The University of Rochester in New York, under the supervision of Joe Lanning, (a former Peace Corps Volunteer from Malawi), has been running Malawi Immersion Seminars now for the past 6 years. This program allows university students a chance to experience Malawi in a way that few people get a chance to do. They state their mission in the following way: “Immersion is the foundation for experiential learning. Our program takes students in and around the capital city, Lilongwe; to surrounding areas including the cultural museum at Mua Mission and Lake Malawi; to the village of Gowa for a homestay; to health centers and schools; to national parks for safari. Equipped with basic conversational skills in Chichewa and training in ethnographic research methodologies, students will be expected to interact with Malawians as well as share experiences with their fellow participants. Instruction will take place live, on location – whether it be in a bustling market, under the shade of fruit trees at a rural irrigation project, within the walls of a local health center, in the hut of a traditional healer, or at the village secondary school. This program promotes the exchange of experiences.”
We at Never Ending Food have been honored over the past 6 years to be one of the visits that this group is able to make. We generally have a full day to give an overview of Never Ending Food’s work in Malawi, take the group on a tour of our site, and lately (as can be seen in the picture above) take them to visit Luwayo Biswick’s village where Permaculture is now in full swing. This visit comes at the beginning of each group’s stay in Malawi and helps to give a foundation for the participant’s further observations regarding food security, health, medicine, and culture. We encourage the groups to recognize Malawi’s resources and challenge (in a culturally appropriate manner) some of the problems that they hear being expressed by those that they encounter along the way. We are told by the organizers that the visit to Never Ending Food is always one of the highlights of their visit to Malawi! We hope to be able to continue this cultural exchange as long as the program is running. See you again next year!