Teaching volunteers Lizzie and Flora have written a story about their time at Mwaya. Before coming to Malawi, their school fundraised for Ripple Africa during a school year so this was a great opportunity for them to see how their fundraising has made a difference.
After a 29-hour journey, we finally made it to the idyllic Ripple Africa base at Mwaya beach and were eager to find our cabins and head to bed. Our first day involved exploring the area and visiting the local library followed by painting murals in some of the newly decorated pre-schools.
Over the weekend, we experienced ‘life as a Malawian woman’. We worked hard to harvest, prepare and cook a traditional meal which tasted delicious. We also took part in a joyful local church service which included some wonderful singing from the local choir (and ourselves!).
Most of our time was spent teaching at Matete 1, the pre-school Francis Holland Junior School fundraised for last year. We were delivered lessons, played with the children and taught lots of songs and games. The afternoons were spent leading training sessions for the teachers in the area. We helped them to create new resources out of recycled and natural materials and shared some more English games and songs for them to take back to their schools.
The rest of our time was spent engaging with the many projects that Ripple Africa have created. We particularly enjoyed learning about their fruit tree planting project which have been developed to help households generate a sustainable income. Aayla, a student from our school who was visiting Ripple Africa with her family, impressed us with their enthusiasm during our visit to the cookstove building project. They made mud bricks by hand and then constructed a stove for a local Malawian family all by themselves! A highlight of the trip for us, was visiting the fishing project, where we learnt about the challenges of overfishing in Malawi and saw the incredible impact the project has had on the environment.
We met some amazing people during our stay, including a lady called Matilda who single handedly runs the disability project. Not only does she assess and treat the children for free, but her groups provide essential emotional support for the local families. It was inspiring to hear the stories of the children, who through this project have been able to gain more independence with some even attending mainstream schools.
The trip has left a profound impact on us, and it was wonderful to see first-hand how our generous donations are being used.