Why did you come to Malawi?
I always wanted to travel to a developing country, to experience their culture and way of life. Why Malawi? – I felt that Wells for Zoë were the only charity that used all the money donated to them to support Malawians rather than on flyers and salaries for people back home.
First impressions (Positive, Negative)
On travelling to Mzuzu, I couldn’t get over the amount of people in all the villages. As we were getting closer to Mzuzu, I was scared as it was extremely dark and everything looks worse in the dark. I remembered seeing rats on sticks and asking myself – what have I got myself into.
Visit to Farm – Experience
I visited the farm once. All the staff were extremely friendly and welcoming. Our tour guides provided us with all the info on how the farm is run and even allowed us to taste the yummy passion fruit. It was a really enjoyable evening.
Katoto Primary School Placement (Highlights, Challenges, How did you support the teachers)
The headmaster, teachers and children were all really welcoming. The children in standard 7 were all so enthusiastic and so eager to learn, which is great to see. The challenge I felt was that the teachers we had during the week of teaching were constantly leaving the room, which meant they weren’t experiencing new methodologies, whereas the teacher we had during observation was very interested and took notes.
I will never forget / I will always remember…
I will never forget the first time we went to see a pump being put in a village. Seeing the children with sad eyes and pot bellies broke my heart. It was the first time I had seen people so sad, as everyone in Mzuzu seemed so happy and extremely friendly. I will also never forget the day spent with the people who were HIV positive – it was such an incredible experience.
Saturday Classes, how did you contribute?
I watch the teachers teach for a while and then I went and helped Phil prepare the food for all the girls. Having finished that I spoke to many girls and one girl even braided my hair which was great and a brilliant opportunity to get to know her.
Any other experiences – positive or negative that will remain with you from this visit?
The music inservice was a fantastic experience. It felt extremely beneficial. The teachers were all interested in learning and we worked well as a team. Hopefully those teachers will put into practice what they learnt and allow the children to enjoy music.
What would you do differently?
Or what would you advise students coming on placement in the future?
Make sure you come for the right reasons. Also it is extremely important to put everything into all the things you do while in Malawi. I would recommend fellow students to stay for 4 weeks or more as 3 weeks flew.
Possible follow up suggestions for 4th year trainee teachers with W4Z and Mary I:
We could work together to encourage next year’s students to partake in this wonderful opportunity. It would also be nice if we would get a newsletter every so often to let us know what Wells for Zoë are up to.
Thanks for allowing us to come with this incredible charity. It was a wonderful experience which I will forget.