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Dressed in their respective school uniforms, some of our scholarship girls took their seats in a 30 seat-coaster bus destined for Lilongwe, the Capital city of Malawi. On arrival at Bunda College, our first destination, it was not strange seeing most of our girls admiring everything on the campus as most of them have never been to such places! They had more questions than answers.
Looking strange and out of place, the girls started organizing themselves for they knew they are here not only to admire but also to learn and become scholars at the university in the future. After listening to inspiring and motivating welcoming remarks by Mrs. Liviness Banda, an Animal Scientist and Senior lecturer at the College, Charity Bazale from Khola Secondary School said: “I have liked the path she went through. She never grew up in town but here she is, on her way to getting a PhD. This is so encouraging and above all she has told us that we are lucky that we have visited the university - an opportunity she never had!” As a form 4 student, Charity vows to utilize the remaining time in school to study hard and make it to one of the universities.
In her words of encouragement, Mrs. Banda told the attentive students that it is all about decision making and utilizing the opportunity given if they want to excel in life. She did not hide that one has to do better in English, Mathematics, Physical Science and Biology among some of the core subjects if one dreams to be at Bunda College.
Excited and feeling relaxed, the girls finished asking questions and then Mrs. Tembo, another Senior Lecturer in Environment, treated them with a tour of the Bunda Campus. They were taken to different Laboratories, classrooms and offices at the campus.
After spending three hours at Bunda College the girls left for their final destination – Kamuzu College of Nursing.
It was not surprising when I saw grins on almost all the girls because I knew this was the dream college for many and to be here it must be really exciting! A lady Lecturer welcomed the excited group of girls who also inspired them with her educational background and encouraged them to work hard in science subjects if they want to be like her. Silently seated in the lecture room, the girls keenly and attentively listened to a young and humble Mrs. Tionge Mnkhondya, a senior lecturer in the Medical and Surgical Department at Kamuzu College of Nursing (KCN). She also told them that unlike students from other colleges within the University of Malawi where upon completion of their courses they have to apply for jobs, students from KCN are automatically allocated their places of work soon after graduating.
“It has been a beautiful and glorious experience for me. I am curious with the buildings, the young students and female teachers at both Colleges,” said one of our scholarship students, Jennifer Godfrey.
The trip which had a total of 30 students comprised of five students identified from each chosen school. Apart from learning by viewing, the girls also met different kinds of people who were mentors and role models. KCN and Bunda are among the four constituents of the University of Malawi where more than 15,000 qualifying students have to compete for a vacant place of less than 2,500 students available. The government of Malawi also runs the University of Mzuzu which also offers Nursing, Engineering, and Communication among other courses.
With their horizons extended, challenged but inspired, the girls started their journey back to their respective secondary schools with a common saying “we will try with God’s help and without a surprise, one of us will enter one of the gates of the Malawi Universities”. We are just as excited as the girls for that day to come!