Information about your stay with the MVO
Throughout your stay in Malawi you will have the support and guidance of the Malawian project team. They will provide you with competent assistance and help you with any questions or advice you may need during your stay. The volunteer house staff will be on hand throughout the day and the project coordinator lives on site. Entertainment in the house is pretty much limited to what you can do for yourself, there are board games, cards and music. There is usually limited internet access however there is no Television available. The beach is at the back gate of the house; here you can swim, exercise, laze in the sun or meet with the locals - the kids on the beach are always happy to have a laugh, kick a football or listen to your stories.
Note: It is highly recommended that you arrange to visit at a time when other Volunteers will be on site or perhaps arrange to come with a group of friends or volunteers. Doing this will also reduce the cost of weekend activities as transport costs can be shared. It would also be a good idea to liaise with the other medical volunteers to devise a suitable timetable for your working week, to allow you time to each work in the specific areas of your choice during the programme.
OrientationOn your first full day in Monkey Bay you will be given an orientation by the project coordinator. The orientation will include:
- An introduction to Malawian culture and values
- Basic local language lessons
- Your health and safety whilst in Malawi
- Workplace ethics
- Money and transportation in Malawi
- An introduction to the area, the projects and the staff
- Information on places to visit in your free time
- An excursion to the local town
Accommodation and MealsYou will share stay in the comfortable volunteer house, which is within walking or cycling distance of the community clinics and a short drive from the community hospital. The house is situated right on the beach of Lake Malawi about 7km south of Monkey Bay Town, so you can sit and gaze out over the waters. The property is fenced and gated and has a large green garden.
Rooms in the house range from twin share to dormitory style and there is running water, a shower and western style toilets. Please be aware that whilst electricity and water are fairly reliable, power cuts and water shortages may be experienced from time to time. There are staff at the house, including a cook, house keeper (although volunteers are also expected to do their bit to keep the house clean and tidy) and night watchman for your security.
Three meals per day are provided. Breakfast is usually on a self-service basis, consisting of cereals and toast, although the cook may treat you occasionally. Lunch will either be a packed lunch, or self-service if you plan to return to the house at lunchtime. The cook will prepare the evening meal for you.
Note: There is a fridge at the house, which is used to store the food for your meals each day and some additional drinks, which you can purchase from the staff. If you do wish to buy some of your own food/snacks and drinks it is OK to do so, although you must be aware these items cannot be stored in the communal fridge.
Getting to Malawi & MVO HouseYou will need to arrange your flights to Lilongwe International Airport. Upon arrival you will have a meet and greet with one of the project representatives. You will then be transferred by road (approximately 3.5 hours) to the volunteer house just south of Monkey Bay, to settle into your accommodation and meet your fellow volunteers.
RatesWe appreciate that flights to Malawi are expensive and we greatly value your time and effort to come and volunteer with us. As such we have discounted the rates of accommodation and food as well as transport as much as possible:
- Meet and greet at Lilongwe International Airport and transport the 220 Km to Volunteer House – US$ 150 (shared between number of volunteers on trip)
- Accommodation – Double, Twin Sharing – US$ 15 person/night, Dorm sharing – US$ person/night
- Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner – you can budget for US$ 10 all-inclusive per day
- Project Transport – US$ 10 per day shared by number of volunteers
- Project Contribution – Minimum US$ 150. See Projects
- Orientation on arrival
- Full support and assistance from your coordinator throughout your time in Malawi
- A rewarding humanitarian experience and a head full of great memories
- All flights &/or other travel costs to and within Malawi
- Comprehensive travel insurance (cover for the duration of your stay is essential)
- Airport Transfers if arriving outside of the specified dates (US$150 per person, one way)
- Any extra nights of accommodation at the volunteer house are at the rate of US$15 person/night
- All items of a personal nature, such as curios, gifts, clothing (work and other)
- Email/Internet (very limited) and telephone calls
- Soft drinks, beer, wines and spirits
- Public transport to and from the community hospital when necessary (when project vehicle is not available or in for repairs etc.)
- Any excursions over and above your project itinerary in Malawi.
Free Time ActivitiesThere are a number of highlights that you may like to see in your free time at weekends, such as National Parks, or the Mulanje Massif. The project staff will be happy to help you to organise excursions while you are here. There is also a programme of weekend activities/safaris each month. Alternatively, you may wish to just relax by Lake Malawi. The nearby village of Cape Maclear has a number of small lodges offering great accommodation, fishing, snorkelling and scuba diving at reasonable rates for Volunteers. Take a look in our Picture Gallery (see the Menu Item) where you will find photos of trips other volunteers enjoyed.
Note: The costs of these Free Time weekend activities are not included in your project fee and will need to be paid for on site.
Think about Fundraising before you Travel
One of the things many volunteers wish they'd done before coming out to Malawi is raise a bit of extra money to spend out here, inevitably on helping people they make good friends with, or helping contribute to their own projects and ideas.
For example, last year, volunteers raised nearly £2000 to pay for a new Nursery School building. Some volunteers raised nearly £600 to help 15 young adults go to secondary school. Money was also raised for cycling safety initiatives - purchasing hundreds of reflectors to help keep people safe at night.
Your money will go a long way out here. It is not expected of you to bring extra money or to fundraise - your being here and your time as a volunteer are the most important things! However, feedback from other volunteers has been that they wish they thought about fundraising before arriving in Malawi, as there were so many things to which they would have liked to contribute.