May 15, 2013

Malawi January - February 2013: Community Psychology in Action

By some strange fortune Nora Miller asked me to be adjunct faculty on an Alaska Pacific University 'Community Psychology in Action' class taking place in Malawi, Africa this winter. 

My primary impressions of Malawi consist of the complementary and contrasting facets of hardship and resilience we observed among the people we met and the experiences that they shared. There is far too much going into my overall impressions of Malawi to share in this short post - rest assured that the picture is complex and I hope to head back to Africa someday to learn more.

We were based in the village of Bolera near Mangochi, Malawi, taking day trips elsewhere in the area to do collaborative work with community members and organizations. 

Our group did a bunch of different things while there. Activities included class time, caring for orphaned children at Open Arms Malawi, a variety of collaborative projects at Malawi Children's Village (MCV) with Gracious Secondary School, cultural and scenic trips, participation in a presentation by Together Act Now Malawi, and support and workouts with the Bolera running team which was supported by Alaska's own Skinny Raven Sports.

Holding children at Open Arms.

Photo: Samantha Hernandez

The Bolera running team in their new shoes and shirts thanks to Skinny Raven.

The former sporting shoes of Bolera's burliest young athletes.

The class takes a ride in a rowboat to look for hippos.

Photo: Samantha Hernandez

A cool house that was abandoned due to infestation by insects. Insects are everywhere in Malawi. There were a few times I woke up after being hit in the head by a falling beetle.

Blank canvas for a collaborative mural project between our students, several MCV students, and local artist Thom Walker. 

Lake Malawi from near Cape Maclear.

Friend Alinafe and his little brother making a soccer ball out of condoms, rags, pieces of bicycle tires, and a blanket.

Photo: Samantha Hernandez

Our group with artist Thom Walker and our completed Alaska-Malawi mural. 

Photo: Samantha Hernandez

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