Friday, 30 September 2011

Teaching under the tree!

Have few minutes to update you meanwhile someone pick me up for the weekend from Zomba to go to the lake.

First of all want to correct my Chichewa (Malawian language) , is not uzulu but Azungu (white people).

Second and crutial: my passport is amended already! The Consul told me I would need to go to Zimbabwe (a different country) to order a new temporally passport, since Spain doesn't have and embassy in Malawi. I was not looking forward to that, as you can imagine! Well, I went  to the immigration office in Zomba and  as one more example of their kindness and generosity the fix my passport and even made a case for it to keep it safe! They didn't ask for any money, but of course I gave some to the person who fixed it. So grateful to them!!!! That wouldn't happen in UK or Spain, would it?

When I wrote the title: Teaching under the tree I actually meant it!. They have a half built school, just haft wall and no roof so we are teaching under a tree next to the future school. They put a plastic on the ground and sit down, we take the blackboard out from the church near there. The teacher carry a bag with all the stationary to the school and back. I have taught for two days this week. In the morning they are small children and prefer singing and playing. In the afternoon they are around 10-12 and they are really looking forward to learn. They, understand quite well English and are very smart. The shame is they don't have the stationary needed . Only half of them have a notebook, the other half write in a sheet and use a piece of cupboard as a support to write or even their lap. 

I am staying with a family and they are lovely. The second day they fixed the window for me. The removed the cupboard and put a glass and even a curtain :) Yesterday they brought a table and a chair into my bedroom and they don't have any for them in the house.They have two lovely children Matrilda (she is 3) and Effort (he is 9). The girl love singing and dancing and she is really good! you have to see her moving her hips! and she is a really clever girl! Effort is so nice too and stay always next to me. 

Today, I am going for the weekend to the Lake Stars Music Festival in lake Malawi with some volunteers and the coordinator of the project. I am looking forward to it!!! And they are going to be two Spanish bands as far as I know.

One thing I still need to sort out is about the food. I am not eating the local food yet, what means my diet is basically bread, peanut butter and macadamia honey, and biscuits...hopefully this weekend can have some nice meals.

Oh did I mention that these people drive on the wrong side of the road as well? 

So much to tell...

Will try to come to the internet next weekend and probably update some pictures.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Hello from Malawi!!

After 9000 kms and 24h later I arrived successfully at Malawi and came back in time 100 years...or even more.
I have almost been sent back to the UK because my passport just broke in my stop in Johannesburg, but luckily the allowed me to get in Malawi because I am volunteering. I need to fix it to get out though...and can't do it myself, so waiting for the  Consul advice about what to do.

Malawian people is lovely. They are very happy and kind and share everything they have with you, although they don't have anything to eat,  no even a ball to play and not shoes to wear. Kids love "uzulu" (white people).They shout "uzulu uzulu" when you arrive to the village , they love just holding your hand and touching your white skin.

Being here is harder than I imagined, the conditions they (me now) are living are so extreme without electricity at home, cooking on the fire, without no kitchen at all, having the tap water(that can't drink) 50 mts away and the toilet is a hole in the ground surrounded by a lot of flies.

Being here for less than 48 h and have so many things to tell... This morning we visit one of the "schools": One room over 15 m2, with dusty floor and just a blackboard that can have more than 100 children of different ages.

There is no way I can express what being here looks like and will try to upload some pics but the computer I am in town no, doesn't even have the USB or SIM card connection.

Hope can update you soon

Friday, 23 September 2011

Last night on this side of the world :)


Heal the World:

 Less that 24 hours left to live the time of my life!

I will be leaving  for Malawi tomorrow. I will arrive on Saturday afternoon at Blantyre airport, after one stop in Johannesburg. 3 hours driving and will be at Domasi ready to start officially my African experience.

Since I am not having electricity at all, can't say when is going to be my next post. I guess I can have internet access if go into town at the weekend. I will put some pictures and share my impressions of the Warm Heart of Africa. On the other hand, I feel tremendously good thinking I am going away from here (internet), technology and all the materials things which "are" essential in our everyday life. I have so much to learn there and I will like to share it with you all. This way you can also enjoy it somehow, learn something and perphaps be the next one going there, who knows?. All feedback or any question are very welcome.

Hopefully, I can feel I am making my little contribution to those less fortunate people, althought I know what they are going to teach me is much more than I can teach them.

I feel really lucky of having this opportunity. I want to thank you to all my people who supported me from the very beginning and especially to those who make this experience possible.

Thank you for reading me and I hope you can find this blog useful.

(I am going to try to fit everyting in my suitcase now)

See you soon...

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Want to volunteer? Here you have all the info!

Volunteering in Malawi

Watch the video:

At this rural youth project you can be one of few volunteers to get a real glimpse of life in this developing country helping at this rural youth and community project. After securing your place with £95, help at this project and in return receive free volunteer accommodation during the first weeks.

Based near Zomba and only approximately 3 hours from the airport, at Blantyre (transfers from Lilongwe also available but transfer times longer). English is spoken by most of the staff.

Specific duties are allocated after arrival to each volunteer based on the volunteers interests and local need. An open mind and the willingness to get stuck in is essential for sucess for this project as living conditions can be quite 'rustic' living alongside poorer families and organisation minimal as the volunteer programme develops.

Placement at a Glance

Volunteer options
Assisting in all areas and activities with a youth group.
Project location
Shared self-catering volunteer accommodation.
Working hours
Usually full-time 5 days a week. Occasional weekends
Project operates
All year. No start dates.
When to apply
Spaces limited - only 10 spaces ! Early booking recommended.
£70 per week (weeks 1 - 2) Extra weeks £35
Airport Pick-up Service
Available for all volunteers. Approx. £50.

Your Experience

Here you will have the opportunity to get involved with this friendly youth and community group with a variety of very different tasks which may include one or more of the following: organising activities, assisting with a feeding programme for local orphanages, providing one to one mentoring, support with training, assisting teachers and mentors with group sessions, perhaps teaching your own classes, visiting village orphanages, teaching English, basic writing and maths, arts and craft, sport, health education and general maintenance.

Interested but not sure? For the less confident or less travelled try a volunteer placement at an established African project first ideal for first timers such as Morocco, Ghana or the live-on-site Uganda school project where volunteers, children and support staff are all in one place!


This placement is a typical African project ideal for people who can approach their volunteering role independently and confidently with a ‘can do' attitude and want to get stuck in with a project where everyday is different and life with the challenge of poverty is an everyday part of life. As structure is still limited as the project seeks out the best use of volunteer support, energy and ideas, volunteers will be required to provide input, ideas and put themselves forward on a daily basis, working collaboratively with the project staff available and fellow volunteers.

Camping or music festival experiences may also assist with the transition to basic living standards which are rudimentary at best!

There are no organised free-time activities for volunteers at this placement although weekends,  providing no activities have already been arranged, can usually be taken to visit the national parks and explore the local villages independently or with other volunteers.

What's included in this programme

Accommodation in shared volunteer house or with local families. Friends are placed together.
An English speaking coordinator is provided and is available for all queries and extra support you may need during your visit.
An airport pick-up and transfer service is available from Blantyre or Lilongwe airports for approx. £55 payable on arrival.

This programme is ideal if...

I would like a placement where I can really make a difference off the tourist trail.

I would like a project where I can use initiative, make my own ideas happen and leave a lasting positive imprint on the local children and community.

I am volunteering in the summer and would to escape the volunteer crowds. I have experience in youth work and education and would like to offer my skills and expertise.

I do not have any experience but would like to help in any way which can make a difference to this new underfunded project.

Check out all the destinations:

  • Argentina

  • Bolivia

  • Costa Rica

  • Ecuador

  • Ghana

  • India

  • Kenya

  • Malawi

  • Mexico Merida

  • Mexico Puerto Vallarta

  • Morocco

  • Nepal

  • Paraguay

  • Peru

  • South Africa

  • Tanzania

  • Thailand

  • Uganda

  • Tuesday, 20 September 2011

    A little bit of it and its lovely people!

    Click the link below:

    80% of the population live with less than 1 U.S. dollar a day.

    Malawi, ranked as one of the poorest and happiest countries in the world.

    Despite being one the poorest countries in the world, Malawi is commonly known as the ‘warm heart of Africa’ thanks to the friendly and warm welcome visitors always experience.

    Facts about Malawi

    Malawi is a small country located between Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique. The country is about 900 km long and 150 km wide at its widest part.
    Malawi has no ocean coastline, but the third largest lake in Africa covers almost 1/5 of Malawi. It is Lake Malawi, also called Lake Nyasa. Lake Malawi has more species of fish than any other inland body of water in the world, with a total over 500.
    Highest Point:Sapitwa (3000m) at the centre of Mt Mulanje.
    • Malawi is the 7th poorest country in the world.
    • It has a population of approximately 12,5 million; of those 750,000 are orphans, a figure increasing by 65,000 a year.
    • Over 200 people die of AIDS each day.
    • Life expectancy in 1997 was 41; now it is 36.
    • 48% of children in Malawi are chronically malnourished.
    • In the last decade maternal deaths in childbirth have increased by 100%. This figure is the third highest in the world, behind Sierra Leone and Afghanistan.
    • One in four children die before the age of five.
    • 7% of the population have electricity.
    • 42% of the population are illiterate.
    • 3.4% of the population complete secondary education.
    • 1% of the population go to University.
    • Every 30 seconds a child dies of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa.