As I sit here back at home, all I can think about are my adventures back in Malawi. How truly blessed I am to not only have gone once, but twice. Traveling to Malawi has allowed me to discover the beauty of life. It reminds me that I am not complete without these beautiful people who live half way across the globe. There is nothing like sitting on the porch of the guesthouse, overlooking Mtendere Village, and just spending time with all the wonderful kids. Even the amazing photos I have of the kids do not do them justice. Their beauty is something I have experienced first hand and it is these moments that will stay with me through the rest of my life.
While at Mtendere I had the opportunity to do some tutoring, help out in the preschool, and help out anywhere else it was needed. There were always opportunities to help out. Working in the preschool room was such a joy! I am amazed by how much the preschoolers know! It brought me great joy to watch Lovemore, the preschool teacher, share in his students’ successes. As a first grade teacher, having the opportunity to work with these children one on one is amazing. I had the chance to tutor a lot of the students in standard one, which is comparable to first grade. I have never seen such passion and excitement to learn. When we provided manipulatives and hands on learning materials the students’ eyes lit up. I love seeing such excitement to learn. The students are so resourceful and I know they will continue to work hard on their studies.
Traveling to Malawi has changed me forever. It has shown me to truly care for issues that are bigger than myself. In life, I think everyone has a special issue close to their heart, and I have found mine; those kids who have been left alone in this world. Mtendere Village is a place for some of these children and if you spend even a day there you can see how much love can do for a child. As my professor, Dr. Tony Kline said, “It’s amazing what a year of love can do.” This quote has stuck with me since this trip and I realize how truly profound love can be. During my trip I witnessed this first hand. A beautiful, 10 day old girl, named Winnie was given a chance at life in Mtendere Village. She was brought home, and immediately surrounded by family. It was a miracle, a chance for a child to grow up in a world where she is cared for. While there, I also got the chance to meet and spend time with the girl I sponsor, Eneles. At the beginning she was very shy and timid, but as time went on she opened up to us. I cannot even begin to describe her true beauty and joy. She has this smile and laugh that are just contagious. I am so proud of her and can’t wait to watch her grow as a person.
The world is a beautiful place, full of works of art. Throughout my entire trip, I experienced these first hand. Mtendere Village is a piece of this. There is nothing like walking the kids to school on the dusty African paths. Watching kids study and work so hard. Teaching the kids new things. Staring off at the mountains in horizon. Swinging at night and gazing at the stars. Laughing and being a kid. Hugging kids every single day. Singing and praising God, who has given us this wonderful life. Seeing the smiling faces of kids who have gotten a second chance at life. This is my life, my chance at getting to know the world and some of the magnificent people that fill it. I can’t wait to go back again.
Maura Sawicki graduated from Ball State University in 2011 and is in her second year teaching 1st grade.