Faith to Move a Mountain

In America, you go to elementary, middle and high school, usually free of charge and without any uniforms. If desired one can further his education by going to college/university or a technical school to gain a skill. A lot of the time students must take out large loans in order to afford school. Many times there are scholarships, and other aid available for the students if they meet certain criteria. Here in Malawi education is between the have and the have-nots. Those who have money can continue in education those who do not basically are forced into poverty or early marriage. In Malawi primary education, grades from 1 to 8 (Roughly age 6 to 16) this education is free, but the parents must provide uniforms. This processes a problem due to some parents unable to feed their family. Although a uniform cost roughly $2, most Malawian’s live off of less than $1.25 a day.19911707_1686457104728486_684156964_o.jpg

Once a student reaches high school they must have high test scores in addition to paying for the fees to go to school. (Roughly $100 a year, which is roughly 3 months of salary, for people who can barely afford food each month). In order to get into university or college, it’s even harder; you must have high test scores in certain areas as well as be able to pay for school. Many students cannot pay for school, therefore, they pay a portion and truly work on faith that the rest of the semesters will be paid for. Living semester to semester not know how your school fees will be paid for is quite hectic.19897727_1686456918061838_1257653269_o.jpg

For a few weeks when university was on break we had a fellow student teacher, Caleb, volunteer his time, his entire break, helping teach the students since the teachers were on strike. Every day he walked up to the school and helped teach some classes and did it with a smile on his face. He asked us about our home country and truly became a friend during this time. On his last days, I found out that he had no way of paying for his next semester’s tuition. I felt it in my heart that he was a young man trying to make the best out of a situation. Caleb truly wants to succeed in life, but sometimes it’s hard when it feels like the universe is against you. Something Amazing paid for his semester at school. I personally know what it feels like to worry about school being paid for. It is an uncomfortable feeling and it is not something to take lightly.20049350_1686456884728508_122734678_o.jpg

I took a huge leap in faith paying for Caleb’s semester. I wanted to help a friend out who desperately needed, but I did not know how the rest of his semester would be paid. I sadly, informed Caleb that although Something Amazing could help him out now, it was not guaranteed for the rest of his time at University. It has been a few weeks since Caleb returned to school, we were informed that he has been having an even harder time due to his financial situation completely changing. Still unable to help him in his time of need, my faith started to disappear. I wasn’t truly sure what to do or how to help than something amazing happened yesterday. After contacting several people, out of the blue I received a donation to help Caleb out with books, food and other things for this semesters. Along with someone pledging to pay for the remainder of his semesters. Words couldn’t describe the excitement and relief that I could finally give Caleb some good news. All Caleb could say was, “Wow Jill if feels like a dream.” Even on my hardest days things like this make it all worthwhile. If Malawi has taught me one thing, it is that Faith can move a mountain.

Currently, Something Amazing has given a scholarship to the following people:

Freddy: Studying to be a plumber he has been sponsored since 2016.20050301_1686462141394649_644785441_o.jpg

Andrea: he is currently in high school, sponsored since Jan 2017.

Patience: a young girl we paid one/two semesters of her kindergarten year.

Teleza: a young girl who we paid day care for two months.19893576_1686462148061315_1630661825_o

Caleb: studying to be a teacher, but wants to take his degree abroad and study to be a doctor.

If you want to help send one of the following ,or another student to school please donate. Something Amazing runs fully on donations, to send one high school student to school it only cost $45for three months. Without donations we wouldn’t be able to send anyone to school and we thank you very much.

If you have any questions please contact me

Until next time

Stay awesome

Jill

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My Relationship With Malawi

Today I woke up hoping there was electricity since it went out yesterday in the afternoon. I flip the switch, yes electricity, I can charge my phone now. I continue with my morning duties, let’s take a shower, the cold water is hitting my face just right at 6 am right before school. Midway through my shower, the water cuts off. There must be a water shortage right now, I’ll try again later. As I dry myself off I realize my feet are still covered with bright red clay dirt and have been for a month. The dirt rim on the bottom of the shower stays there because most times we don’t wear shoes. Oh yeah, I have to remember to have long tights under my skirt, if my knees show it will be a disaster while in town.19359011_1655358017838395_367363372_o

Let’s go to breakfast and see what Chico (my house mom) made for breakfast: popcorn and boiled sweet potatoes with tea. Sounds like a meal of champions. Midway through breakfast, the power cut off, another power shortage. I whisper to myself today will be a good day, I’m sure of it.19369105_1655358167838380_681591119_o.jpg

Off to school now. The teachers are still on strike, but I love my kids in standard 3 and 4 they are so willing to learn. Today I will try something new, let’s learn about a house and the things inside of a house. This topic may be hard for some students because the only thing in their one bedroom house is a small outside cooking stove, their 5 siblings, and one sleeping mat. I will try anyway and hope it doesn’t fail. I gave each group of students a large piece of paper and several colored pencils and tell them to write: where they live, what their name is and draw a house and things you find in the house. Of course, I had the questions translated to their natural tongue. All the kids snicker when I try to say the words, but at least I tried. The creative minds are at work, it always amazes me when I see at which level the students understand me.

Some do exactly what they are told, drawing a cup or a table and others draw a motorcycle. The creativity in these kids minds are endless, they just need the opportunity. This activity was a success, let’s hang the pictures on the walls to give the classroom some life. The dark brick walls were kind of sad before, now they have color and life added to them. It’s break time, but first, let me collect all the pens I provided so we will continue to have pens each day.19401048_1656894484351415_1214321883_o.jpg

Now, let’s hand out the fixed uniforms, all the kids circled around while I called their names out, “Innocent…..Vincent….Supply……Martha…..Password” some of the names were a bit unique but the kids were so happy to have buttons and large holes fixed on their uniform. The excitement on one girl’s face while she put her dress on and she had a button was priceless.19349516_1655358004505063_373039011_o

The only teacher that came today, walks up and says, “Jill I heard you have a large family at home (Roughly 10 to 12 people) here are some sweet potatoes. I want to give them to thank you for all that you do here.” I was speechless, the simple act of giving me food meant the world to me as I replied, ” twanga jomany(thank you very much)” many people can’t afford to feed their family, I am thankful when people are willing to give their last.19369166_1656894407684756_304935396_o.jpg

There are many things I love in this community. There are many things I look forward to seeing every day when I ride to and from school. The one thing that brightens up my day is when I come home and see the kids that live in my neighborhood. They all come running up to me wanting a hug. They have grown to be my little brothers and sisters. A hug and a kiss for everyone, there is always enough for everyone. Throughout the day there are times, I hate Malawi. I hate some of the cultural differences here, and many of the things I endure. I hate that sometimes when I buy chips they are stale. I hate that so many kids are going to bed hungry. I hate when I buy fries the bag breaks before I can eat them. I hate when the goats are too loud at night. I hate when the teachers do not show up for work. I hate when literally everything around me seems like it is failing. But at the end of the day, I love Malawi.19243714_1656886011018929_53289355_o

Please donate in order for us to feed more families, send more students to school and help in many ways. $8 can feed a family for roughly 2 weeks. $2 can make a new uniform for a student. $45 can send a high school student to school for one semester. Anything you give can be helpful.

Remember to follow us on facebook: Jill bundy or Something Amazing and instagrm Expereince_something_Amazing or Maybeits_jill

Until Next Time

Stay Awesome

Jill

Henry Takes Over Malawi

 

For my new readers, I will be featuring my participants in a few blogs while they are here in Malawi this summer. Here is our first participant Henry.19212894_1649867261720804_1566548748_o

HI!!! My name is Henry Dioh and I am one of the participants with Something Amazing. I live in Marietta, Georgia and work in insurance. I discovered Something Amazing through a Facebook share in the fall of 2016. When I saw that Something Amazing was going to Malawi in 2017 I knew that I had to be a part of the trip since Malawi was a country that I wanted to visit since my viewing of the 2008 documentary ” I Am Because We Are”. The purpose of my trip to Malawi is to volunteer to teach at a primary school.19204783_1497794893617911_843008381_o

Today is my seventh day in Malawi and I have experienced a roller coaster of emotions. I have been staying in a small village called Rumphi in a house with a host family and two other volunteers. Upon entering the home I was greeted with open arms. As I proceeded through the home I noticed that the walls did not touch the ceiling, there was no hot water (sometimes no water at all) with chickens running through the home, and I would have to share a bedroom with a complete stranger. Cold showers are torture!! I immediately thought that this was going to be the longest two weeks of my life. As time progressed I realized that the living situation adjustment was not as bad as I thought it would be. I began to embrace the chaos of living with 8 other people, lack of cold water/ electricity blackouts/personal space.19243522_1649867101720820_48579353_o.jpg

The warmth of the people in Malawi, whether it’s at my temporary home or on the street, is extremely comforting. There is a strong sense of community here that I do not see in America. It brings a smile to my face and joy to my heart when several of the children and parents (on the road that I live on) come over to talk or just hang out. I love how the Malawians wave to me as I ride my bike through town. Or how you can meet a person one day and go on a weekend getaway to Nkahta Bay the next day. I have not had to worry about my safety. Owning a car is a big luxury here in Malawi ( most Malawians walk or ride a bike). The average person lives on less than $1.00 a day with little to no education and poor health care. I have quickly gained a new found appreciation for life. I think to myself I cannot complain about anything. I have three days left in the great country of Malawi. Although my time is short here I am sure that other great encounters lie ahead of me.

Stay tuned and stay awesome!

Henry Dioh

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.

Remember to subscribe to the blog(bottom right-hand18818206_1630360453671485_572070844_o.jpg corner)

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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

New Things to Come

Everyone says 2016 was their worst year yet. For me, 2016 was one heck of a roller coaster. This year may have had its downfalls, but I enjoyed every curve ball, crying nights, laughing mornings, new adventures, and scary moments. This will not be a blog where I tell you about every amazing or not so amazing things that have happened in the last 364 days. (If you are interested in those adventures, read my previous blogs.)

But I will tell you 3 things I have learned this year:

  1. Travel as much as you can

There is nothing more satisfying in the world than traveling to new destinations. If you have always wanted to travel someplace book your plane ticket. Travelling doesn’t have to be super expensive, nor do you have to wait until you are established in order to travel. In 2017 I am trying to reach as many countries as I can. This year I went 3 (South Africa, France, Bahamas) next year I will aim for 6. I have already booked my ticket for an awesome summer in Southern Africa, but I cannot wait for the other adventures to come.

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  1. You never will have enough money

The biggest thing I learned is money always comes back. Stop working every day and not enjoying life. Take that vacation you always wanted, go to the restaurant you never got a chance to try, buy that shirt you love. In 5 years you’re not going to look back and think I wish I didn’t spend all that money; instead, you will remember the memories you are making. Start saving. Each check after all responsibilities put 50 dollars to the side and after 4 months do something fun with what you saved.

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  1. Meet new people.

Stop being shy and talk to people. 85% of the time if you start a conversation with someone they will answer back. I do not know why people have lost hope in humanity, but not everyone is a serial killer. If you like a person’s shirt, say something,. Want to hang out with someone, invite them over. Stop being shy and staying home alone, meet new people. It is okay to meet new people. Some of my best friends are people I have met overseas, or someone I started a random conversation with.  Start small, all you have to do is say, “Hi.”

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It’s a new year to become a better person than you were last year. Embrace all the downfalls and cheerful times this year has to bring. Something Amazing has some awesome things planned for this year. Including, but not limited to our very first group trip to Malawi. My plane ticket is purchased and I am more than excited.  5 months to go, and a lifetime of memories. 2016 is was amazing and now I am ready for 2017.

 

Happy New Year

Until Next time,

Stay Awesome

Jill

The Clouds Get in the Way

Today, I climbed Lion’s Head with my fellow Germans after work. The view from Lion’s Head was impeccable. Many people told us that Lion’s Head was difficult walk, but the view was worth the climb. For those of you that don’t know, I am afraid of falling from high heights; therefore I do not rock climb.rock climbing On portions of Lion’s Head I was put out of my comfort zone and forced to rock climb.  While looking at the route I became discouraged; and I thought to myself I cannot make it. In life when you are looking at the obstacles ahead, you become discouraged. Sometimes you don’t know how or why things happen, but you feel defeated before the race even starts. My thoughts were crippling my actions and making it hard to move forward on my hike. After a few deep breathes and focusing on one step at a time the route became clear and less terrifying.hiking

Since coming to Cape Town, I have been challenged in many different ways. I no longer rely myself; instead I must have faith. I have been forced to look past all the trials and tribulations that have presented itself and keep a smile on my face. The first week at the orphanage I cried almost every day because I didn’t know how I was going to impact the kids’ lives. I didn’t know how God want to use me and in what way Something Amazing could help. Sometimes you may not know how it will happen, but that’s when faith comes in. Faith is that little piece of hope that you aren’t sure, how, or when something will happen but God will provide it.   Instead of giving up, I am staying true to the course and will continue with my head up high. Just like my hike, sometimes when the route isn’t clear you just have to take it step by step.sunset

Until Next time,

Stay Awesome!

Jill