Africa Bags 2009 Volunteer Trip to Malawi, Africa
Last year Africa Bags hosted its first annual volunteer trip to the villages of Africa Bags! Sixteen amazing individuals, including six college students, joined us for a two week adventure through out Malawi, Africa. Our volunteer work included preparing the daily meal at an Orphan Feeding Center, remodeling a local primary school, providing day care for orphans at an infant nursery crisis care center, building school desks, and living a “Day in the Life of a Malawian.”
At the Ministry of Hope Orphan Feeding Center near Liwonde, Malawi, the Africa Bags volunteers prepared a meal for the orphans of the surrounding area. Orphans travel up to 5 km to this feeding center to receive their one meal for the day. Volunteers spent the morning shucking an enormous pile of maize, and removing the kernels from the cobs. We then loaded the bucket of kernels onto our heads and carried the maize “Malawian style” to the maize mill nearby. We then prepared the Nsima (maize flour boiled in water,) and collard greens for the children to eat. We spent the rest our time there serving the children their lunch and listening to them sing songs.
Our next adventure involved “camping” within the Africa Bags Community Development Center at Kamweko Village. During our five day stay in Kamweko, we spent hours interacting with new friends, building school desks and painting Kamweko’s local school, Malivenji Primary School. Garfield Elementary School of Loveland, Colorado fund raised over $400 to pay for the supplies for this project. The students of Garfield also donated an amazing amount of school supplies for the children of Malivenji. The gratitude of the teachers and students was heart warming!
During our time spent in Kamweko Village our volunteers experienced a “Day in the Life of a Malawian.” The Africa Bags volunteers spent this day living life prior to Africa Bags within the village. We awoke with out any breakfast and proceeded to take on the daily tasks of the villagers. We walked to a nearby fresh water spring to fetch buckets of water to carry back to the village on our heads. Next on our agenda was to gather fire wood. Lunch was also skipped this day to truly experience what life was like not so long ago for our friends of Kamweko. After we had gathered all our needed supplies, we began cooking the one meal for the day. We crushed the maized, prepared the Nsima and collard greens, all while carrying the villages’ children on our backs. By the time our daily chores were completed it was evening time and we sat down to enjoy the meal. Nsima has never tasted so good!
Other highlights of our time in Malawi included an Africa Bags celebration, cliff diving in Lake Malawi, visiting local Malawian markets, and the viewing of hippos, elephants and much more during our Malawian Safari.
Plans for our 2010 Volunteer Trip to Malawi are well under way! This year’s trip will take place the end of May / beginning of June. Please send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in joining Africa Bags for another wild adventure throughout Malawi!