Hope you are missing us all and that these blogs about our daily antics are keeping you sane and highly entertained. So today we had our first day with full classes, we were all very apprehensive about what was to come. We had a bright and early start, with the early walkers (slower, but more experienced walkers which included us!!) setting off at 7:30. Our favourite place to have a break is under the ‘Shady Tree’ half way up the, what seems like, mountain. We also beat Paige!! She has become the walking champion and is always determined to get to the top of the mountain first. Alice at Butterfly has now resorted to calling it a mountain; she is very lovely and takes our bags up everyday in the Jeep giving locals a lift on the way.
We arrived (a bit hot and sweaty) and were greeted by a sea of gleaming children, smiling, shaking our hands and wanting to learn. After the initial confusion and swapping of kids/classrooms we finally settled in to our first session with the infants, ages ranging from 4-8. These proved quite difficult, as the students had limited English although the translators were a MASSIVE help. Most of us broke the ice with a variety of games, favourites including Simon says and Duck Duck goose (they all said duck in a perfect Nottingham accent which was hilarious, “Dook”). The students also got extremely excited about the resources, with some of them not understanding the concept of sharing and trying to collect as many pencils as they could in their hands, however, we soon got them to share.
At 10:30 we all had a half an hour break, when we prepared for the next session with the older classes. We take refuge in our ‘resources room’ at these times, it has no windows so it’s dark and cool, it’s perfect, and the children surround the door eager to see what we’re planning next.
At 11:00 we all commenced our Junior teaching, with ages from 9-17. The older students, in Harriet’s class, were often older than Harriet, Meg and Harry. This proved slightly difficult, as it was shocking to compare lifestyles and to have to teach them when they already seem so mature. However, they greatly appreciated the shiny new resources, especially pencil sharpeners, and our presence, attention and time.
Lunchtime, we had a traditional (and certainly very interesting) Malawian dish, boiled potatoes covered in an unidentifiable groundnut sauce (Kyle loved it). It was served with Papaya (Harriet’s new fave, Anna is less convinced), greens and soya mince.
The afternoon involved 2 activities, volleyball and loom band bracelet making. Loom band bracelet making were very successful and each of us were demonstrating how to make them, surrounded by at least 10 kids each. After a short hour doing this, we headed home, Jim pacing it at the front in order to get back in time for his evening beachside massage, only 2000 Kwacha for 20 minutes, bargain!
Later in the evening we celebrated Helen’s birthday Malawian style, with a local musician coming from Nkhata Bay. He was playing an instrument he made himself, that resembled a bass guitar, but with one string and a beer bottle to change the tune. Whilst watching this, we had dinner on the deck, a choice of vegetarian burgers and fresh butterfish and chips. Alice’s daughter, a new favourite amongst the team, had several fish heads, claiming the eyes tasted like berries!
So now we are sat here, most people have gone to bed except Harriet, Anna, Kez and Ror (Ror bought us a round of sprite, cheers babe). Kez is doing magic tricks (surprise surprise).
Missing you all, but having the time of our lives.
Loads of love,
Harriet and Anna (and the rest of the team) xxx
PS from Helen - the team LOVE receiving comments on the blog - please keep posting them. And if you haven't posted one yet, it'd be great to hear from you