By Peter Symons of Nansen Tent.
With much excitement Quest Intake 1 departed for a journey of a lifetime, a journey where none of us could even imagine what we were going to be experiencing!
7 hours to Harare where we stayed overnight at’ Bally Vaughan’ which was enough to turn 19 year old men into little boys again, with the deafening sounds of lions roaring from all corners of the park and other amazing animals to admire.
But this was just the beginning.
The 3 am wake up meant another long day on the road, with few problems at both the Mozambique and Malawi borders, it was finally our time to experience all the tales of ‘The Malawi Trip’ for ourselves.
We arrived in the happy town of Senga bay, were shown our rooms and almost instantly the guys were in love. We were based lake side with the most incredible view of the vast Lake Malawi. We then walked the 500 metre walk to Cool Runnings where we were introduced to Sam. Sam is an incredible woman who helps the Senga Bay community hugely with her “Cool Projects” movements and many other things including being manager of the police force of Senga! She was the one who we would we working alongside and who would be leading us through the project for the next week.
The following day, after a PT session on the beach we were introduced to the Semani family. They too were very kind and compassionate people. Within their family of six, they ran the school that we were going to be working at for the week; the father is the headmaster, wife and two daughters are teachers and the son works on the workshop. This is a perfect example of the harmony we experienced in Malawi.
Throughout the week people were given different jobs according to their strengths, Mandy on the chassis (obviously), Williamson and Ciaran on the painting, Tim on the plastering and so on! This is another lesson which was demonstrated to us through this Malawi experience: working to each other’s strengths.
This week exposed us to situations that many of us have never been exposed to before and showed us how, even though these people have so little, they are still so happy and proud of the way they live.
On the Friday before we departed, the Quest Football Club (QFC) took park in a soccer match which resulted in a humiliating loss: 6-1 to the local Senga Soldiers (which consisted mainly of 10 year olds) – this was a humbling experience and taught us to never underestimate your opposition.
That afternoon we headed off to a local market, which too was a very interesting experience. However, coming out of the market with “Tommy Hilfiger” jackets and “Levi” jeans for 2000 Quacha (4$), we weren’t too disappointed. We then headed off to Senga town and had ice creams at a local bar. From there we took the local taxis (a seat on the back of a bicycle) 2 km to another local bar! This was an experience I will never forget!
Over all, the week brought a lot of smiles to a lot of people’s faces, whether it be Luke Baber swinging 6 little children around in his arms, playing volleyball and rugby in the surf or renovating the Hampton primary school which will enable hundreds of schoolchildren to thrive and learn with better facilities, all in all the ‘Senga Week’ was truly a success and the boys thoroughly enjoyed it!