This blog is by Something Amazing second participant Nadia. Jill met Nadia last year in South Africa while they worked at the same orphanage. Nadia volunteered for 2.5 weeks in Malawi and here is her Experience:
Red sand. A constant smell of fire. Green trees. Mountains. Clothes drying in the wind. Women carrying buckets on their head. Goats running free. Men driving fast on fully packed bikes. Bumpy roads. Malawi invites you into a beautiful world of kindness, breathtaking nature and hospitality. To me, this simple life seemed very primitive in the beginning, but I adapted quickly. After being stuck in Lilongwe due to missing luggage, it was a relief to arrive in Rumphi (3 days too late). After only one day at the school, my stay in Malawi finally made sense.
In school, I met a bunch of wonderful kids who were eager to learn. A willingness that isn’t even comparable to most Danish student’s – and even my own by that age. This makes it even more unbearable when most of the teachers don’t show up for work. However, it pushed me into performing actual lessons for the kids. Since I’ve never taught in a school before, this was quite nerve wrecking. But I realized that anything is better than nothing – and we sure had fun! My background in social education work gives me another perspective on how kids learn, and the teacher of grade 5 was definitely surprised when I made the whole class jump around like kangaroos from Australia! But this is a balance. From what I’ve learned about volunteering in Africa, you must respect and understand the culture to be part of it. And in this position, you can share knowledge – and both parts get wiser.
I did have a first-hand experience of it when I threw myself into building a house for a woman I was introduced to. A woman in a wheelchair with cancer, who really needed the help. I did not want to be the white person who just paid for everything. Therefore I started carrying bricks and balancing giant buckets of water on my head.
My money was short, but I realized something after worth: maybe I could have both given the woman a house and employed people in the process of building it? The locals expected me to – “cause I’m the rich white person” – but I was too focused on just having a finished house for them to move into. Luckily I will keep on learning every day – and volunteering abroad teaches me a lot.
My time in Malawi was definitely too short. This welcoming country is full of opportunities for those wants to get close to the African people and do actual educational, humanitarian and/or developing work. I find this simple life charming and admirable. People getting everything out of nothing. Even a bike ride through the village warms my heart. I do miss warm showers and a bigger variety of food, but I will definitely go for another Malawian adventure.
See you again / Paa gensyn