By Kate Newhouse
We have just arrived at our village. As we drive in to the village we are greeted by women singing. Instantly many of us become overwhelmed with the kindness and how happy they seemed to see us.
We unloaded and brought out many soccer balls (or footballs as the Malawians call them) to start playing with the kids. It was nice to see so many children on the campus and we could feel it come to life.
As we watched the sunset the tremendous colours of blue, green, orange and yellow just made me feel settled. I was so happy that we were here after a long day of travel and I had mixed feelings about the next five weeks. I am excited to see what we can accomplish and see how it all works out. I have been talking about this trip for a year and it’s finally here.
We had a “team meeting” tonight where we all expressed our initial impressions. I talked about how we were viewed in the airport as just another group of white kids trying to “save” Africa. I didn’t like this and I wanted to explain to everyone in the airport that this is a project designed to last. Our work here is not going to take jobs away, but hopefully provide them with resources and knowledge to be sustainable year after year as my peers take part in this project as well.
During our team meeting, Dr. Stonebanks shared the story as to why the Transformative Praxis: Malawi logo was an eagle. He said it was from a professor in Malawi who he had lunch with and the story was about these birds acting as chickens pecking at the ground when a lion came by and asked why they were doing this. The birds replied that they were Malawian chickens and this is what Malawian chickens did. The lion said that they were actually eagles and that they should be soaring in the sky. We all agreed that this story was very representative of what we are trying to do. We want to show people what we can do and what they can do. Don’t be confined by labels, or norms, but think outside the box and create who you are and what you are capable of.
I am still so amazed that we are here and beginning to work so soon. I am still in the honeymoon stage of culture shock, but I can’t wait to experience all this project has to offer
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