Irene Siegl '16 recently answered questions about her recent Global Service trip to Malawi.
What was the most memorable part about your time in Malawi?
It is hard to pinpoint only one memorable part of the trip to Malawi. I have three memories that immediately come to my mind! The first one happened on the very first day when we climbed up the hill, and all of the children were following us singing and dancing. The second memory was when we went to the market to sell sugar cane and papayas. It was fun to sell to them to the local people and having to negotiate with them was interesting. I had never seen a market like this before with so many people and everyone talking and bargaining. The final memory was the boat trip where we had a chance to see crocodiles, hippos, and experience a beautiful sunset on the river.
What type of work/service did you do in Malawi?
In Malawi we visited a school where we brought school supplies and also an orphanage where we brought a lot of clothes and toys for the kids. In the gardens, we worked alongside the people whose job and responsibility were growing and tending the gardens. They explained what tasks needed to be completed, and we helped them. At the same time, we learned how to care for crops, and how they keep their soil full of nutrients with their natural compost.
What did you learn about malnutrition, hunger, and "ethical food?"
The Freedom Garden owner (Daniel) told us about the villages near the gardens, and how much they eat per day. He told us that the poorest people have only one meal a day, including many children. This often means the adults might not eat for a whole day. As we went around to the villages we noticed the children around us had big bellies, and we learned this is a sign of malnutrition.
We learned a lot while working in the gardens about taking care of crops in order to have an abundant harvest. Their compost is made from the excess leaves therefore it is completely natural, and it helps the soil by adding nutrients. From the gardens they produce food for themselves, and any excess food is sold at the market to make some money.
Would you recommend other student go on the Ethical Food Malawi service trip? Why?
I would recommend Malawi Ethical Food trip to everyone, because it’s an amazing and unique experience. It introduces you to another culture in a way that allows you to interact on a personal level. You are exposed to how a community garden works and how to care for the crops. In addition to traveling with friends, on this trip you get a chance to also work together.
If you are viewing this blog from an iPad, follow this link for a photo gallery: Ethical Food - Malawi.
Photographs in the gallery were taken by junior Stasja Ilic.
TASIS Global Service Program
The Global Service Program was envisioned by Jan Opsahl ’68, who became the first international student at TASIS when he came from Norway in 1965. The pioneering program was launched in 2013 with major support from a most generous donation from Mr. Opsahl and his family to set up the Global Service Trust. This Trust, along with support from the TASIS Foundation, make this incredible, life-changing experience for our students possible.
The Global Service Program transforms lives by providing every High School student a unique opportunity to connect across borders through comprehensive experiences that build empathy and encourage personal responsibility. Participation in the program—which is designed to awaken students to humanitarian needs, inspire them to build enduring, mutually beneficial relationships, and lead them toward a life of active citizenship and committed service—is a graduation requirement.