The amount of interest and support in my trip to Malawi has been outstanding! People have wanted to hear about my trip and have loved seeing my photos. I keep getting the questions “how was your trip?” “Tell me all about your trip!” and “what was your favorite thing about Africa?” I continue to find myself unable to answer any of these questions. Not because I don’t have answers, but rather I don’t know how to explain my experience. How could I? I stepped into a completely different world. Living five weeks with no electricity, plumbing, running water or technology really cleared my head. I was living. I was able to have human interaction with so many people, some that didn’t even speak my language.
I also got my first exposure to what would soon become my favorite thing in Malawi, the singing. I think it is the jewel of Malawi. The way the kids sing in large groups A cappella and harmonize in such beautiful ways was absolutely amazing. I recorded a few songs on my phone and I find myself listening to them often because it makes me feel closer to Malawi, even though I am half way across the world.
The reason I found myself in Malawi in the first place was to conduct some research for my adviser here at Tech, but I soon found it was SO much more than that. The research project feeds twenty-five women and twenty-five children goat meat for twelve months and records their progress. My particular part in the research looks at the child’s behavioral, motor, cognitive, and social development. There were times I would have MUCH rather found myself on the soccer field with the kids, but I knew in the end my work on this project would be much more of a benefit to these kids.
If there was one thing I could tell you about Malawi it would be how close to God you feel. Every day we listened to them sing songs of praise. One day I asked my translator, “what was it that made everyone in Malawi so joyful” (because the joy these people have is out of this world)? His answer was, “they all serve one God and that he provides.” They don’t separate their spiritual life from their everyday life. It’s not about going to church on Sunday. They live everyday with God. My own journey of faith was put into perspective. God showed me His love in Malawi.
One day the director of Circle of Hope asked us to find our treasure, the child that God had planned for us to find. I found many treasures during my trip to Malawi, but there was one that has completely stolen my heart her name was Naomi.Naomi is fourteen years old. The moment she lead the choir she her voice has become my favorite thing in this world. During my five weeks there I got to know Naomi. Thankfully she spoke some English. Half the time she spoke to me with her hands on her face or with her face away from me. With a huge grin on her face the entire time none the less. Her smile is absolutely beautiful and contagious. I have always been told I have a contagious smile and I now know what that means. I found out she wants to be a nurse. This was something that I loved to hear her say and I am planning on helping her reach her goal.
One of the greatest things I experienced while in Malawi was when we had the chance to take all the kids to Lake Malawi! It was absolutely amazing to experience this with the kids. None of them knew how to swim. Naomi was very afraid to go in water above her stomach. I convinced her to trust me to walk her out to the deep. That was a task in itself, but the moment she trusted me was the most beautiful moment of the entire trip. To have a girl who was so guarded in the beginning trust me enough to take her into deeper water spoke so much more than I could ever explain.