Warm Heart of Africa
Greetings from Malawi!
It’s Amy, the new help2kids Volunteer Coordinator & Marketing Assistant from the United States. I am pleased to be living and working in the village of Lifuwu. After a busy month, I am now settled in and well acquainted with all of the volunteer projects and daily life in the community. I have already met some wonderful volunteers and am eager to welcome many more in the coming months. Takulandirani ku Malawi!
As you may have heard, Malawi is nicknamed and known as the “Warm Heart of Africa”. I, along with many of the volunteers, have certainly found this to be true. In this blog, we would like to share our warmth with you.
help2kids and its’ volunteers in Lifuwu have been blessed to be located in such a warm and welcoming village and country. There is not a day that passes when volunteers are not reminded of this. As one volunteer said, “We never walk alone,” and there are always smiling faces ready to greet us. A few current and recent volunteers Geraldine, Fiona and Valeria would like to share highlights about their experiences, relationships and activities that they cherish and will take home.
Valeria, who recently just left after 5 weeks, led daily activities at the local Nursery and afternoon Kids Corner. Some of her favorite activities were playing football in the afternoons and holding the young children at the Nursery.
Every morning when I arrive at the Nursery, the kids get so excited, drop their toys and come running to me. It is so surprising how loving the children are immediately once they meet you. It’s like they have already known you for 5 weeks (or even more).
It was really touching when the kids learned and called me by my name, rather than mzungu (foreigner) but also heart breaking because I am leaving soon.
Everyone has been so friendly and I am especially glad that I became really close to two different families in the village. One day after Kids Corner, they invited and welcomed me into their house. I met the extended family, sat and talked with them for a long time.
Geraldine is currently in the middle of her 5 weeks athelp2kids. She assists in the Preschool class at the Nursery and teaches the afternoon Intermediate English class. She really enjoys working with the young children. At first she was hesitant because it was different from her previous experiences with primary aged children.
In the classroom the students are very confident in wanting to go in front of the class and give the solution. They are all so happy and proud of their answers, even if it is not the correct one.
Break time is my favorite. It is a time where I can play with the children, and even if they don’t speak English well, we can play follow the leader, pretend to be animals, sing songs and do other activities.
Every day the children walk me home from class, even when it is out of the way. You need every finger on every hand to hold all of the children. When we are walking we sing songs and dance.
Fiona is in the final weeks of her 3 month long volunteering time. She has been a part of a variety of projects in Lifuwu. One of her favorites is teaching the afternoon Beginner English class.
I have taught Samiatu for the past two and half months. I really enjoy this class because there are a few students and I get to work with them individually. They are so motivated and willing to learn. They often work at home and prepare for the next class.
I always hear people calling my name and sometimes I don’t even know them. Generally, they really want to get to know you. And it doesn’t take long to get to know them.
Not only do volunteers develop deep friendships with Malawians, families and children in the village but they also gain life-long friendships with other volunteers and guests traveling through. It often becomes difficult in saying good-bye (or see you later) to those we come in contact with.
On the brighter side, Lifuwu and help2kids are always welcoming new volunteers to the community. It is an exciting time as we are looking forward to opening our doors to many new volunteers this summer. We also have many exciting up and coming projects in the works. Stay tuned for updates next month!
help2kids Malawi Volunteer Coordinator