Mwaya Mondays- Vol. 7

Monday, 23 July 2012

Mwaya Mondays- Vol. 7, Monday 23 July, 2012

By RIPPLE Africa Volunteer Toby:

“There has been a lot of coming and going this week at Mwaya Beach. Aldenham School arrived at Lowani on Monday afternoon, Geoff and our VIP visitor Chris Schmidt sadly left early on Tuesday morning (but not before Geoff kindly gave us his last pack of bacon!), and then Georgia’s parents arrived on Friday.

Chris Schmidt is the current tutor to William Kamkwamba – who is the subject and co-author of the book “The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind.” The book is well worth a read, it covers William’s childhood and upbringing in rural Malawi and explains how he built a windmill to harness the wind with the eventual goal of creating electricity. Chris was great fun to be with, and he shared lots of fascinating stories about William’s background and his current life in the States.

Aldenham have had a busy week, brick making, slashing, peanut butter making, tree tending and on Thursday and Friday they were focused on the pre-schools, decorating walls and helping to build a new kitchen. They have done a really great job! The school looks fantastic, really bright, colourful and fun. There are definitely some budding artists in the group, and special credit has to go to Giles who painted the leopard and the giraffe. Jimmy (RIPPLE’s pre-school coordinator) was in attendance on Friday, and he was absolutely delighted with the newly decorated pre-school.

Georgia ran a ‘fun day’ at Mwaya Primary school this week. The aim was to reward the students with the highest marks in standards 5, 6 & 7. She came up with four different activities for the kids to get involved in including reading corner, some maths and biology games and then an arts and craft area. The kids absolutely loved it! 50 or so turned up even though it was holiday time, and they got really involved all of the activities. I think the arts and craft probably was the most popular area. All the kids left with their works of art and a couple of felt tip pens each. They all asked if the day could be repeated- one for the next lot of volunteers perhaps? It was a great success.

On Saturday evening, we spent the night down at Lowani and were treated to some great local dancers performing the Chilimika and the Malipenga, two traditional Malawian dances. A huge crowd gathered for the event, and everyone got involved. Charlie seemed to be a great hit on the dance floor, as he polished up his technique for the Malipenga! It was a really fun evening and I think Aldenham loved it.

There have been a few highlights this week – not least the arrival of Georgia’s parents, Jane and Paul. They have been extremely generous in what they have brought out with them, all the usual things like port and chocolate, but also some real treats like sausages and baked beans. They were devoured on Sunday morning in our traditional fry up– ‘dericious!’ We had a great evening on their first night, and we had invited Jaffet’s choir to sing for us up on the deck which was fantastic. We all got involved with the dancing, I think my attempts to teach the choir ‘the lawnmower’ dance were unsuccessful, but fun was had by all. We then tucked into chipatis, beans and guacamole, followed by stilton and port! Georgia is now busy trying to introduce Jane and Paul to everyone that she has met and made friends with whilst here at Mwaya Beach… an almost impossible task since there are so many people to see!

Probably the other highlight was a journey back form Chintheche in a matola (public transport by open top pick-up truck). I have wanted to do this ever since seeing them on the way up here from Lilongwe. Nothing quite prepares you for the squash– you certainly get quite intimate with the other passengers. How on earth some of the Malawians squeezed into non-existent spaces and still managed to hold on I have no idea, but somehow more and more seemed to get on board. I think we must been about 35 people at max capacity… complete with a couple of chickens and some fish!

The lowlight has to be the fact that I am leaving on Wednesday morning, as are Georgia and her parents. I’ll be really sad to say goodbye to Mwaya Beach and everyone here, it has been a really amazing experience. I guess I’ll just have to come back some time!”

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