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

 “You are welcome here!”

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:20747489_1723813524326177_717356181_o.jpg

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.

20771836_1723813554326174_2071686845_oIn 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.20771689_1723813520992844_1992326838_o

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.

20746688_1723813540992842_666165478_o 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.20773468_1723811040993092_794954809_o.png

Stay Awesome

See you again / Paa gensyn

Nadia from Denmark

Am I home?

I felt this over whelming sadness while I sat on the plane heading home. I have been traveling for the last 3 weeks visiting new places, visiting old friends and just exploring. Which never allowed me the chance to fully sit back and process my trip. This feeling has slowly been creeping up on to my soul the last 3 weeks.20676819_1718435441530652_934425800_o - Copy

This is a feeling that may never go away. This feeling of being trapped in your own world. A world that isn’t at all horrible, a world that I have a loving family, and friends that love and support me. For the last 21 years of my life, I have had everything I ever wanted, I got into a great school, I am one year away from graduating with a special education degree. I never have had to worry about anything when growing up, or even now. For a lack of better words, America has nothing for me. The life I lived in America is not one to want to live. Recently I was stuck in Africa. Yes, stuck in Africa no way of getting back home. (Only for a few days). Here is what happened: I wasn’t able to get into South Africa due to old immigration issues. I was denied entry into the country, and therefore could not catch my flight. What people don’t realize is 90% of southern African fights connect via South Africa. This caused a big problem when trying to get new tickets. 20662636_1718435488197314_697301928_o - Copy

The last three months have been the most challenging, frustrating, wonderful eye opening months I have ever lived. I have experienced racism, and sexism first hand. I have had many people doubt my ability due to my age, color, and gender. I have cried because I felt helpless against kids who were being forced into poverty due to the lack of educational support that was needed. I have seen the sunrise over Lake Malawi a million times and it never ceased to amaze me. I have had kids trust me with every ounce in their bone and neither of us spoke the same language

20662478_1718435508197312_138141678_o - Copy I have stood in front of 30 to 80 students doing an impromptu lesson because no one was there to teach. I have doubted my ability to teach anyone anything because only 3 kids understood the lesson I taught. I have taught a lesson that almost every single student understood. I have had the lights cut off several times due to the lack of money. I have gone to school and bed hungry because there wasn’t enough food in the house. I have had meet people who have become a second family to me. People who have opened their doors to their homes more times than people I’ve known for years. Through every tribulation, I faced there was an amazing attribute that made my day.20677159_1718435531530643_370071247_o

 

 

These last 3 months I have needed more things than I could count. I have wanted and cried for help more times than I have in the last year. At this point, I don’t know if Malawi needs me, but I sure do need Malawi. The sadness may never go away. The emptiness may always be there. Maybe there is a larger picture between me and Malawi. Maybe this is just chapter 1 of a bigger book.20668109_1718435504863979_2010342569_n - Copy

Now that I am back home I will be posting past blogs I did not have a chance to post.

Big news coming soon

Until next time

Stay Awesome Jill

 

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