5 things Tim discovered in Malawi

530 300 The Hunger Project Australia

This is not the usual blog post you see here on The Hunger Project Australia’s website. I’m writing to share with you what I learned in the village classroom in Malawi when I travelled there on a THP leadership immersion program. 

My name is Tim Allen, and I went into the experience thinking, “What could I possibly learn from people living in dusty, remote villages in Malawi? What could I get from this experience that would really make a difference to my son, my workplace and my community?”

That said, I was also excited to explore a new country and connect with new people. I was hoping I could experience moments that I could share with my family and friends, and get a better understanding of the world that we live in.

What I experienced was this and so much more than I could ever have imagined.

I discovered:

1. To be comfortable with the unknown

Going into the program, I was anxious and uncertain about what would unfold. I had some fears about what I’d see and do – I simply didn’t know what to expect. But when I arrived, the warmth and openness from the people of Malawi put me at ease.

2. How to be resilient in the face of uncertainty  

I met people living in chronic hunger and I saw that, with resilience and vision, people could be empowered to lift themselves out of hunger. I arrived back in Australia at time of significant change and disruption in my life. Drawing on the resilience of people I met in Malawi, I knew that whatever was thrown at me I could embrace.

3. The importance of being present in every moment  

In Malawi, I discovered the genuine benefits of having a beginner’s mindset and the power of being present in every interaction. Now, with my one year old son, I focus on staying ‘in the moment’ and being intentional when we are playing. This has enabled me to better understand his personality and development. As a result I think I’m becoming a better dad. I’ve carried these learnings over to my work life and relationships with colleagues too.

4. What it means to be a global citizen 

I want to be accountable to the people I met in Malawi. The most impactful and frankly easiest thing I can do is to invest monthly, which I’m able to do through workplace giving. It allows me to give small amounts often. I believe that investing in others is a way for that we can improve our collective wellbeing – irrespective of the place you call home.

5. That every conversation is an opportunity for growth 

I witnessed THP Malawi Country Director Rowlands Kaotcha expertly turn each conversation into a moment to shift an individual’s mindset and create opportunities for personal growth. Now, I’m taking this opportunity to ask you – what could be possible for you? The Hunger Project’s next leadership immersion program called Unlock is going to Malawi in November, and I can honestly say you won’t regret going on it! Go and do it, and you’ll learn how to be a better partner, a better colleague, a better friend and a better you.