My name is Kirsten Dobler and I am a third year Elementary Education Major with a Minor in Music from Bishop’s University. I’ve become very involved with the School of Education at Bishop’s and I hope that this project will help me to link my learnings to real life. The value of education is something that is very important to me and I hope that by sharing and learning together we can make the world even just a little bit better.
I come from a small town called Powell River, just about as far West Coast as you can get. I ventured east for the first time in 2011 with a volunteer program called Katimavik and soon after I made my way to Bishop’s and I have called it my home ever since. I’ve recently began au pairing in Italy during my time away from school and I have had the pleasure of traveling around Europe on my weekends off. I hope to continue my worldly adventures and making a postitive impact as I do so.
As I mention before I greatly value education, especially in places that have different ideas and ways that we do. I also understand the importance of respecting the people and land that we will be sharing in Malawi. I hope that we can make meaningful connections with the people of Malawi. I am very excited to meet the challenges that we have ahead.
My name is Natchasiri but everybody calls me Froy or full out Froy Choi! I was raised in a beautiful island au tropicale Phuket, Thailand. I lived there my whole life, so coming to Canada is a very exciting step for me! I have been here for my second year at Bishop’s University studying Fine Arts and I am having the best time of my life! I grew up in a British school with amazing multicultural background friends, so my favorite thing to do is adapt and learn new things! My interest circles around from photography, painting, writing, cinematography, science, astronomy, to cooking! I joined Praxis Malawi so I can experience a whole new culture that I know very little about and along the way make a difference for the new soon to be friends. I know that my contribution will count in the long run.
My father, who works as a plastic surgeon, always stresses to me that I am the citizen of the world, and compassion and selflessness is what we do best as humans. I am blessed with the lifestyle I have, enough to eat, enough to use. Therefore giving back and sharing is the wisest thing someone could do, whether it’s knowledge or dreams. When I look back and compare Canada to Thailand, or perhaps any countries I visit, I see one obvious similarity that there will always be people that are enthusiastic enough to lend a hand. My purpose for this trip is not to only find myself, but mainly to bring life into the community as much I can, and I can’t wait to discover everything and to share! I also can’t wait to meet my team!! See you soon.
My name is Alexandra (Alex) Bernier and I am a second year Mathematics and a first year Education student at Bishop’s University. I was born and raised in the beautiful green state of Vermont in a French-speaking home. I chose Bishop’s for its small size, because it’s not too far from home and I have dual-citizenship. I enjoy playing volleyball, road biking, and playing the ukulele (even though I have not come close to mastering it yet). This summer, after the Praxis Malawi project, I will be returning to summer camp for the fifth year as a counselor. Camp has been a big part of my growth along with being a personal care aid to a young girl with disabilities during my last year of high school. I am enthusiastic, open-minded, and my friends tell me it is easy to approach me when they need to talk about things. I believe good communication is key for a healthy relationship and a healthy life style. Through my own struggles in life, I have found that inner-peace is really important to find clarity and to be happy. Ways I have found help me are by surrounding myself with people that challenge me and are respectful, being active, doing yoga, listening to music, reflecting, and meditating.
My Name is Kate Newhouse. I am a third year Elementary Education Major and Psychology Minor at Bishop’s University. I am from Oakville, Ontario, which is about 8 hours away from Bishop’s. I love to be involved here at Bishop’s and so from first year on I have joined many different clubs and I am now a Dance Club Coordinator, Competitive Dance Team Choreographer and Dancer, Fashion Show Choreographer and Dancer, A part of Big Buddies and a Stage Manager for plays in New Plays and TheatreActiv festivals, I am part of the BU Blog Project as well. I am organized and up for the challenges that this opportunity will surely present.
Howdy, My name is Marten. I was born in Ontario, but I’ve never lived there. I was raised on a trapline on the Alaska Hwy, near Whitehorse, Yukon. I’m not scared of bears, but I don’t know if I’ll ever feel comfortable driving on a freeway. A pivotal point on my timeline was at age 5, when I was introduced to soccer. The next landmark was at age 9, when my siblings were born. Since then, my story has been a combination of the great outdoors, soccer, and trying my darndest to be a real role model for each person I meet, particularly the young ones. These days I’m a player/coach/team manager for the Bishop’s Men’s Soccer Club. Bishop’s is treating me well, but it is by no means a final destination for me. I’m really motivated to indulge in this project in Malawi. I know it’s going to be transformative. Hopefully we can contribute to something more long term as well.
My name is Victoria (Vicki) Miller and I am in my 3rd year at Bishop’s studying Elementary Education and minoring in French. I am originally from Holliston Massachusetts, which is about 45 minutes outside of Boston, so as expected I am a die-hard Bruins, Red Sox and Patriots fan. I spent my junior year of high school studying abroad and living with a family in the Alps of France and was able to travel a bit around Western Europe. It was amazing being immersed and learning so much about another culture and life-style. I speak fluent French and it is a huge part of the reason why I am here at Bishop’s and in the province of Quebec. In my free time I like to read, skate, listen to music and practice karate. I love working with kids and meeting new people. In fact, I am going back to a camp in Central Maine for my third summer after our Malawi trip. I am so excited to meet everyone and go on this amazing adventure together!
Hello everyone, my name is Jessica Fobert and I am a second year Education student at Bishop’s University. I spent two years studying in my hometown at St. Lawrence College in Cornwall, Ontario. I loved the feeling and opportunities that small schools provide, so I chose to come to Bishop’s University. I have a major in Social Studies (history and geography) with a minor in Psychology. If I could choose, I would continue to add more disciplines because I have a passion for learning. That is one reason why I want to teach is because my students will continuously be providing me with new knowledge and secondly, I am passionate about helping others out. My mother comes from El Salvador, a third world country, and she never got the opportunity to get an education. I want to provide learning experiences for those who do not get that chance. As a future educator, I plan to travel and teach, so that I can learn more about other cultures and how other groups of people live. I plan to share my experiences with my future students so that they can learn about and respect the diverse world we live in.
I am very proud to say that I have the privilege of returning to Malawi for a second year. My name is Ryan Moyer and I am attending Concordia University in Montreal to continue my studies in sociology at the graduate level. As last year’s trip was extremely motivating and transformative, I am very excited to return to Malawi and I am looking forward to building on past relationships in order to get things done.
It is really exciting to be returning the year that the new campus is going up, as it seems metaphoric of opportunities for new meaningful change to arise. I am enthusiastically beginning to work in the field with the concept of adult education/life-long learning. University was the most transformational experience of my life thus far, and I would really be honored if I could add any input towards making adult education accessible in Kasungu.
I am looking forward to another journey.
Amber Fortin was born and raised in Alberta and now lives in British Columbia with her family. She has a loving and supportive family who she would be lost without. At 21 years old she has a passion for social justice and art. She is a 4th year student at Mount Allison University finishing a Bachelor of Arts degree double majoring in International Relations and Sociology. She created Break Free this past August in order to raise awareness on the issues of emotional abuse and domestic violence. Amber currently does public speaking events on emotional abuse for her campaign as well as for mental health. She plans to have a career in Development Policy or Foreign Policy after she graduates.
My name is Kassandra Norrie. I am a Townshipper and I graduated Bishop’s University in 2012 with a B.A. Elementary Education, B.Ed, and B.A. Major in Sociology Minor in Criminology. After graduation I moved to Halifax where I worked teaching Junior Primary and began my Masters at Acadia University.My primary objectives for this independent study is to first produce a literature review on Learned Helplessness, postcolonial views on theories of cycle of poverty and current research on the looking glass self in formal schooling. Second, I want to connect the readings to the practical work I will be doing in Malawi, during the 2015 TPM program. This year’s project will focus on developing and implementing curriculum through an afterschool program. Through journal writing, I will be reflecting on the manners in which Malawian students and (our Canadian) pre-service teachers respond to a curriculum meant to promote agency through critical thinking, creativity and social entrepreneurship. Third, when I return to Canada I will connect the practice and theory through a final research paper.
My name is Kimberly Gregory and I am 23 years old. I am currently doing my Bachelor in Kindergarten and Elementary Education at McGill University. I was born and raised on the south shore of Montreal, in a small town called St-Lambert. I am someone who is very athletic, which is in large part due to my 13 years of experience as a high level gymnast. Gymnastics has taught me that with discipline and hard work you can accomplish almost anything. This is a quality that I believe is essential when taking part in an experiential learning opportunity, especially in a developing country like Malawi, where facing unfamiliar obstacles is a daily normality.
In 2008, I had the opportunity to travel to South Africa, as well as Zimbabwe. It was the most memorable voyage of my life. The natural beauty and wildlife that surrounds this part of the world is astounding. Nonetheless, what really left an imprint on my psyche was the extreme poverty that entrenches some of the areas I visited. Although I was aware that extreme poverty like this existed, I never realized the scale of the problem before seeing it first hand. As a result of this, I was determined to join the Praxis Malawi endeavor in 2014, in order to attempt to alleviate human suffering in the Kasungu region of Malawi.
I am returning to Malawi this year as it was the most enriching experience of my life. I learned a lot academically, but I also learned a tremendous amount about myself. The issues that you confront while you are there truly allow you to grow as an individual. It also permits you to see life in general, from a new and clearer perspective. Malawi is known as the “warm heart of Africa” and I think that there is no better way to describe it as the people are hospitable, kind. and find joy in their lives despite the horrifying conditions that they live in. I am very excited to see the campus come alive this year as the members of Praxis Malawi, as well as the local community have been working extremely hard to develop ways to support sustainable independence of local cultures. I hope that my experience from the previous year will allow me to use my time more wisely, in order to accomplish short-term goals, which will yield long-term benefits.
People who know me best would say that I am a creative, sensitive and levelheaded individual that is always looking for ways to make life and learning more fun. I am a self-appointed, full-time advocate for enthusiastic participation in whatever life throws my way. But when life throws me a day of downhill skiing, followed by a night of board games and watching movies, I couldn’t be happier. I believe that attitude is everything and with this outlook, life becomes less about learning how to weather the storm and more about learning how to dance in the rain. I am eager to start this adventure and as always ready to learn, listen and gain new perspectives. Oh and laugh. Because life is better when you are laughing.
I’m Karen – one of the few Irish students from Trinity College travelling to Malawi this year! I’m a third year Children’s and General Nursing student and I’m enjoying every aspect of college life! I’m from the medieval city of Kilkenny and I try to get home occasionally to visit; but the buzz of Dublin city is addictive and that’s usually where you’ll find me.
Nursing is a wonderful vocation and it’s such a privilege to care for people when they are at their most vulnerable. I love nursing, but even more than that I love people and their uniqueness, flaws and stories. The conversations patients allow me to engage in is definitely the highlight of my training. Putting others before myself and making them feel loved/appreciated is something I strive to do, on my days off just as much as the time I spend in the hospital. I know I will struggle to withhold myself from directly helping the community in Malawi. I must keep reminding myself of the mission of our trip; rather than providing help through utilising OUR skills, we can help people more through empowerment and pushing them to see their own ability. A supportive collaboration which leads to an independence is possibly the best definition of “selflessness.”
I know this Summer is going to be incredible! The Summer is usually my busiest time of the year as I fill it up by volunteering at kids camps. I’m a leader at different activity camps for children and teenagers that are connected with my church, and I volunteer at respite camps for disabled teenagers. Many similar events run weekly in my church and helping out with all that goes on is something I love to do and I happily allow to take up a good chunk of my free time! Working in Africa is something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time; I’ll soon have an actual adult university degree and will be forced to find a job, so this big adventure is a now or never kinda thing. I’m excited to explore and learn more about the world and myself, I hope to get stuck into every aspect of the culture, make plenty of memories and hopefully take a few quality Instagrams.
Hi I’m Katie Schouten, I’m a second year intellectually disability nurse in Trinity and I’m 20. I would describe myself as a fun person and aim to look on the bright side of things. I’m enthusiastic and can see the positive in nearly everything. I am good at listening and have a great caring ability as part of my nursing training. I have no previous experience in volunteering but I’m out-going and am looking forward to having a brand new experience in Malawi.
About the Blog
Since 2013, students participating in Transformative Praxis: Malawi have been writing blog posts reflecting on their experiences of participating in action research in Malawi. The original blog with the full archive can be found here