|Outlook Expedition to Malawi||22/09/2016|
This summer, a group of 9 Spalding High students from Years 12 & 13 were accompanied by Mrs Schwarz and Mrs Syer on an Outlook Expedition to Malawi, Africa. The month was spent volunteering at environmental and social projects around the country, before completing a 4 day trek phase through the mountains down to Lake Malawi, followed by a safari at Liwonde National Park.
Our time there was truly life-changing and we were incredibly lucky to have such an immersive experience, the highlight most probably being the schools that we visited, such as the Mbwalala Primary School in northern Luwawa, and interacting with the young children at an orphanage and crisis nursery. The looks on their faces as we gave them the colourful notebooks and stationery donated by local supermarkets were unforgettable, and they were all so surprised when we managed to converse with them in their own language, Chichewa.
In Malawi, girls our own age miss a quarter of their school lives because the traditions of their culture forbid them from leaving their homes during menstruation - something that the group just couldn’t quite believe. The all-girls school that we visited, Edinburgh Girls High in Mzuzu, really struck a chord with us all as it was so easy to make comparisons with our own school back in Spalding. The sanitary towels that we had bought with the help of donations from our school were given to two senior students, both 17, one of which hoping to study maths at university and the other an aspiring midwife. It was clear that they were really appreciated, especially seeing as the current water shortage in the cities is making washing reusable sanitary towels considerably difficult.
We’re so grateful for the generosity of everyone who helped us with our fundraising goals, without which we might not have been able to impact so many lives in the way that we did. The sheer poverty that we encountered, yet the happiness of the people living in it, really made us appreciate our families and the quality of our lives back at home. To anyone considering taking part, I would wholeheartedly recommend the experience – I’ve seen a part of the world that I never thought would be possible at the age of 17, and have made memories that will truly last a lifetime.