Monday, June 28, 2010

Leaving Malawi, Changed Forever

The day we have been dreading for two life-changing weeks is here; it is our last day at Mtendere. Although we have been learning about these resilient and charismatic children throughout our stay, today we created a learning environment that exceeded a traditional classroom setting. We were thrilled to spend this final day teaching games we played as students in the United States including, Red Light-Green Light, Red Rover, and Little Sally Walker.

As we dispersed among the children and staff of Mtendere, Hanna Miller, a senior full of life and thrilled to begin student teaching in the fall, engaged in a lively conversation with one of the house mothers. A quote from their conversation that Hanna found to be very touching was, “On the first day, you were visitors, after the second day, you belonged here.” After Hanna shared this quote with our group, we realized the strong feelings were mutual and we found it very difficult to part ways with the people we have grown to love.

Our journey, including tutoring sessions, implementing unit plans, and learning from the teachers at Mtendere Village, is over as we climbed the dirt path for the last time. We could feel the children’s reluctance to see us go as they followed us to our buses. Tears fell as we hugged the children and said dapita (good-bye) one final time.

As we traveled back to the Korea Garden Lodge, we each reflected in our individual way about our time spent at Mtendere. We cried, we laughed, we hugged, and we talked. Megan Walsh, an intelligent and well respected senior, was able to take this opportunity to evaluate and compare her previous immersive learning experiences. She stated, “Traveling to Malawi, and everything it includes, was the most beneficial decision I have made during my Ball State career.”

As a whole group, we have decided this is one of the most influential opportunities of our lives. We are torn between our excitement to return home and see our families and our heartbreak at leaving our Malawian family.


  1. It sounds like you have created a special place in your heart for your Malawian family.... guaranteed they have done the same with you :-) What a great opportunity!!! Klines

  2. I love how this experience was so all-encompassing for everyone involved. And thanks for involving us the blog readers! Reading these got me really excited for yall! :)

  3. WOW! Thanks so much for all you have shared. Your students, families, and communities will benefit from this experience. Safe journey home!

    Reba Ervin