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Volunteer Diaries

I woke up at seven this morning and was greeted by the warm glow of the sun already shining high in the sky. I had a shower to properly wake myself up and then settled down for breakfast. This morning I had mandazi, some pumpkin and a cup of Mulanje tea. After breakfast I sat and read a chapter of my book in the sunny courtyard and thought through my lesson plans for the day.

I headed over to the primary school for 9am although I was a little late as I was diverted by the nursery school children who were keen to play and see what I had inside my bag! I got to my classroom and was greeted by the children and began to teach them English! Today I taught them the phonetic sounds of six more letters, they are picking it up quite quickly and hopefully are well on their way to learning to read!

I popped back home quickly at the 10.30am break for a drink and continued my lessons until midday. I then headed back for lunch which was an omelette, a fanta and a pack of crisps and had a good chat with Duncan. Refuelled I went to the secondary school at 2pm to teach Computer Science. After the lesson some of the students stayed behind to ask a few questions and I helped a small group of them with their maths homework until around 3.30pm.

I then went to the library to meet Damson. He took me on a cycling trip to buy some bananas and do a bit of photography. We got back by 4.30pm, just in time to play rounders with the orphans.  We played a couple of matches and then played a little football as I watched the sunset, before heading back to the house at 6pm for dinner

 I hungrily ate my chips and eggs and washed it down with coke. I spoke with Duncan and his family about how our days had gone and Damson soon came over so we played some cards and backgammon until around 10pm. I went to see Wilson to chat about going to watch the school football match the next day before doing a bit of stargazing. I am now feeling pretty shattered so will just finish planning my morning lessons before I tuck myself and my mosquito net in and drift off to sleep.

This article was written by Patrick Massey, who did a teaching volunteer placement from April to June 2009. (You can contact Patrick through the SOC Facebook page)

Coming direct to
Duncan is a great opportunity to save yourself some money by cutting out the middle man whilst still receiving all the support you’d expect to find from an agency. You’ll be staying in comfortable accommodation with the family, and Maggie – Duncan’s wife – will cook you three meals each day. You will spend your time teaching children of all ages.


There is a both a secondary school and a primary with an orphanage attached to it. You can get involved wherever you like and your contribution will be tailored to suit your skills and ambitions. As well as being a really nice guy, Duncan is very active within the local community giving you the volunteer a great platform to get to know lots of different people of all ages and positions. The best thing about the experience is that you can genuinely make a real difference and all your efforts are appreciated. There’s plenty of opportunity for travel within Malawi – to the mountains, on safari and to the beautiful Lake Malawi – all of which Duncan will assist you with. It’s a fantastic opportunity and not one to be missed!

This article was written by Greg Kent who did a teaching volunteer placement during July 2009.