Madiera Dennison begins each morning with coffee, just as she did while double majoring in communication and in religion and culture at Virginia Tech. The difference is now the 2017 graduate awakens to life in Chitipa, Malawi, where she makes her coffee on a cookstove called an mbaula.

As a Peace Corps volunteer, Dennison teaches English at a community-run secondary school. She also facilitates clubs, outreach projects, and programs on topics such as HIV/AIDS prevention, malaria, and gender-based violence.

Every day she practices the Malawian languages and finds the community inspiring. “I'm incredibly proud of my students,” she says. “They work diligently to improve their English even though they have little to no electricity, limited resources, overcrowded classrooms, and few teachers.”

Written by Leslie King