So, What Happens After a Volunteer Trip Abroad?

At the end of a volunteer trip (also known as a Global Village Build), volunteers and the community part ways after a week of sweat, laughter, tears, hard work and connection.

As the new homes are handed to the families, the lasting impact of a home begins.

Just under a year ago, Touchstone volunteers returned from Salima, Malawi after building alongside two families in need of stable housing. Estina Banda and Regina Mtambalika have written letters to the volunteers, sharing about their lives since the hand over.

Estina Banda

Home owner Estina Banda with her new home in Malawi

“Dear Touchstone,

I would like to sincerely thank you for allowing us to experience a different life. Now I spend evenings sitting on the veranda with my children, planning our future like any other person in the community, with no worries at alll. My future and that of the children is bright and secure.

We now have mosquito nets which have reduced my children’s chance of catching the deadly disease – malaria. Smelly latrines that attracted flies are now a thing of the past as ours is ventilated. We have had less diarrhoea cases too. Air flows throughout the house. Cement floor, plastered walls and windows are things my children now see as standard.

My oldest no longer has to buy grass for roofing because our house has iron sheets. We can actually use the money to buy other needs for our family. For this, I thank you.”

Regina Mtambalika

Home owner, Regina and her family outside their home in Malawi

“The list of all good things from the new house is so long – and it keeps getting longer. I can now open my windows in the morning and let fresh air coming in. I can even mop my house. Our bedding remains dry and clean after it rains in the night, but this wasn’t always the case.

The mosquitos and other insects would breed inside our damp home and my youngest son would suffer the most. We now have insecticide treated nets and we have not been sick with Malaria since. The dust gave us coughs, and we had diahorrea from a pit-latrine that had no ventilation and was in a bad state. However, we have now received the greatest gift.

Our community even use our beautiful house as a landmark for directions!”

Touchstone continues to assist families to move out of crowded, unsanitary and unstable conditions in Salima through their funding of a 3 year OVC (Orphans and Vulnerable Children) project. Another team of volunteers from Touchstone will also set off for Salima in June 2017.Touchstone volunteers in Malawi

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