Urmston, United Kingdom
Hi, my name is Jasmine Ojofeitimi and I am 17 years old living in Urmston, Manchester.I am currently studying at Urmston Grammar Sixth Form and plan to go on to study social work at university. Before then however, I am eagerly anticipating my gap year abroad. During this time I will be living and volunteering in Malawi working in Joshua Orphan and Community Care for the full 12 months getting involved in the day-to-day running of the orphanage and feeding centres –ensuring that children are fed washed and dressed. As well as acting as a big sister for young people making the wrong choices.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

We've moved house!

4 bed, semidetached, heated swimming pool and a cinema room. Lol. Nope not quite as exciting as that! The house we've lived in since September is used for other volunteers that come and go throughout the year so at the end of June there are 6 teams coming out for 2 weeks at a time to volunteer. So we are moving across the road (literally 1.5 minute walk away) there are only 2 bedrooms so for the last 2 months we are sharing, lets hope we don't end up killing each other! 

Moving day (14/06/14) it was lovely today we were back and forth across the road carrying buckets, baskets, clothes, mosquito nets ect and lots of our neighbours helped give us a hand. Our first night in the new house, me and Imogen made a lentil, eggplant, tomato, peas, sweet potato curry. It sounds grim but it was so nice! Best curry we have made so far. 

10 metres away from our house there is an evangelical church (fantastic for trying to have a lie in on Sundays) 

The 'shower' is in the garden which is v strange. I am always looking out for a black face to appear from the small gap in the wall. We use a makeshift shower curtain out of the empty maize bags which just about covers me naked bod! 

It's so nice having neighbours, in the old house we had a huge garden and it was all in a compound but here the kids come to the window "Jasmine, ku funa mpira panja" ( I want to play ball outside) it's cute for now but depending on how often they come knocking it won't for much longer haha. The feeding centre backs on to our house so I think the kids will be my alarm in the morning from now on. 

There's 2 bedrooms a living room and a kitchen in this house, it's a lot smaller than the other one but it's more homely! I'm sharing a room with Anne which will be interesting because she's a messy cow hehe. It's becoming normal for the neighbours to wonder in and out of our house asking for Lego, wanting to play and I even treated one of our neighbours to a pedicure! Feeling like part of the neighbourhood already, it will be a shame to leave in August (60 days!). 



Friday, 13 June 2014

Owls

9/06/14

At the beginning of the week I had a rubbish nights sleep, partly because I was awoken by an owl on the roof. It sounds daft but on a tin roof it makes a racket. I wouldn't of thought anything of it if I hadn't been told earlier on in the year by our friend Joe in the village that hearing an owl means that there will be a death the following day in the village (didn't want to believe in this superstition at all) Unfortunately  on the Tuesday day our neighbour in the village a 70 something man died. And today I attended the 'funeral'. It's nothing like a funeral in the UK but we wanted to go and pay our respects to his wife and family. All day there had been crowds of people surrounding the house where he lived. We found that in Malawi a funeral consists of the coffin in the middle of the home with crowds of women sitting around singing hymns and praying. It's part of the culture here to allow women to pay their respects separate from men. His wife lay next to the coffin, this will continue throughout the night with people coming and going until the coffin is buried. The same day of attending the funeral we were all in the house when the head teacher of the local primary school came round to tell us that the teacher who lives opposite us needs an ambulance. Me and Sophie went to see what was exactly wrong with him and found he was struggling to breathe. In no time we had transport coming but being so far away from town it took a while for the car to come. He was mid 50's and seemed to have very bad chest pain, he was a heavy smoker and everybody thought he could also have malaria. So in the meantime feeling very useless, as there was nothing I could do to help I joined in the prayers along with around 15 friends and family members. In a very small house with 4 rooms there were people in most rooms praying for him to get better. The sense of community here is unbelievable you would never be alone in such a close knit community. Today (Wednesday) I went back to the house where the funeral was held yesterday to help prepare food as today is the day the coffin will be buried. Not your average buffet like at home, I helped over 30 women in the kitchen cook for over 200+ people, Nsima, Goat, Chicken, Fish, kidney beans and cabbage. Within the 3 hours I was there for  crowds of people gathered waiting to come in to the house but there wasn't any room.  This week has made me dislike owls a lot as well as appreciate those we have around us.

(The man who had chest pains is recovering and is back at home, he has malaria and has been advised to stop smoking asap) 





Monday, 19 May 2014

8 months in Malawi

It's now my 3rd term at the Feeding centre and it has flown by! After teaching numbers, alphabet, shapes, animals, the calendar we have now gone on to patterns. With minimal resources we make the most of what we have around us so we have started with sticks and stones. Once they start getting the hang of it we'll add leaves, bottle tops ect. Teaching patterns African style...

'Samba manja' 
Washing hands before porridge...

The quietest time of the day...

At the feeding centre we are trying to come up with other ways in which they can wash their hands as the main way they become ill is due to poor hygiene! But for now poring it from the bucket will do. 

Welcome to the mad house...
These are our neighbours who are always popping in on us. For some reason it's always when I'm washing my knickers! It will be sad to say goodbye to them in August!

Imogen's parents came to visit at the end of April and kindly treated us all to a 3 day safari in Zambia. When we got back after being away from the village travelling  our next door neighbour who we have seen day in day out for 8 months gave birth to a lovely baby boy, Precious on the 14th April. We were all chuffed for the family but very confused how she had managed to hide it for so long! He's absolutely gorgeous so I'm always popping round just to cuddle him! And can you believe I am darker than the baby, you wouldn't think I was the mixed race one! 
Meet Clifford... A teacher shouldn't really have favourites but I do! He's absolutely gorgeous and is always smiling. My new name is Auntie Jazz, at the beginning of the year all the kids called me madam which didn't feel right so Auntie Jazz it is!

We baked a cake without an oven! 
Since that was a success we've also made jacket potatoes. I think we are a going to be fine at uni! 

It took some elbow grease but it was worth it! 

Nkhata Bay- Dindano Nursery


It's Easter holidays at the feeding centre so I decided to look around other volunteering places in Malawi and found a nursery in the north, Nkhata Bay, Dindano village. We planned on spending 2 weeks volunteering in the village teaching at the nursery but when we arrived at Nkhata bay the rain was so bad we couldn't make it to the village. 

We finally made it!

During our time at Dindano village we helped the teachers at the nursery, played netball with the local village team and spent a lot of time helping the chief and his wife at their home. The village was a lot more rural than our village in Blantyre. Where we stayed was an attached room to the nursery. There is no electricity in the village and we had to collect water daily. Despite this we had a lot of help from the people in the village and they made us feel very welcome I'm hoping to go back and visit before I leave in August. Our stay was cut short when the girl who I was volunteering with got Malaria so we had to head back to the town! I'm still in touch with friends from the village so we will hopefully see them sometime before August!

Teaching the next generation...
            (My team won 11-2 hehe)

South Africa

During this year we get 6 weeks holidays to travel. Me and Imogen decided last minute to go to South Africa. So our first mare of many was booking our coach tickets and not realising we need a visa for Mozambique (we travel through Mozambique and Zimbabwe to get to South Africa) I am awful at geography and this did not occur to me! So we had to cancel our coach for the next day and apply for a visa at the Mozambique embassy. So we left Blantyre, Malawi early doors on the Wednesday and arrived in Johannesburg, South Africa on the Thursday Morning. I'm personally not a fan of 24 hour coach journeys after this one. We had 2 kids sat infront of us who thought it would be joke to through banana at us (it was funny for the first 5 minutes) When we got off the coach in South Africa where everyone has to take all their luggage off to go through customs it was just my luck they decided to search my bag out of everyone's! 

Everybody had warned us to be extra careful in Jo'burg because it's one of the most dangerous cities in the world. So we avoided spending too much time there lol. As soon as we went to the hostel to get rid of our bags the first thing we did was get on the double decker sight seeing bus-typical tourists. We went to the Apartheid museum which was so deep but interesting. 

Part of the museum was the entrance to get in which found v confusing coming from the best of both worlds hahaha.

When we arrived in Capetown after spending a night at Imogen's family friends in Britstown I was so surprised how developed SA is. It's the UK with palm trees and a very blue sea! Obviously having missed the western comforts over the last 6 months we found a McDonald's! 


We went to table mountain in Capetown but we didn't climb it because we are lazy ! We visited La Motte wine vineyards which we absolutely beautiful! So we went wine tasting which is something I've never done and didn't quite get the hang of. So we kept trying all these different wines and as you can imagine on an empty stomach and not realising you are supposed to spit it out was something else haha. From Capetown we decided to do the 'Garden Route' which is a tour of the eastern cape. Wilderness bay, Plettenburg Bay, Jeffery's Bay, Port Elizabeth and Durban. At plettenburg bay there's Bloukran's bridge which is the highest bungee bridge in the world. I was not keen on the idea of jumping off a 216m bride but Imogen decided it would be a brilliant idea...


I was absolutely terrified and it was only when my feet were half of it sunk in. The guys who work at the centre said that I was definitely a screamer because I didn't stop screaming until I was back on the bridge haha. But the mad thing is I'd love to do it again!





Saturday, 22 March 2014

Nyama: Njovu, Galu, Mbuzi, Pusi.

Animals: Elephant, Dog, Goat and Monkeys.

After conquering the alphabet, numbers, colours and shapes I've now started teaching animals to the kids. By 'teaching' it's mainly me acting like an elephant or a monkey which is something else when 40+ kids start acting like monkeys. 


Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Chrismas Yabwino... Merry Christmas


It's hard to feel Christmassy when it's this hot! Luckily Sophie and Imi (the girls I'm living with for the year) got Christmas decorations sent out by fam and friends so we've tried our very best to make it as festive as we can! 

(Not your average stocking...T.I.A)

This weekend we are all heading to Liwonde National Park where i will finally see ELEPHANTS! We are camping for the weekend and herd of elephants stroll through the park (I'm so bloody excited) On Christmas Day me and Sophie will be spending it with two other project trust volunteers at Yamakani Orphanage. There's a bouncy castle, we are baking cakes with the kids and they are watching home alone. What more do you want? It's safe to say that this will be a Christmas I will never forget! 

(We had an early Christmas Day because we all aren't going to be together) 


We went to watch an African style nativity at Mbinda Primary school. Not the average Christmas nativity but the traditional African dances were amazing! 


(The last day at the feeding centre before we broke up for Christmas) I managed to teach the kids some of 'We wish you a Merry Christmas' and they were all over the moon when I brought sweets in for them!