Students take Malawi to their hearts Wednesday 13 September 2017 Community General News Sixth Form This year saw another group of GSAL students continue the school’s longstanding commitment to supporting schools and communities in Malawi. Here, students Adam Phillips and Nick Summersgill write about the 23-day trip during the summer holidays. For the 44 students on the tour, Malawi was without doubt a humbling, life changing and unforgettable experience; a once in a lifetime opportunity. Our first week consisted of visits to the schools, orphanages and hospitals we support in Kasungu district and the opening of the Stuart Calder library. At Chimbowe and Vikwa primary schools we painted four classrooms over two days, adding a bright and educational setting for the students there. It can definitely be said that the visit to Chilanga School for the Blind was a humbling experience, particularly the performance of their hugely talented school choir. We then travelled to Zambia to South Luangwa National Park, for truly incredible sights of the African wilderness and a surprise bush breakfast in the middle of the safari, eating amongst the giraffes and elephants! It was then on to Lake Malawi, the third largest lake in Africa, an area renowned for its beauty and incredible sunsets. During our time at the lake we visited the Mango Tree nursery and Open Arms, a children’s charity where toddlers thrive in a safe and enjoyable environment. After our visit to the Malama Feeding Centre at Thyolo, we had the daunting uphill challenge of climbing the 9,000 ft Mount Mulanje, from where we could see a panoramic view of Malawi and its surrounding countries. Towards the end of our trip we visited The Jacaranda School for Orphans, the only free secondary school in Malawi, located outside of Limbe, where we were treated to a tour of the school and invited to their end of year assembly, consisting of a variety of African singing and dancing. That evening, a presentation took place to distribute £10,000 of the money we have raised to the many worthy projects we had visited. The trip was full of exciting and emotional experiences which, without the organisation of Mr Brindley, Miss Fitzsimons and the other staff, would not have been possible. We will never forget the kindness and generosity of the Malawian people and it also made us appreciate just how lucky we are.