15/09/2017 3:30:00 p.m.
Jess Hill and Pippa Huddlestone are part of a group of students who made the trip. Now, back in New Zealand they are making cheese rolls to fundraise to pay for a teacher at the school, which is now run by a volunteer who walks many miles every day to supervise it.
The school is catering for up to 180 children.
The trip was an eye opening experience for the pair and they were surprised at the impact it had on them.
They are part of the Future Leaders scholarship group at Lincoln, which is tasked with assisting the community as part of the programme.
“We saw it as just a project at first,” they said.
However, both see it as more now, a commitment they want to continue.
“We want to show people do come back,” Jess said, referring to how many well-intentioned aid agencies and groups had not stayed for the long-term, leading to some cynicism among the locals.
For Bachelor of Agriculture student Jess it could involve setting up small family dairy herds.
Both are graduating at the end of the year, and will be looking for work but trips to Africa are on the agenda.
Also on their agenda is to find a way to continue the support for the pre-school, such as long-term sponsorship.
Pippa said Malawi was the poorest country in the world, but the people were welcoming.
Jess said they were called “The Lincoln Students” there, and people seemed surprised at the hands on approach the students had.
They left with the thought that there was a lot to do.
“But how do we do it?” Jess said.
It had left them frustrated but determined to find a way.
With exams coming up it may be time to concentrate on grades but their minds might be wandering to a small pre-school thousands of miles away.