"For winter term, I traveled to Malawi, Africa and spent the month living in a house with fourteen strangers, nine volunteers and five coordinators. Traveling to Africa was something I never imagined myself doing. We spent the month traveling to six different schools in the rural villages around Malawi teaching about HIV/AIDS and the environment. At each school, we taught a three day curriculum, splitting the time between deforestation and HIV/AIDS education. At each school, each volunteer was assigned a teaching partner, and the pair spent the three days together teaching a class of 20-40 Malawian Children. We worked with translators because the children and teachers do not speak English, their language is Chichewa, which is not a written language.
The language barrier was very difficult for me to adjust to and in many cases left me feeling very vulnerable. We taught every day from 10 am- 3 pm beginning and ending the day with songs and games. Playing games and singing songs with the kids was a great way to get the kids to open up to us. The kids had so much energy, but when we brought them into the classroom, they were interested in nothing but learning. They were some of the best behaved children I have ever seen. Teaching every day for the entire month was exhausting, but very rewarding. Our purpose was to spread HIV/AIDS awareness and hopefully decrease the spread of HIV/AIDS in Malawi by teaching the kids at a very young age how to prevent themselves from contracting the disease. Although we were unable to see immediate improvements and results from our work, we can only hope that the information we taught them will be helpful and make an everlasting impact. The things I experienced in Africa are unforgettable and will impact me for the rest of my life. "