Mwaya Mondays – Vol. 59

This week’s Mwaya Mondays entry is written by longterm RIPPLE Africa supporter Marilyn Goudge, who is currently visiting Mwaya Beach:

Saturday

A day off, so Charlie took eight of us up to the road block in Tom. We said our fond farewells to Jim and Judy (special visitors) who were travelling south. Anna and Emma did a great job of pushing their minibus back onto the road and then went off to Chintheche to support the Kapanda Secondary School’s sports’ teams. Esther, (the manager at Lowani) Gift , little Esther and I went to Nkhata Bay to buy new plastic cups for a Pre-school and have chicken and chips for lunch. We couldn’t find any cups but the meal was good. Our brilliant minibus driver rang us when he was ready to leave and picked us up from Peoples supermarket with all the shopping. Watched an enthusiastic and energetic game of girls’ volleyball at Mwaya on the way back.

Sunday

Attended the Baptist church and took some books to the Pastor which he was delighted with.
We have an infestation of hairy caterpillars in the toilet block; we inspect the seat closely before sitting down.

Monday

Left for Kapanda Secondary School at 6:40am in plenty of time for Assembly. This is my third visit to RIPPLE Africa and the school is very welcoming. The school has made great strides since I started coming and I thoroughly enjoy team teaching with the Mathematics teachers. Currently we are grappling with angles and quadratic equations. The children are appreciative and we can cover so much more in each lesson when there are two teachers in the classroom.

Tuesday

Chatted to Catherine (Environmental Projects Manager South) on the way up to Kapanda. She is working as hard as ever and providing us with delicious bananas from her garden. I had a productive day team teaching with several teachers AND managed to coax four more calculators to work. We had a volunteers’ meeting on the deck in the afternoon with two additional members – mother monkey and baby listening intently from the tree.
Our new vegetable garden is growing well behind chalet 1; it won’t be long before we’ll be eating our own tomatoes, aubergines and courgettes.

Wednesday

Another early start cycling to Kapanda. As there were no Mathematics lessons during the first period I visited Woodson’s wife Pasca and their adorable baby Faith and had a chat. When I got back at 8:00am the prospective Science teacher had arrived to meet Geoff and Liz and several members of the RIPPLE Africa team. I was ushered into the Headmaster’s office to meet him and left there. So Samuel and I got to know each other quite well by the time they arrived at 10:00am. We are all delighted that he has accepted the job. I’m sure he will be a great asset to the school as he has a degree in Physical Sciences, he is a marker for the MSCE exam (taken in Form 4 at the end of their time at school) and he is a facilitator for improving Mathematics in schools in Malawi. He will be taking up his new post this month and move into the new teacher’s house with his wife and four children.

Thursday

I cycled up to Mwaya primary school in time for lessons starting at 7:00am but lessons were starting a bit late because the children were moving bricks from the kiln to the new classroom block which is badly needed. It is about six feet high so far and the builders are working hard to get it finished before the rains come. There are 1,200 children in eight classes. Some of the classes do not have a brick classroom which is not too bad in the dry season but in the wet season they must get very wet indeed.
I observed and assisted in lessons during the morning and we are setting up a staff meeting this month so that we can brain storm some of the issues of classroom management. I admire the dedication and hard work of the teachers in the school especially with such large classes and they have poor resources, no electricity or even printing facilities.
I swam with two resident giant kingfishers hovering overhead – magic.
Had a meeting in the office in the afternoon.

Friday

Plans changed, I was going to help out at Pre-school but instead I wrote the blog. Made plans with Emma to have a meeting tomorrow at 8:00am to help some teachers with their Mathematics. The idea is that even when we are long gone the group will continue to meet and support each other. Cycled up to Mwaya Primary School to help the Headteacher. All the children in Standard 8 are about to take important exams. If they are successful, they can go on to Secondary school. They are having extra lessons in the afternoon and I supported an hour of Science.
We finished the week off with a lively visit from the choir at Lowani and a meal with the eight visitors staying there.
We have three amazing cooks (Geddess, Martha and Fabiana) who look after us well and provide delicious meals every evening. Fabiana, is not only a great cook but he is also providing us with an endless supply of delicious tomatoes from his garden.

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