My name is Kimberly Gregory and I am 22 years old. I am currently doing my Bachelor in Kindergarten and Elementary Education at McGill University. I have lived on the south shore of Montreal all my life, in a small town called St-Lambert. I come from a family of 5, which includes my mother, father, sister, brother and myself. My family means the world to me. I do not know what I would do without them. They have given me the love, strength and courage that I believe one needs in order to want to embark on a journey like this.
I was a high level gymnast for 13 years. At the age of 15, I was on track for the 2008 Olympics. My early retirement due to an injury, has led me to become a cheerleader for McGill University, which is a sport that I have become very passionate about. Engaging in these sports has taught me that with hard work you can accomplish anything; a quality that I think will helpful during this journey in Malawi.
In 2008, I was fortunate enough to travel to South Africa as well as, Zimbabwe. It was the most memorable voyage of my life. The natural beauty and wildlife that surrounds this part of the world is breathtaking. On the other hand, the extreme poverty that entrenches some of the areas I visited made my voyage very eye opening. I knew that extreme poverty like this existed however, I never realized the scale of the problem before seeing it first hand. Since then, I have always wanted to participate in a humanitarian aid endeavor. Thus, when I heard about Praxis Malawi I jumped on the opportunity right away.
During my journey in Malawi, my main expectation is to learn. I expect to learn from the experience itself, as this will be my first time living and working with people whose way of life is so drastically different from my own. More specifically, I expect there to be a constant exchange of knowledge and ideas between my colleagues, the Malawian people and myself. I believe this exchange will give me a deeper understanding of the Malawian culture. I also expect that this dialogue will bring me new knowledge that I will later be able to use in my own classroom. Lastly, I expect to see life from a new and perhaps clearer lens when I come back from this journey.
My name is Lia Grant and I am a second-year Education student at McGill University. My experience previous to working towards becoming a teacher was in acting. From the age of 16, I studied Professional Theatre Acting at John Abbott College because I was so deeply in love with the theatre and its possibilities. Those three years of learning were momentous in pushing me to find myself as an individual, as I was always expected to keep trying new things and constantly asked to break down my own barriers. After this time, I decided to venture into teaching because I wanted to work with children; hopefully helping to inspire that same love of learning I was able to find in myself.
With this all in mind, my goals in Malawi are twofold: to work in developing rich curriculum for children in the Malawian community for the school that is in the process of being built; and, to work towards a theatre-based performance-piece with some of the children in the community.
Though it certainly seems at times a terribly daunting journey to be heading upon – not knowing exactly what to expect – I am truly thrilled to be a part of Praxis Malawi this year. I recently came across this quotation by Martin Luther King, Jr.:“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase”. I think that this statement describes how I feel about Praxis Malawi: I don’t yet quite know what to expect of the time ahead, but I know I am on my way to an incredible experience – during which I will surely grow both as a teacher and as a person.