My participation in the Malawi Service Learning program was a remarkable and unforgettable experience. Before embarking on this journey abroad I was an excited ball of nerves. I knew that this experience would make an impact on my life in ways I wasn’t yet aware of. During my time in Malawi I met many people that were simply put, incredible. They took the little resources they had and made the most of it. The participation in this particular program allowed me the opportunity to see the people of Malawi not through the eyes or interpretation of others, but for myself. I was able to interact, play, and share ideas with the young kids and adults involved with the Malawi ‘M’bwana’ Children’s Mission (MCM). This organization will continue to have a place in my heart and the people at MCM who are some of the driving force behind such a phenomenal mission will change lives forever. The children of the three villages who are involved with MCM are lucky, in my opinion, to have such a strong community raising them. My time in Malawi portrayed the physical depiction of the well known saying, “It takes a village to raise a child
My most valued time was split between sitting and talking and learning their language, Chichewa, in the yard with the young children, and teaching members of the Young Women’s initiative how to make reusable sanitary napkins. Our hours of classroom preparation before landing in Malawi tried to prepare us for what we were about to be exposed to, but like they say “seeing is believing”. No picture or description of the Malawian people or atmosphere would’ve prepared me to assign an immediate feeling of being at home. I felt extremely at ease and comfortable in Malawi. It reminded me so much of my family home in St. Croix, United States Virgin Islands, I felt like I belonged. No one could’ve prepared me for how much I would fall in love with the children, adults, and country of Malawi.
This experience has added to my drive to help people excel in life. As a future social worker this undoubtedly aligns with goals and experience. The Malawian people are extremely hard working people, everyone that I met during my time there was inquisitive and ready to learn. This experience has pushed me to take advantage of everything that I am afforded. I am fortunate to be in a position where my parents still have to work countless hours to afford necessities, but can acquire them. I met and conversed with people who have little material things, but a lot of heart and drive. If the opportunity to further themselves or their community presented itself I am positive that they will take advantage of it.
I would encourage everyone i know and do not know to take advantage of the opportunity to go abroad. I personally find it very important to go see the world and see how similar and different people from other cultures are from yourself. The experience will leave a different affect on everyone, but it will be nothing short of impactful. A special thank you to the Myers family for helping me to achieve my goal in studying abroad and opening my eyes to opportunities for me to make an impact and change in this world.
March 28: Eboniqua Smith, a Social Work graduate student, studied on the Malawi: Service Learning and Community Development program during summer 2017.