Thursday, 23 October 2014
Maureen of Josephina Ballerina recently asked me to blog about what I was doing in Malawi all those years ago!
After I graduated from University, I decided I wanted to volunteer abroad for a couple of years with Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO). After a long application process and a period of time spent doing voluntary work in the UK, I was sent to teach Biology, Chemistry and Physics at St Michaels Girls Secondary School in Malawi.
I taught in the school for two years, also leading the school Wildlife Club, which went on walks round the local area, to see the weaver bird colony and the pied kingfishers on Lake Malawi.
I really enjoyed my two years, the students were polite, friendly and eager to learn and Malawi is a beautiful country, though very poor. I travelled throughout Malawi and in nearby Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana, met a lot of interesting people, made many friends and had a great time. Although as an environmentalist I think it's important to cut down on one's carbon footprint by reducing the amount we travel, and also that there's a great importance in knowing your local area and not rushing off all the time, I also think there is a huge amount to be gained in spending a good long time living in a totally different culture. It gives you insights into how other people live and let's you see things in a different perspective. It's also fascinating as a naturalist to see a totally different range of wildlife!
I wrote a fair amount of poetry when I was in Malawi and published a book Bougainvillea Dancing a couple of years after returning to the UK. This book raised money for charities working in Malawi. I recently updated it, to include new poems and some illustrations and re-published it to mark the 50th Anniversary of Malawi's independence. The updated version of Bougainvillea Dancing is available to purchase in the Crafty Green Poet Etsy shop or on Lulu. At least 10% of profits from the sale of this ebook will go to VSO's work in Malawi.
As ever, red text contains hyperlinks that take you to other webpages where you can find out more.