“The Peace Corps sent me to Malawi in 2004. Stationed in the northern Mdolo Region, I was designated a health volunteer and assigned to work on the local health issues the community was facing. The greatest needs were for the hospital that had been completed six years prior: it wasn’t yet fully functional and, in this community of over 9000, was in desperate need of a maternity wing. These two projects became my focus, and when I was medically discharged from the Peace Corps in 2005 with these jobs unfinished, these unfulfilled promises nagged at me. Home in Seattle Washington, I was restless and couldn’t suppress my need to return to Mdolo and honor my personal commitment to the Mdolo community. I began raising funds and was able to return to Malawi the within a year’s time. Standing again in the village, working beside what I’ve grown to consider an extension of my closest family, I knew that whatever else happened in my life, my heart had fallen in love with Mdolo. I was committed in to the community in a way that words cannot describe. My actions, my efforts and my friendships are the best I can do to express this to you.”
With the support of his family and partnered with his loving wife, Kara, Paul Scoville started A Barefoot Mile Foundation in November 2011 with the sole focus of improving the lives of every individual within the Mdolo community. His friendship and efforts have earned him a place among the Chiefs of Chiefs, an honored role charged with planning, development, and community care. The community has gifted him land, and he is building a permanent house within the village he calls his second home.
Andrew Garde Joia
“I met Paul and Kara when we were both living in St. Croix, USVI. With my being new to the island, they offered me a warm welcome and we became good friends. When I mentioned that I spent time in Africa, our conversation quickly turned to their humanitarian efforts in the Mdolo region and all that they’ve been able to accomplish there. Their passion and genuine love for the Mdolo community is beyond inspiring, and I couldn’t help but get involved in any way I could. I believe in making the world a better place through making others happy. In my view, that’s what Paul and Kara were put on this planet to do. I’m just grateful that I can help.”
Andrew has been a consultant and friend of the A Barefoot Mile project since 2010, and has been on the Board of Directors since its founding in 2011. A Yale University alumnus, he is currently head of Operations and Design at Megan Kent Branding Group, a boutique brand consultancy located in NYC.
Co-Founder, Vice Chair
“Like so many others, I became involved in Malawi through Paul. I’ll never forget asking him, “Why this village? Why Malawi?” He looked at me and replied with a candor I have rarely seen in anyone else, “I don’t know how to stop going back.” In 2010, a year after meeting Paul and joining in his efforts, I was finally able to visit Mdolo Village. Now, I clearly understand what he meant that day: I too don’t know how to stop going back. Paul has been an endless source of inspiration to me, and through his love, I have fallen in love with Malawi. Together, now married, we joined forces and founded A Barefoot Mile in 2011 to create an organization through which we could focus the resources and efforts of those who want to help us make the world a little place by helping this amazing community thrive. This village drives me, inspires me, and makes me a better person.”
Kara Scoville has been directly involved in the Mdolo region community projects since 2009. She has been instrumental in establishing the village maternity ward, has assisted in the delivery of seven beautiful babies at Khuyukuyu, and remains intensely focused on the well being of the orphan population in Mdolo Village. A licensed nursing assistant, Kara has over a decade of experience in nursing homes and over five years of experience working at Salem Hospital in Oregon. She currently works at Schryver Medical as a professional phlebotomist.
“My name is Amin Nkhambule; I live in Mdolo Village, St. Kizito School, Enukweni, Mzimba, Malawi, Central Africa. I was born on 22 December 1977. My father is Timeson Nkhambule, and my mother is Kolina Nyasulu. My wife is Stafel Mkandawire. I have two children, Olifa and Paul Junior. Paul Scoville came to our hospital as a health volunteer in September 2004 with the Peace Corps. I worked with Paul to help and feed the malnourished children who came to our hospital and translate for the patients who came to us seeking medical attention. We also worked together at the primary school 200 meters away, providing notebooks, pens, and other school supplies. When Paul started the A Barefoot Mile Foundation, I became the foundation’s Project Coordinator. We have since built a library, repaired all 110 broken desks in our school, and brought school supplies to our community. We have plans to build the Secondary School, because now the nearest one is 10km away from the village, and many students are dropping out because it is too far to walk everyday.Together, we have already done so much, and as we continue to grow and develop, so does the brightness of our community’s future.”
Born and raised in Mdolo, Amin Nkhambule has been involved in the region’s community development efforts for countless years. He has been involved in the foundation’s efforts on the ground and in the United States since its founding in 2011. He holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Phwezi Rural Polytechnic, and prior to taking on his role with A Barefoot Mile, he worked at Raiply EPZ Malawi LTD as a General Fitter.