Why We Go
Villages in Partnership, believes there is no more profound way to get involved than to go to Malawi, to meet with our friends in person, break bread with them, work and worship alongside them while sharing each other’s blessings and burdens. One of our core principles is that we are not distant benefactors sending hand-outs from afar, but are true partners who care about and seek community with our brothers and sisters in Malawi. During these friendship trips you will get to know our friends and understand their circumstances, as you listen to them and are invited to work alongside them to further the important work we are doing together. When you go, you will be blessed and return a changed person.
Adventure of a Lifetime
Be prepared to step out of your comfort zone. Let go of your conventional ideas of right and wrong. Take safety and health precautions seriously. Leave electronics behind. Adopt the local schedules. Learn about the places you will visit before your trip. Read books and study maps. Always keep a sense of humor. Learn to laugh at yourself. Realize that sometimes some things aren’t as important in your foreign destination as they are at home. Look on the experience as a means of finding out who you are and what you are capable of becoming, at any age. Learn what it truly feels like to be a minority. Don’t make uneducated assumptions. DO LEARN what is universal about humanity.
What People Are Saying
The trip to Africa was one that was my dream trip. It was a missions trip and an engineering trip as we were designing a bridge and were able to build it. From the first moment we got there, I felt a sense of community and comfort, despite being in a third world country. The people were fantastic and they were very welcoming to all of us. Their hospitality was mind-blowing and at times, overwhelming because they were so giving to all of us when in fact they had very little. They taught us a lot about their culture, about sacrificing, and about their profound faith in God. I went with the expectation that we would be witnesses to them but in fact they were witnesses to us by having such a deep faith in God when they had nothing. It was a fantastic trip and I would love working with VIP again! -Mindy Laybourne
Although I had been to impoverished communities in Africa before, my trip to Malawi with VIP in June was different. For the first time I saw the people I was working with through the same lens as my friends and coworkers back home. Maybe it was the team’s attitude of working alongside them and partnering with them. Maybe it was from praying with them so often and eating with them. Maybe it was new friendships that broke down stigmas. Looking back, it was probably a combination of those three and a few other things, but there is one thing I know now; at the core, the people of Malawi are just like people in America. I met dads that love to play soccer with their sons. I met boys who liked making jokes and playing games. I met young men like myself who wanted to start a career doing something they enjoyed. Why couldn’t I reach out to them the same way I would a brother who needed help here in the states? I could thanks to Villages In Partnership.
What to Wear
Malawi has several seasons, the rainy season begins in November and lasts into March, often sunny in the morning and rain in the afternoons. June can be chilly in the 40s and 50s. July and August begin growing warmer again with the hot season in October.
Women: Long dresses and skirts only, well below the knee. Do not bear shoulders, wear sleeves; t-shirts are fine. One Sunday outfit. Light jacket or sweat shirt needed. Sturdy sneakers or shoes for rough terrain and sandals.
Men: Casual, light pants, t-shirts and collared shirts. No shorts. Bring one dress shirt and tie for worship. Work clothes, sturdy sneakers or shoes for rough terrain and sandals. Light jacket or sweat shirt.
Muli bwanji – How are you?
Ndiri bwino. Kaya inu? – I’m fine. How about you?
Zicomo – Thank you, excuse me.
Malawi’s motto is “The Warm Heart of Africa.”
The people are truly gracious and the hospitality is overflowing! Greetings are very important in Malawi. Take time to learn these simple greetings. They will take you a long way!
What to Pack
South African Airlines allows for two 50 pound suitcases and 2 carry-ons. We suggest packing one for yourself and packing the second one with items collected for our brothers and sisters in the village.
Items you will need:
- Passport (no Visa needed)
- Flash Light
- Sun Screen
- Water bottle
- Cash (Malawi is a cash only economy)
- Hand sanitizer
- Anti-malaria meds
- European converter (if carrying electronics)
- Back pack
- Small gifts to offer people along the way, such as our hosts
- Often people pack clothing that is worn while there but then leave them behind for our friends
Items Suggested for the villages:
You can help us collect items by asking family, friends and church for the following:
- adult/children’s vitamins
- Triple antibiotics
- knitting needles
- flip flops
- tooth brushes
- tooth paste
- children’s percussion instruments
- cash for needed items on the ground
Immunizations & Anti-Malaria Considerations
You may want to get vaccinations and medications for the trip to Malawi. We recommend the following course listed below. (Note: Your doctor or health-care provider will determine what you will need, depending on factors such as your health and immunization history.)
To have the most benefit, see a health-care provider at least 4–6 weeks before your trip to allow time for your vaccines to take effect and to start taking medicine to prevent malaria.
If you are not up-to-date with routine shots such as, measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT) vaccine, poliovirus vaccine, etc., it is recommended that you start there. The following vaccines are suggested for travel to Malawi: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Typhoid (We do not recommend the rabies vaccine.)