From Lauren –
Before I came to Malawi I had an image of it in my head.I imagined people with absolutely nothing wanting to be in a different situation with a different life.
After arriving in Malawi, I found this to be a very stereotypical view of African society. Instead, we were met with a country in severe poverty, but with people who are accepting of their fate. The majority of people we have met are thankful for what they have and wish only for the simple things we all take for granted, clothes, warmth and a hope for the future.
The thing that surprised me most about Malawi is the community which they have – something that is lacking in Western society. Friends, family and neighbours would do anything for each other and for us also. I think it was on seeing the community which made me realise why people aren’t desperate for an escape – they have each other. Without the support of those around them, people simply would not survive.
As expected, seeing the poverty that is deeply embedded in Malawi has made me realise how lucky I am, but not in the way you would imagine. I don’t now want to go home and throw away all my belongings. Instead, I would like myself and those around me to see that we can survive without some of the things we see as necessities.
The thing that I have liked most about this trip to Malawi has been seeing the changes that are being made to make people’s lives better and more sustainable. The Street Kids Programme is incredible as it allows orphaned children on the streets to have an education. There is also a massive push to keep girls in school, which gives them hope and more opportunities.
Overall, I have absolutely loved the experience of coming to Malawi and as clichéd as it sounds, it has definitely changed the way I look at life.