people walking on a road that is many kilometers away from any towns. Nobody knows how far or how long these people have been walking, it could be hours or even a few days. I guess the important part is they always find their way. Regardless of how the journey begins or ends things tend to fall into place.

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At the end of my trip I will post a rough itinerary that we followed/Got lost on. I’ll include the many different hostels and activities that we have completed on this crazy trip.

until next time

Stay Awesome,

Jill