Globaleye Wealth Manager Craig Murrin shares his experience from a recent trip to Malawi, where he was involved in the Globaleye School Building Project.
From the minute we stepped off the plane at Blantyre international airport in Malawi, we were working! (Trying to fix the rear door on the Mitsubishi so our luggage wouldn’t fall out). We drove straight to the school to see the children and the status of our school building project. We arrived at the school late afternoon and all the children had waited for us to get there and they all came singing and dancing towards the 4×4. We saw that the foundation trenches had been dug out by the community over the previous weeks, and the bricks had been shaped, blasted and stacked in piles in preparation for the building work to come. We organized the women and the children into a rather impressive line (of at least 100 people) across the school yard, from the piles of bricks to the build site. From here the crew began to sing as we passed the bricks down the line towards the foundations, ready for us to lay them the next day.
We were up and on site early the next day, ready to greet the children before their classes began. Once the morning assembly had finished, we got stuck into the building work. We introduced ourselves to the builders, (made up of experienced builders as well as local labourers) as hired help for the week. The trenches were ready and cement had been hand mixed, jumping into the 8ft deep hole in the ground we started to lay the first bricks that would make up the foundations to the new building. Most days were similar, up early, on site, building until the sunset… Being in the middle rural Africa, electricity is not a benefit that they have, so we needed to make the most of the good weather and daylight. Every morning we were on site before 7am ready to work. This project is a community project and it was great for the children to see Globaleye staff getting stuck in and helping out.
There are a few bore holes located in the surrounding 4 villages, all of which require regular maintenance &/or repair. The community is educated regularly on how to do this so they are able to do it themselves. As we assisted in servicing the bore holes, we found that the rubber seals had worn away in a relatively short amount of time. Fortunately, the women were on hand willing to learn and help change them. This wasn’t the first time and I can assure you it won’t be the last. That said, teaching the community how to look for these problems and fix them is as much an important task as it is providing them with these resources.
We took some time to visit some other schools Alquity/Fishermans Rest were working with, to get a feel for the size of the building we were working on. In addition, we gained an insightful perspective of actually how far we had progressed since starting this project in 2012. So far, we have provided the money to build a kitchen to ensure all the children get at least one meal a day, as well as a strong bridge that can withstand the floods Malawi endures each year, meaning the children can cross the waters safely and continue to receive the education that is so desperately needed. Originally there were around 281 children attending the school, now there is almost 400! We hope to increase this number with the new library and classrooms that we’re building.