Transparency part 2

 

I have been going back and forth on how to write this blog post. I have rewritten it 4 or 5 different ways to approach part two of transparency.

So here is my best shot at it:

For part two of transparency I am just going to talk about how long distance relationships _________. Well, I don’t really have a title.29694679_10209770332168832_2263564410707027597_n.jpg

I know what your thinking. “Jill,  there are a million blogs that talk about long distance relationships. They all say it is  difficult, but easy. You just have make time for each other and blah blah blah.” All of these blogs, pretty much have a “by the book” long distance relationship. One person is “home/ where they met,” while the other person is in the military, or has a new job. Most times the female is the one who is home figuring out ways to make life normal again. If you haven’t noticed my relationship doesn’t fit into that picture at all. We both are out trying to make the best future for our lives. Some of these rules mentioned in the blogs are: Have regular phone calls, “date” each other with date nights. Most importantly, choose times you will be able to see each other.

Well surprise, surprise, Gabe and I don’t get any of those luxuries (at least for the next 7/8 weeks). Gabe has 42 weeks of training after his 10 weeks of basic training. That’s a whole year give or take. That’s a long time regardless of who you are. We don’t get to say, “On this date we will meet here and on this date I will come to you.”  Now, I am in China, and I do have more freedom than someone in the military. But a terrible PLOT TWIST, I have a full-time teaching job and I cannot at any moment just pick up and leave. One thing that has been weighing heavy on my heart is I can not make his Graduation from Basic training or when he has leave for Christmas. But these are realities we knew were a possibility before I left. mmexport1535083630756

A week after Gabe left for basic training I got a nice surprise. As I was rushing out the house, I got a notification from Gabe. I thought it would be at least 9 weeks, until I heard his voice again. I really thought, it had been a mistake or a false notification. As I walked onto the elevator for 19 seconds, time froze. He quickly said everything he could say before he had to leave. I’m not sure how he did it, but for 19 seconds everything stood still. For 19 seconds it didn’t matter that I couldn’t sleep for the first week we couldn’t talk. It didn’t matter that I was running late for work, it didn’t matter that all I had been wanting for a week was a good morning message from him. That message was a small amount of relief that made a world of a difference. Of course, 5 seconds later my motorbike started making a streaking high alarm sound and refused to turn off. China has a way of ruining happy moments.

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Its always raining in China Gotta wear a rain poncho.

As I’ve said before, long distance relationships are terrible, probably the hardest thing to ask two people to do. Adding the influence of the military and someone who is trying to explore the world it is absolute madness. But in those short moments, things seem to be okay. The first two weeks were extremely tough. I couldn’t quite get any motivation to do anything. Although we have been apart for roughly 2 and ½ months our new normal was difficult. The person who has become one of my main support systems is being challenged in ways I couldn’t imagine. I knew I had to figure out my own ways of cooping, that would make this extreme long distance, not as difficult. Several ways I’ve been cooping is keeping my self busy by going to the gym everyday, cooking new recipes, and drinking tea. I am now a sophisticate girlfriend because I drink tea. 20180831_094624.jpg

Some days  I wonder will our lives ever line up. I’ve questioned my move to China on more than one occasion. I’ve questioned, do I really need to feed my desires to live abroad, or could I have made it work back in the States. The reality is even if I was back in the states, maybe I would have been able to see him graduate, and maybe I would see him at Christmas. Although that in its own is rewarding the other half of my heart would feel empty. Having a long-distance relationship isn’t all bad we are able to figure out our individual selves to become better people. If I am being 100% transparent, some days I enjoy being away. But other days its the worse thing in the world.

 

I will postpone Part 3 of being transparent. I am going to post about China in my next blog.

Until next time

Stay Awesome

Jill

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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

The People of Malawi

If you remember a few months ago I told you I wanted to know the people in the village by name. Each person has a story, each person has value. Therefore here are some of the people of Malawi. These are the people I learned to love in the village, here are a few of my favorites. Something Amazing had the opportunity to help some of these people out.IMG-20170714-WA0060

1. Chino

Chino is a man of many trades, he owns a bicycle repair shop, a few bicycle taxis, is a priest, and he always has a few bee hives in which he keeps. I met Chino on the first few days I was here in Malawi. IMG-20170714-WA0053The first few days I needed a bicycle fixed, at first, he tried to over charge us, but we promised if he gave us a good price we would only come back to him. This friendship formed and we now stop by his bike shop every day. One day Chino invited me and Tarik (the German I lived with) to go see his bee hives. Not realizing we were going to collect honey, it was probably one of the single handed dangerous things I’ve watched here. Chino and his brother, with no protective gear other than long sleeves, started making a fire under the bees nest to make them sleepy. As the flames got higher and the bees got lower, all I could hear is Chino saying. “Don’t be afraid, but be careful.” After about 30 minutes of battling bees, we got the sweetest honey I have ever tasted. Chino recently got he be stolen, which greatly affects his business. Sometimes in life, you have to reward amazing people when life tries to get them down in life.

2. Vincent Msiska.

Vincent is the Manager of the local organization I partnered up with, Kingfisher. He is dependable, hard working, and wonderful family man. IMG-20170713-WA0014Vincent is my number one person here in Malawi. He makes sure we are safe, that we have a translation when needed and that no one tries to take advantage of us. He makes sure everything is in place when we are going to help local people in the village. Vincent has 2 young daughters, Patience age 6 and Theleza age 3. An example of the type of father Vincent is, one day I gave Vincent 6 Oreos from my care package I got. For my knowledge, he ate all the cookies and we went on about our day. Later in the day, we stopped by each of his daughter schools to pay school fees and he proceeded to give 3 cookies to each daughter. I thought this was extremely sweet due to not always having the ability to buy sweets for his daughters. Sometimes it is the small things in life that can make a child’s day better. Something Amazing has sponsored his daughters in order to go to school. Vincent is also our proud manager back in Malawi over one of our new employees.

3. Mr. Konchera.

Mr. Konchera is the standard 6 teacher at the primary school I teach at. He is one of my favorite teachers at the school. In the beginning of my time here he seemed to never show up, but the last month he has been wonderful. Mr. Konchera said once about the strike, “I will teach my students. It doesn’t matter about the money at this point. The government doesn’t know this child, but I do. My kids will not do good on the end of the year test if things

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continue this way.” He was the first teacher to acknowledge that the teachers are directly related to how the students can progress in society. Not many teachers were able to figure that out. I will forever have respect for the man. We also made a deal that if he came on time and to school every day for two weeks we would take him to the lake with us, for a mini vacation. He is in his later years in life and has never seen Lake Malawi which is only an hour from him.

4. Patience

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Patience is a young girl, Vincent met a few months ago. Her mom has had leg cancer for the last 12 years. This makes it impossible for her to work or make any type of living. Patience mom was confined to crawling on the floor due to a lack of a wheelchair, we took her to the hospital and became aware of a program that provides wheelchairs for free. Patience struggles in school but really wants to learn and become better. I tutored her twice a week in English and math. IMG-20170813-WA0018She seemed to improve with the extra help that she got.  Patience lived in subpar living conditions with the lack of food, a proper house and fully taking care of her mom. Patience and her mom slept on the floor of her brother’s house, not receiving a lot of food and unsure how long they could stay in the house. One of Something Amazing’s volunteers decided to help build Patience and her mom a house. Through trials and tribulations, she finally got a house. (I’ll post a blog about the house later.) One of my favorite memories of Patience was when I took Patience to get her new uniforms and asked if she wanted to pick up a little snack since we were hungry. Many children in Malawi do not get a chance to a be a kid since they are constantly taking care of their parents o the family. Patience is one of those kids, so when I asked her if she wanted a snack her eyes lit up as she grabs bags of chips to take to school. Patience and her mom are part of Something Amazing’s empowering the community program, we have and will continue to help with school supplies, school uniforms, and food.

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You can help by clicking the link to the right.

Every day I miss the people of Malawi. Every day I feel as though  I should be back over there. Many people did get on my nerves during my time in Malawi. Just like how a child gets on a parents nerves, that parent doesn’t stop loving that child. I will always love the community in Malawi, and maybe there is more to this story.

Enjoy this video of us at a birthday party. The little kids can dance!

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

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

4 Sticks and a Mud House

In the last 48 hours, I have seen living conditions that wouldn’t even be fit for a dog. A house that was essentially just sticks held together by mud with a straw roof. One bedroom made for 8 people to live in, with no running water or electricity. I saw 6 kids running around who probably hasn’t eaten in a day or two. I’ve seen parents huddled around a circle trying to use the scraps of corn in order to make corn flower to have something to eat. Kids having huge holes in their clothes because that’s all they have. Looking at these things hurt my heart so much. It is the first time I wanted to cry immediately when seeing something.19126281_1648193165221547_1214204332_o.jpg

Now the reason I was at this house held together by sticks and mud was that a few days ago I lost my phone. My phone fell out of my bike basket and I didn’t notice until 20 minutes later after riding into town. At first, one of the men who found my phone demanded money in order to get the phone back. I was taken back because although I lost my phone, I’ve never been held at ransom for anything. We (my host brother, several collages and local friends) eventually talked the man down off of a high amount of money for Malawians, 5,000 kwacha (Roughly 6 dollars) and convinced him to give my phone back. We agreed the money will be paid at a later time.19126022_1648193178554879_1680735869_o

Now let’s fast forward back to today. I wanted to thank the man who found it in his heart to give my phone back because he could have sold it and brought a new house. (Androids/smartphones are hard to find here and very expensive). After talking with the school board members and one of the men who found the phone it was explained that asking for a ransom is not how the Malawian culture does things. They explained that I am volunteering in his community and that he should be happy that I am here. It is the Malawian culture return something that does not belong to them without demanding money. In the meeting, I wasn’t able to say anything due to the culture. I left the meeting not feeling right inside my heart. Therefore, I and a fellow local friend went and found the man at his house. We explained that I just wanted to thank him for returning my phone because he truly did the right thing.19179614_1648193078554889_1690278931_o

After seeing the rough living conditions (mentioned above) we asked did they have any food, and the answer was no. My heart sank deep into my chest knowing that one of the kids I teach every day lived in this house. He is a quiet student and his home life is less than desirable. Therefore I did what I felt was right.  I went into town and bought enough food for 2 weeks. It’s not much, it does not solve all of the problems these people face, but hopefully, it just makes it easier for a little while. Before sending the wife back up the hill with the groceries, I explained (with the help of my friend) that when you do good things, you can be rewarded.19181820_1648193185221545_1056498098_o

In Malawi, the average person lives in less than a $1 a day. So the next time you pull into the Chik fila drive thru and order a $8 meal but are upset that the fries aren’t warm enough. I want you to realize that some people haven’t eaten in a few days. These are the people I am encountering  every day, these are my students from my class, or my neighbor next door. This is not to shame any one, but with $8 and your help, you can assist in more ways than can be imagined. I cannot fix everything or anything at all, but what I can do is make small impacts in ways people would never expect.

If you can please donate using any link found on my blog.

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

Welcome to the Warm Heart of Africa

First I want to remind my readers that the stories I tell are the experiences I personally will have here in Malawi. This does not mean that all of Africa is this way, nor does it mean that all of Malawi is this way. Take my experiences as the ones that I am having and a way to look into the cultural that I am experiencing. I cannot control how anyone else experiences this culture.

Now that we cleared that up Welcome to the warm heart of Africa. Warning this is a slightly longer blog, I have to set up a picture for where I now live.18425441_1609916895715841_6276927885018141116_n

Malawi is not similar to any other place that I have been to. It is very difficult for me to explain, but the best way to describe it is from my German friend, Tarik, “It is like you are watching a documentary on Africa and you are sucked into the television.” Everyone is walking on the roads. Many people are selling fruit and vegetables on the side of the road. There are many women walking with large baskets and water on their heads back to their homes. These are just a few sites that are very normal to see here in Malawi. While driving from the airport it was a five and a half hour drive on bumpy, uneven pathed roads, with no street lights once it got dark. Many of the villages that we passed had straw roofs, tin roofs with bricks holding the tin in place, dirt floors, and no windows. This is a very big culture shock to me.18493844_1610866588954205_1983722869_o

During the car ride, I was mentally preparing to endure whatever house we pulled up to for the next few months. Before arriving I was so scared to get on the plane to come to Malawi. As I explained last year I do not like operating in fear.18516478_1610866658954198_508866459_o Thankfully my house has running water, electricity, cold clean drinking water, regular showers (only cold water, unless you want to heat up water then using it like a bucket shower), a normal toilet and lots of food. The unknown before coming put a lot of fear into my mind and heart. “God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7. Now that I am here and settled there was no reason to even be fearful. One thing I am trying to conquer is the spirit of fear, over the next few months that will be my personal project. Even If I was in a less than desirable situation, I can always adapt and make the best out of any situation.

Everyone is extremely friendly and want to talk to me because I am a foreigner. Many people call me a “Mzungu” which means “white person.” I usually reply, “Nakhana, Mzungu” which means “I am not white” and everyone than smiles and laughs. Simple tasks tend to become a long process due to the lack of conveniences. Today, we washed the dishes from last night and this morning. First, we took all the dishes outside and used the water spicket that was alongside the house. We then took one large tub and filled it with water and the dirty dishes, and then had a smaller tub filled with water. Since we could not find the rag we cut some net and used it to scrub the dishes.  Although the process from here was similar to washing dishes in the states; the convince level of having water in the sink was taken away. Another example is cooking, my beautiful house mom must cook everything outside on two heated coals. (shown in the picture below).18519050_1610866448954219_706205587_o

I have only been in Malawi for a few days now, and I am enjoying every bit of it. Tomorrow I will start teaching in the school. I spoke to the headmaster, Mr. Kwakwa and explained I am studying at a University to become a special education teacher. He was so happy because none of the teachers at the school is qualified to teach students with special needs. Mr. Kwakwa told me he will give me all the students that are special and have me teach them. This includes the blind, none of my classes has prepared me to teach brail, but we shall see how school goes tomorrow.

Until next time,

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

Dani Conquers the World

For those who are unaware, Something Amazing is featuring people who are volunteering in many different places around the world and their experiences and feelings. Here is post #2 from Dani on her recent volunteering/mission trip in Ghana. She explains exactly how many feels after coming home from a volunteer trip. She is a 21 year old Medical Student at Valdosta State:

  1. Volunteering is something that I have been doing for a hot minute now, and there are so many emotions that I go through every time. If that’s a trip abroad or a trip within the States… it still the same. Just this summer, I went to Ghana with a company called Cross-Cultural Solutions for two weeks. And yet again — same feeling.13466002_10209485850048824_1022366100914028091_ndani 4

1) The feeling of it being just a long dream.

Coming back home is as much of a culture shock then getting there. To be honest I feel more of a culture shock coming home then when going over there. It’s a strange feeling because it makes you realize how much we have. The amount that we take for granted is insane, and the luxurious that we have are incomparable.
It seems like another world, when it’s just in fact — ours. It’s not another world, it’s our world as a whole.
Everything is so different and it’s insane to say the absolute least. You can picture your memories in your head, you have photo evidence, and it really happened.

Coming back seems like you just woke up from a really long dream — It’s back to reality.

Which doesn’t make sense right?  — This is reality as much as that was reality. It wasn’t a dream…. but it damn sure feels like one though.dani 3

2) The feeling of disappointment

It will always change your life in a “positive” way — they say
I have done many volunteer works in many places, abroad and around the country. The feeling of awestruck and wanderlust kinda just stick with you. You keep these memories close to your heart. These are the ones that you tell the rest of the world about.
For the most part, volunteer trips make a positive impact in your life regardless if that’s due to the cultural immersion, the projects you work on, or the people you interact with.
But this time, it was a little different.

I feel disappointed.
No, not cause of the trip, or my time abroad. It’s cause it opened up my eyes to how much we suck.
I’m disappointed in us.
Us — as in “Americans” — and I put quotes around it because I don’t just mean the people in this area. I’m talking about people in general, no matter what country they are from…
The one’s who decide to turn their head when they see poverty. The one’s that choose to be in their own little world, and refuse to open up to the rest of this amazing place we call Earth. The one’s that are so consumed with their life, that they can’t open it to others. The one’s that close their mind, and don’t see what’s really out there.

The sad reality is, coming back home made me realize HOW MANY people are like that.

and it’s disappointing.dani 2

3) The feeling of confusion

The fact is, we are better off in one area of the world and we have so many resources and means to things. I was one of 16 others out of this side of the world to go to Ghana through this company. Compared to the pure population in the United States alone, the amount that volunteer in a place abroad is so minuscule it genuinely breaks my heart.

Why does it have to be like that? — I’m just so confused.

Our land is as much theirs, as theirs is ours. Well, in the grand scheme of things. We’re all human. Human. 
It’s the need. The need just to get everyone on the same page.
No — not on and socialistic standard, or any politically affiliated idealism. I’m talking about the human standard… The achievement of happiness, of unity, and the respect of all life no matter where or who you come from.
It really opened up my eyes to how much we need to change, how much we need to grow, and how much we need to learn.
We’re all the same species you know? — we have the same biological systems, the same make up, the same basic human needs and wants.

So why doesn’t everyone just help out their fellow human? — I’m just so confused.dani 8

4) The feeling of being useless

It felt as if you didn’t even change anything.  Yeah, I might have dug some trenches in my day, I might have helped a student read, I might have helped someone walk again, but it feels like I haven’t done anything. The needs are so great, and I can only do so much. One person can only do so many things.

I feel so useless. — like what I’m doing isn’t changing anything, and there is too much suffering and pain in this world for us to overcome. There is so much to do and I feel so overwhelmed with emotions. I feel so small and I feel so…useless.

But the thing is… those relationships that you build with people, the laughs that you share, the stories that you tell, the tears you shed and the comfort you find in others… that’s what matters. That’s what is useful. We might not be able to end world hunger in a snap of our finger. But we can feed those around us. It doesn’t have to be with food either, we can enrich those around us spiritually, emotionally, and much more. We have to be there for each other and we have to make the ones around us the best that they can be, so that they can in turn do the same to those around them. So really in fact, we are all useful.dani 7

5) The feeling of not having a home

The home is where the heart is.

My heart reaches out to the Nicaraguans in La Chuscada getting their school built. My heart reaches out the the Afghan students learning how to read and write. My heart reaches out to the Ghanan physiotherapy patients learning how to walk again. My heart reaches out to every American that is on the street begging for their only dollar. My heart reaches out to the kids at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta battling whatever they got as hard as they can. My heart reaches out to all the other hearts that feel pain, and feel empty.
So if the home is where the heart is….

I don’t have a specific home. — None of us should have a home, and by that I don’t mean a place to lay your head down. Everyone needs that, but not all actually have it. None of us should have a set place for our heart, our hearts should flow into others and show that only love can save this world. The world that we can all call home.

Jill here again: share, comment, and like Dani’s love and passion as she travels. Make sure you are following our

Facebook page  Something Amazing and my personal Instagram: Maybeits_Jill

Stay Awesome!

Jill