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#MalawiMonday, A Volunteer Experience- Part 1.

Hey #LovePixies! ❤️

Angelica here, social media gal for Love Support Unite and Love Specs. I thought a good place to start, when talking about volunteering with us on our last trip would be with me? I may be proven wrong but the blog is yet young so hopefully by the end of this short but sweet entry, you will understand why I still think it was the best choice I have made in 2016.I have made some incredible friends, I truly understand what life is like in Malawi and I am already stoked to start planning the next trip. I hope to inspire you awesome Love Pixies out there to join us in April- so here is goes.

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Day 1.

Upon touching down in Lilongwe Airport, Malawi, I was immediately taken aback- we had been told that whatever imagery you had been fed by big name charities, an image of depressed Africa, every country full of sorrow and dismay is not the image the locals would want you to see. No, instead we were greeted by the warm heart of the city, every person from maintenance staff to customer service personnel were so happy to see us. They beamed from ear to ear and greeted us as if we were long lost friends. It was then I understood that this trip would be truly special. We then went straight to the Hostel- Mabuya Camp. After that is was straight onto Tilinanu Orphanage. This was certainly an experience to remember. The girls at the Orphanage are charismatic, strong and empowered young women. The girls embraced us and made us feel so welcomed. We were able to play and enjoy the company of these incredible young ladies which was a fantastic way to start the trip.

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Day 2.

We knew day 2 was going to be a crazy day and it certainly delivered. But being busy is good, how does the saying go?- “The devil makes work for idle thumbs”, whatever you believe in, it is true that being busy is good for the soul. Particularly good for the soul is feeling like you are making a difference. We made our way to MkhnkhuSchool where we were greeted by an amazing welcoming party! The children lined up to sing, dance and talk with us which was so wonderful. Marcus, one of the wonderful volunteers is a magician and as you can imagine the children went crazy for this tricks. I don’t really blame them, Marcus could blow my mind with the mere flick of a playing card and the children were in ore! Our task for the day at Mkhnkhu was to observe, interact and witness exactly how the charity’s money is being spent. Unlike other charities, that spend millions on admin and marketing etc, Love Support Unite send all they can to the school (and their various other projects) to ensure conditions are improved. With the help of Lucy Bee Coconut Oil who donated some raw coconut oil, the lovely volunteer Meg, ran a ring worm clinic. The oil is naturally antibacterial and helps treat fungal infection. The locals loved the coconut oil and it certainly felt amazing to treat a painful condition with a small gesture. We are keeping our fingers crossed they all make a full recovery. At the school which is home to so many children and the hub for the community, Love Support Unite have seen the builing of a few extremly vital resources such as the clean enery generater thanks to Fire fly Clean Energy , new crop planations with thanks to the Garden to Mouth project, a drip irrigation system, as well as a stone fire oven. We will be writing blogs on each of those topics so you can discover all the details! Each of those projects is so very exciting and full of promise, we can’t wait to share them with you. Nina, the charity’s co-founder gave us a moving speech on the current level of poverty that everyone one of the locals faces on a daily basis. We had no idea of the level of deprivation that they live with. Prior to the most recent developments, both children and adults alike were only eating once every 4 days and through drought season would suffer the extreme hardships of having little to no crops or sustenance at all. That is when we got to hear about plans for the very near future, again, we cannot wait to tell you all about them! We also had the awesome pleasure to see the women’s enterprise group perform. The women’s enterprise groups practices baby massage to help connect and strengthen the mother and baby bond, they also learn from local experts how to set up, manage and grow a small business to provide food, money and commerce for the entire community. It was so profound to see! It was such an intense and beautiful day, again so humbling to see how happy and kind the locals are, despite the conditions.

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Day 3.

Another incredibly inspiring day. Once again we know our purpose is to see all the wonderful things Love Support Unite are doing in partnership with the local community. The locals are so tenacious and hardworking that all they needed was a little helping hand from us. Love Support Unite do not want to disrupt daily life or cause a scene when we arrive into town that is why they only visit a few times a year with the volunteers. That way the communities run and manage their own villages, their own lives, that is truly magical. Nevertheless, arriving at this one village on day 3 was such a delight! Again there was singing and dancing, the children came out from their houses, women and men, all people joined us for a celebration. A day of happiness where 2 cultures or polar opposites were able to unite in love and compassion. Our purpose was the paint the school/community building and it was a task with took on with great pleasure!The building was commissoned by Gayle Berry and the “Little Blossoms Malawi project”. We kinda all dived in. It happened rather organically, everyone naturally adopted a section of the room and went crazy, all the creativity straight onto the wall. It worked out so well. We adorned the walls with messages of love and hope while the party continued outside. It was crazy, I went outside for some fresh air and it was like a festival was taking place.I knew I wanted to get involved, I got the Gopro and gave out a couple of pairs of specs and the kids loved it! It was so wonderful! The end of the afternoon was finished of with probably one of the most amazing experience of my life. After a small thankyou ceremony and a baby massage demonstration, we saw the local dancers perform in the traditional Malawian style. Donned with costumes like I have never seen before it will be something I will never forget!

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So that brings us to Day 4 where we made our way to kande Horse Ranch at Lake Malawi but you have to wait until Wednesday for that!

Thanks for reading and if you want to know a little more about volunteering with us, follow this link:

https://lovesupportunite.org/volunteer-2/volunteer-in-malawi/why-volunteer/

#YouAreLove

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