“I had a wonderful time on my volunteer placement in Malawi with Phunzira, and am really grateful to everyone I met along the way who made my experience so fantastic! I spent four weeks over summer 2016 in Ruarwe clinic on my elective placement as part of a children’s nursing degree.
Ruarwe is a small fishing village nestled on the western shore of Lake Malawi, on a sandy beach backed by steeply rising wooded hills. It is an incredibly beautiful place, from the tiny brightly-coloured fish that accompany snorkelling in the clear water to the dramatic sunsets that spread across whole sky, fading to cool starry nights. During our time in Ruarwe we stayed in a great little eco-lodge, and were well-looked after by lovely staff and delicious (and generously portioned!) vegetarian meals. Our stay there was comfortable, and I very much appreciated the eclectic library of books and sun-warmed rocks on which to read in the afternoons after clinic.
At the clinic I had the opportunity to work with committed staff who were always happy to help me to learn. I developed an understanding of common presenting conditions and how to manage them. I also gained confidence in clinical skills such as giving injections, taking manual blood pressures, wound dressing and dispensing medication, as well as observing and participating in the care that formed daily life at the clinic. I was continually impressed by the care I witnessed, even in an environment of scant resources. It was a wonderful experience which did not only broaden the scope of my education and understanding in a culture and environment different to my own, but showed me the values which should be at the heart of our practice and inspired me to reflect upon the type of nurse which I want to become.”