18 candid (and conflicting) Malawian responses to "What's America like?"

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New arrivals in Malawi are not so different from me

New arrivals in Malawi are not so different from me

This piece originally appeared in full at “The Enterprise.”

The first few days and weeks in Malawi can be overwhelming. The 20-hour flight seems endless, and with hardly any sleep it’s easy to get flustered. Reading any of the hundreds of books about this continent can never be a match for learning about Africa when living here. Years ago in grade school we were taught about Africa as a continent…

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50+ Africa Malawi

africaam33:

Camp Sky!

So Camp Sky finished a couple weeks ago, but I’m still excited about it. It was mos def the best week of my Peace Corps service, and the most rewarding. Personally, I was taking pictures and videos for our blog to share with the world (campskymw.tumblr.com if you haven’t checked it out yet!) and I taught a lesson about poetry vs. prose using my ukulele and songs by Simon & Garfunkel, Bon Iver, and T. Swift. Oh also, I cleaned a lot. If you want to know more about the week, look at the blog or feel free to ask me anything about it. Camp Sky was real amazing and inspiring and made my whole service! From cleaning up in the beginning, to watching kids shine creatively, to watching them get super into activities like flip cup (with water!), scavenger hunts, the Macarena, asking questions to guest Malawian professionals, singing songs, creating songs in 30 minutes, and engaging in lessons, to seeing some use a computer for the first time, to watching them also try spaghetti for the first time (some enjoyed more than others), to hearing some students recite lines while watching the Romeo and Juliet, to saying goodbye…for now. Thanks to everybody involved…no matter how. That week was tremendous, and while our goal was to do it for the students it also did a lot for us PCV’s involved. YEWO CHOMENE

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malawhee:

Today my ANAMED Club (Action for Natural Medicine) was interviewed by a radio journalist!

The organization NASFAM (which is something about helping Small Farmers of Malawi) has a branch in our village that has been supporting our club. With their donation of seeds and tubes we’ve planted about 4,000(!) tree seedlings for our school and community. The seedlings pictured are moringa which is an amazingly nutritional plant. So the reporter came and spoke to all the students about what we’re doing and why, and next Saturday we have a 30 min program on radio 1! It was all in Chichewa (hence my strained face trying to scramble up some words) but I could tell my students did an amazing job and I’m so proud of the work this club has done.

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These girls take turns sewing during Village Apprentice Day at a secondary school in Malawi. As a first-year health Volunteer Briana Scroggins arranged for her life skills class to pair with a local trade smith to teach students about basket making, sewing, knitting, carpentry, tinsmith, art, moringa tree care, baking, and jewelry making. #africa #malawi #peacecorps #latergram #sewing #knitting #crafts #art #education #health

These girls take turns sewing during Village Apprentice Day at a secondary school in Malawi. As a first-year health Volunteer Briana Scroggins arranged for her life skills class to pair with a local trade smith to teach students about basket making, sewing, knitting, carpentry, tinsmith, art, moringa tree care, baking, and jewelry making. #africa #malawi #peacecorps #latergram #sewing #knitting #crafts #art #education #health

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malawhee:

It’s my One Year anniversary in Malawi!
I’m studying this photo of my group that was taken right when we got off the plane. These fresh young faces you see here have really transformed over the past year. And it’s not just that we’ve lost weight, gained a tan, and grown our hair out… the experience itself has aged us. We’ve grown stronger, wiser, more patient… and there’s a visible difference. These people who were strangers to me at the time this photo was taken have become my family, and there’s no way I could have made it this far without them.
It’s amazing how much has happened in a year, how much I’ve learned. I’m eager and optimistic for what the next year of service will bring.

malawhee:

It’s my One Year anniversary in Malawi!

I’m studying this photo of my group that was taken right when we got off the plane. These fresh young faces you see here have really transformed over the past year. And it’s not just that we’ve lost weight, gained a tan, and grown our hair out… the experience itself has aged us. We’ve grown stronger, wiser, more patient… and there’s a visible difference. These people who were strangers to me at the time this photo was taken have become my family, and there’s no way I could have made it this far without them.

It’s amazing how much has happened in a year, how much I’ve learned. I’m eager and optimistic for what the next year of service will bring.

Malawi peace corps africa peace corps volunteers reblog

I <3 maps and you will too!

malawhee:

I taught my Form One’s their first geography lesson today. I’m not sure if they learned geography in primary school, so maybe it was their first geography lesson ever.

To start, I had them draw a map of the world in their exercise books. The results were… interesting. Haha. I mean, they don’t see images constantly like kids growing up in America do… they don’t watch TV, they have limited textbooks, etc. So most of them didn’t really know what it was supposed to look like. Some of them just drew a map of Malawi, which I thought was interesting.

Anyway, one popular Peace Corps activity undertaken by volunteers is the World Map Project. I am definitely going to try and do this at my school with my new geography students. By the end of this term these kids will KNOW that America is not in Europe.

image

Peace Corps Volunteer Malawi Africa geography maps education school youth reblogs

Not too long ago, Margaret Banda’s daughter had a dangerous rendezvous with malaria. Her newborn twins waited at home for her as she was rushed to the hospital with a high fever. Since then, Margaret has completed ANAMED (Action for Natural Medicine) training. Here, she is pounding morgina leaves into a powder for cooking which is essential when battling disease and infection.

Not too long ago, Margaret Banda’s daughter had a dangerous rendezvous with malaria. Her newborn twins waited at home for her as she was rushed to the hospital with a high fever. Since then, Margaret has completed ANAMED (Action for Natural Medicine) training. Here, she is pounding morgina leaves into a powder for cooking which is essential when battling disease and infection.

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It’s Global Handwashing Day!

Handwashing with soap has an important role to play in child survival and health. One of the most cost-effective interventions, simply handwashing with soap can reduce the incidence of diarrhea among children under five by almost 50 percent, and respiratory infections by nearly 25 percent!

Reblog this if you’ve washed your hands today! 

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"I’m very proud of our Peace Corps Volunteers because they are standing up for the idea that every young woman can make a difference in her own life and in her community. And it is a great pleasure for me always, as I travel around the world, to meet Peace Corps Volunteers, who represent the great values and ideals of our nation."

- Secretary of State Hilary Clinton during her visit to a Camp GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) in Malawi run by Peace Corps Volunteers.  

(Source: go.usa.gov)

Africa Camp GLOW Hilary Clinton Malawi Peace Corps Peace Corps Volunteers Secretary of State State Department gen dev gender chitenje diplomacy

Peace Corps Volunteers Commemorate Earth Day

Peace Corps Volunteers worldwide commemorated Earth Day by working with people in their local communities to become more environmentally conscious and protect the local ecosystem. Volunteers regularly help communities organize recycling projects and environmental youth clubs, assist with park management, and forest, soil, and marine conservation.

(Source: go.usa.gov)

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World Water Day - Did you know?  

Fetching water is part of the gender inequality. Check out these statistics from the United Nations Water for Life initiative: 

  • In rural Benin, girls ages 6-14 spend an average of one hour a day collecting water compared with 25 minutes for their brothers.
  • In Malawi, there are large variations in the amount of time allocated for water collection based on seasonal factors, but women consistently spend four to five times longer than men on this task.
  • In Tanzania, a survey found school attendance to be 12 per cent higher for girls in homes located 15 minutes or less from a water source than in homes one hour or more away. Attendance rates for boys appeared to be far less affected by distance from water sources.
  • In 12% of households children carry the main responsibility for collecting water, with girls under 15 years of age being twice as likely to carry this responsibility as boys under the age of 15 years.
  • Research in sub-Saharan Africa suggests that women and girls in low-income countries spend 40 billion hours a year collecting water—the equivalent of a year’s worth of labour by the entire Work force in France.
  • In Africa, 90% of the work of gathering water and wood, for the household and for food preparation, is done by women. Providing access to clean water close to the home can dramatically reduce women’s workloads, and free up time for other economic activities. For their daughters, this time can be used to attend school.

(Source: un.org)

Africa Asia Benin Eastern Europe Malawi Sub-Saharan Africa Tanzania UN United Nations Water for Life Water for Life gender inequality water water day world water day Solomon Islands Haiti Caribbean

Peace Corps, PEPFAR and Global Health Service Corps Launch Public-Private Partnership to Boost Training for Health Professionals in Developing Countries

The Peace Corps, the U.S. Presidents’ Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and the Global Health Service Corps are launching an innovative public-private partnership to place nurses, physicians and other health professionals as adjunct faculty in medical or nursing schools overseas. The Global Health Service Partnership (GHSP) will address health professional shortages by investing in capacity and building support for existing medical and nursing education programs in less developed countries. The new program is expected to begin in Tanzania, Malawi and Uganda in July 2013. Participants will serve in the Peace Corps Response program for one-year assignments. 

(Source: peacecorps.gov)

Africa HIV/AIDS Malawi PEPFAR Peace Corps Response Tanzania Uganda doctors education global health health professionals maternal health medical school medicine nurses nursing nursing school peace corps public health sub-saharan Africa teaching the U.S. Presidents’ Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief AIDS HIV