Mwaya Mondays- Vol. 25

Monday, 26 November 2012

Mwaya Mondays- Vol. 25, Monday 26 November, 2012

“It’s been another wonderful week in Malawi. Lots of progress with the various projects, a trip to Mzuzu, a truly magnificent thunderstorm mid week…and a few tearful goodbyes at Mwaya Beach as well! Joan finished up her three months teaching to go on safari in Zambia and Liz and Marilyn also left at the weekend after five weeks of hard work.

The adult learners in the literacy classes continue to blossom under volunteer Phoebe’s expert guidance. This week the learners were delighted and very proud to see in print “Mangoes,” a book of short stories each student has contributed to, which Phoebe produced. It is really wonderful to see adults who have never previously been able to read or write happily and actively participate throughout the lessons. Each class runs twice weekly, both in Mwaya and Mazembe villages. Phoebe has trained one teacher and one assistant at each who will continue the classes until her return next year again. In addition to these classes, Phoebe and the teachers meet weekly for their own training; they discuss and develop lots of different methods and materials to use in promoting adult literacy.

A very productive meeting was had with Jimmy, RIPPLE Africa’s pre-school coordinator, and some of the volunteers in order to plan a pre-school teacher training day which 24 pre-school teachers from all 8 RIPPLE pre-schools will attend. The session has been planned to be as interactive as possible and will focus on the teachers sharing ideas about how to use existing resources in different ways in order that the children benefit as much as possible from their time at pre-school. This teacher training will be held regularly in order that the teachers learn from each other on an ongoing basis and continue to develop their skillset. Jimmy, as ever, is very excited and full of enthusiasm for the day to arrive!

Monika and Linsey, our healthcare volunteer duo, continue working hard on the disabilities project and at Kachere clinic and Mwaya dispensary. This week at the dispensary there was a day devoted to family planning. A visiting organisation came to run an education campaign in the local communities over the preceding 3 days followed by a full day for access to the various family planning methods not usually available. These include the 5 year contraceptive implant as well as tubal ligation for those whose families which are now complete. Speaking to the women there, they were all eager to make informed decisions about their reproductive health and planning for the future.

Volunteers Ashley and Marilyn tackled the long awaited task of clearing out Maurice, the standard 1 teacher’s room. This had not been done for some time however after a few hours hard work all were very happy with the results and the classroom is now spick and span once more.

Exciting news in the building projects! The foundations for both new teachers’ houses at Kapanda are now completed. Having enough houses for all the teachers at a secondary school is hugely important, particularly in the rural areas, in order to retain good teachers who will stay at a school for the longer term.

As the rainy season approaches, Marilyn took advantage of the visa renewal trip to Mzuzu to purchase some beautiful umbrellas for some of the RIPPLE Africa staff to keep them dry when getting about in the rains! There was also much haggling in the market to buy lots of gorgeous chitenges which Patrick the tailor has been commissioned to start making into bags, ties, aprons and more for the ten year celebration next year.

As it was Thanksgiving on Thursday, volunteer Grace cooked a delicious Thanksgiving feast for everyone. Two chickens were procured on the visit to Mzuzu and enjoyed with all the trimmings American style. It was the first Thanksgiving celebration for most and thoroughly enjoyed down on the beach under the moon and stars. Thankfully this was all finished before the thunderstorm! With everyone safely tucked up in bed there was a couple of hours of spectacular thunder and lightening along with heavy rainfall. It was the first proper Malawian thunderstorm for some of us and we were all quite amazed at how stunning it was!”

Don’t forget to check back next week for the next instalment of Mwaya Mondays!