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Eimear Walsh – Wells for Zoë
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Mary I College Limerick, Volunteer

Eimear Walsh

Why did you come to Malawi?

I have always wanted to work with a charity abroad. I felt now was the perfect time as I have skills to offer with my teaching background. I do a lot of volunteering at home but felt those are far more people in need elsewhere.

 

First impressions (Positive, Negative)

I was surprised that Wells for Zoë are involved in so many more projects besides wells and paying girls’ school fees. There are so many extra elements to it.

 

Visit to Farm – Experience

My visit to the farm was an amazing experience. I stayed the night there. I learned so much and by the end of it, was able to do grafting and budding (not very well though). I don’t come from a farming background, but I enjoyed every minute of my time there. I felt I really connected with the people there – Laston, Adamson, Blayne, Alice & Irene.

 

Katoto Primary School Placement (Highlights, Challenges, How did you support the teachers)

I loved teaching at Katoto. It was one of the many highlights I have. It was amazing to experience what the schools are like here. I felt that the teachers did learn a lot from us. Towards the end of the week, the teacher taught a lesson and she was using so many of the methodologies we had shown her. It felt like we were really making a difference, however small it was. Three to a group was challenging at times when teaching.

 

I will never forget / I will always remember…

I will always remember the very first well we went to install. To see the community all gather around to see it being put in was amazing. I will never forget my trip to Rumphi with Adamson & John. It was lovely to see the rural area and to be invited into their home. I think I will always remember my trip to the crisis nursery. Seeing those beautiful children left abandoned by their parents at such a young age was heart-breaking. Bitumbiko was just 2 ½ months.

 

Saturday Classes, how did you contribute?

I really enjoyed the Saturday classes. I taught a few English classes with the girls in Lucy’s class. Prominence was asking me about different methodologies you could use to teach certain topics, so I was telling her about the ones we learned in college. I did an interview with one of the girls – Vitumbiko. I really connected with the girls at the classes during my time there. I also helped the girls when they were learning how to type.

 

Any other experiences – positive or negative that will remain with you from this visit?

I really enjoyed the trip to Mica. Our last semester in college was directed towards pre-school and infants, it was so amazing to see so many of Aistears principles used in the classroom. I will always remember my trip to Rumphi, my night on the farm and my trip to visit Rodgers. I found the visit to the orphanage very tough.

 

Pre Planning:
What would you do differently?
Or what would you advise students coming on placement in the future?

Students should have more contact with the college when organising this placement. The college didn’t seem to have any interest in it. I think it would be of great benefit to be given a list of everything I might need including medicines a few months before I leave.

 

Possible follow up suggestions for 4th year trainee teachers with W4Z and Mary I:

I think it would be of great benefit to future trainee teachers to have more briefings on general info about going to Malawi.

 

Final thoughts?

I would love to come back again to Malawi and work with W4Z. If there was a group coming out, I would love to work as a leader to take some of the workload off ye. I can’t thank you enough for giving me this amazing opportunity. It really has been life changing for me, I know it is only the start of many more adventures for yourself & John. Your passion, love and dedication are unbelievable for W4Z. I am so happy I was a (small) part of your team. I wish you every success in the future, and I know I will be seeing ye again soon. Malawi and all the girls, staff and of course yourself & John will always have a special place in my heart. Thinking about my next trip already.

Visited Malawi

June 2016

Student of

Mary Immaculate College, Limerick

Duration of visit

4 weeks

From

Castletownshend, Skibbereen, Co. Cork