Why Volunteering? Why Malawi? Why Now?
Why Now? The spark that set the ball rolling occurred when my entire class of second year Human Nutrition and Dietetics in the Dublin Institute of Technology was contacted. We were invited to fill in application forms for this year’s DIT Student Volunteering trip to Malawi during the Easter holidays. I filled in the form on the 24th of September 2012 and eagerly awaited a reply.
Between the day I sent in that form and a week later when I received the reply, my mind started buzzing with curiosity, worries and excitement. Volunteering in a developing country had always seemed like an opportunity beyond my reach. I hadn’t even dared to think about doing such travels whilst still in college. Yet now an adventure of incredible proportions was just an arms length away. I was almost in disbelief that it could be so easy to take the leap and go for it.
I was accepted to go on the trip. The adventure that seemed like Mount Everest from a distance was now Mount Everest from its base. It was no longer out of reach, yet looking ahead was intimidating. So much to do, so much to think through and so much to plan. And it was a lot of work to get where I am today. Multiple fundraisers, vaccinations, worries and butterflies later, I now have 5 days left before I leave for Mzuzu in Malawi.
Yet why volunteering you may ask? Well there are a few reasons for that. To start off on a practical level; I believe my skills and knowledge as a student dietitian are better applied in Malawi than they would be here in Ireland during this Easter holidays. Also, I have a desire to learn more about the world we live in and the people that live here with us. Being able to see the world through the eyes of others is a huge part of self-development that i feel i need to explore. Many other reasons have driven me to travel so far away. Some of these source from the desire to be of benefit to those who need help, while others are based on the wish for others to aid me in my development as a person and future dietitian.
Why Malawi? The answer to that one is simple and more concrete – Wells for Zoë. This amazing charity, set up in 2005 by John and Mary Coyne, has made huge changes in the area of Mzuzu, Malawi. I truly admire the ethics and hard-work put into this organisation. Their sustainable and bottom-up approach has changed many lives and will leave a lasting impact on Malawian communities. I couldn’t be more humbled by having them take me under their wing.
Through this blog I will be keeping you updated about my adventures, my worries and my smiles.
T minus 5 days. Still sounds a little surreal really.