World Challenge 2018 - Malawi

Our time in Malawi is something we would all describe as life-changing and something we will never forget. We became fully emerged in the culture there and wanted to have an impact on the people we met along the way.

Mid-day on Saturday 30th June was the time we had all been working up to, this was the day we were leaving our parents and everything we know at home for a trip to a country that many hadn’t even heard of before! We began to load the bus and tentatively began a trip to Heathrow. Nerves began to settle as we endured the long coach ride down to then board a plane to Addis Ababa on the way to Malawi.

We began our trip with a trek up Mt Mulanje and this proved to be testing from the start as we climbed nearly 2000m in the first day. The rest of the trek was spent exploring the different peaks, as well as bathing in natural pools. The trek to the bottom then concluded this part of the expedition, where we were met by the locals of a nearby village. This therefore meant that we had to leave our guides Duncan & Gifty, who we had spent much time getting to know over the past seven days.

After this, we moved onto the next phase of our trip which was our community project, something we had all very much been looking forward to. We were placed at Dzalanyama School to build a shower block for the girls’ dormitory. Our team had to lay the foundations by bricklaying and mixing the cement, ready for teams from other schools to finish the work. This was a very enjoyable phase as we became friends with the children, exchanging photographs and letters, as well as having an impact on the school and playing sports with them. At the campsite, our team were also able to have hot showers, the first ones of our trip, which was an exciting time for all of us! During our time at the project many other memories were also created, such as watching England lose to Croatia on a solar powered TV & Miss Allum getting a tarantula on her backpack!

Next, was our rest & relaxation which comprised of a safari, where we got to encounter elephants, hippos, warthogs, & impala, and a section that we spent at The Funky Cichlid, where we relaxed on the beach and took sunset cruises on Lake Malawi. This was within the Cape Maclear region which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984.

Moving on, we drove to Zomba Plateau to complete our next trek. This consisted of three day treks, meaning that we did not have to set up for camp each night and this gave us a little time to relax as a team before we made the journey back.

Bright and early on day one we set off for the capital of Lilongwe and spent a day here, buying souvenirs and once again buying our favourite treats from Shoprite. The evening was spent celebrating mine and Lottie’s birthdays with an Italian meal in the city, giving a great end to our trip with cake!

After travelling back home, with a 6 hour layover in Ethiopia, we all can reflect on what has been an amazing experience for all of us and coming back to see our parents was an amazing moment! All of us can say we would recommend this trip to anyone in the future.

Jasmine, U6