It was a real pleasure to welcome Ashville College back to Open Arms this summer. A packed itinerary saw them helping in the Blantyre infant home, playing with the children and getting to know more about what we do.
The students also played games with the children in the family houses which turned out to be the warm-up for more serious games that were to be played at a local primary school. Ntonya School kindly hosted a sporting afternoon where the Ashville girls played a very competitive game of netball against the Open Arms family house girls, and the respective boys’ teams battled it out on the football pitch. While the Ashville girls came out on top, the same could not be said for their boys – better luck next time!
“Excited staff and students from Ashville College, Harrogate set out to spend three weeks working with Open Arms in Malawi. We spent the first few days in Blantyre where we were fortunate enough to visit both Harrogate House and Rose’s House to see first-hand the excellent work achieved by Open Arms. ” - Ashville College
This year, the group visited the Lower Shire River valley to understand some of the devastation caused by Cyclone Idia, and to see how the outreach work done by Open Arms is helping families in the region. As their first exposure to real poverty in Malawi, this was understandably a real eye-opening experience for pupils on the trip.
After a few days of recreational activities, it was clear to see that the group were keen to sink their teeth into some work. When they reached Mangochi, many tried their hand at some tough manual labour on this year’s Open Arms building project in the lakeside village of Mauwa. Students and staff helped local builders in the construction of a community nursery school, with jobs of laying and stacking bricks, mixing wheelbarrows of cement, and attempting to keep the work site free of very interested village children!
Further visits were made to schools and villages who have also benefited from a long relationship with the school and their pupils. Students played more games and even taught some English lessons.
Ashville enjoyed their last night at Kumbali Lodge in Lilongwe. A small 'trip send-off' was held around the campfire that night where several speeches and small awards were made and some individual highlights of the trip were shared. After such a memorable trip, it was clear that most were looking forward to getting home to their family and friends to share all of the stories from their exciting trip.
“We would like to say a big thank you to Open Arms who were fantastic both before and during our trip. We all had an amazing time and many of us are hoping to return to work with Open Arms again in the future. ” - Ashville College