The village we were working in really has a great need of somewhere where children can be fed and looked after every morning. The nursery will massively help the young children of the village supplying them with a porridge breakfast every morning, in which volunteering villagers will serve. In addition to this, it will have a local teacher able to give the kids a good start to education.
The general feeling in the village was really positive although the interest at the time seemed to be more in us the volunteers!
The children of the village were so curious to speak to us, learn small bits of English and of course play football. After two weeks working with the same eight guys and playing with 100 or so kids, I was sad to leave but it was amazing to see the progress being made in the village. What will stick with me is the smile that everyone we met had on their face.
In terms of the building, I helped a group of volunteers from Johnson and Johnson, who were lending a hand to four builders and four local labourers from the village itself. All eight of them as well as the volunteers were putting in serious amounts of work to get it built. I noticed that we were no match for the locals in speed of work!
When I arrived there was no sign of a building just 2000 or so bricks that the previous group had worked and worked to make. By the end of my time, the foundations had been dug, filled and bricks had been laid to window height (nearly 2m). Without everyone that helped it would not have been possible. The nursery is planned to be finished by Octobers with other volunteers and the eight guys working on it until then.
While staying at the home in Mangochi, I also got to spend a good deal of time getting to know the staff there. The kids in the home really are so much fun to spend time with and you can really see that the work Rashid, Rex and all the caregivers and staff are doing does make a huge difference to the babies as well as to the surrounding community.
All the staff at the home did make me feel so welcome and helped me with anything I needed. All of them make you feel like a part of the Open Arms family in Mangochi and nothing is too much trouble.
Leaving from the home was tough and I would love to visit again. The singing goodbye brought about tears from practically all the group. I’d like to say a huge Thank you to Open Arms Malawi, all the other volunteers and every single person I met in Malawi for making it so special.