RIPPLE Africa Volunteer Blog – No. 80

Friday, 10 October 2014

This blog is written by Caitlin Earey, a volunteer teacher

Hi everyone! I am writing this blog out on the decking of the stunning Mwaya Beach where I’m staying. The whole place is a hub of activity as everyone’s excited about two more education volunteers who will be joining us later today! – Phoebe and Gabrielle – and you will hear from them over the next couple of weeks.

So, as of yesterday, I’ve been here officially six weeks! It seems like I have been here a lot longer than that, and I’ve got to say I’ve had a pretty busy week! Every morning, I cycle to Kapanda Secondary School where across the week I teach seven 40-minute periods of maths to the Form 1 (14-15 years old) class. They are so eager to learn! It’s a pleasure to teach them but learning their names is very hard! It is my goal for next week. On occasion, I also observe the Form 4 (18-19 years old) class. They are very bright and quick with their maths and, looking at their syllabus, it was interesting to see that some topics they learn were topics I was taught in University! I am seriously impressed.

On Monday and Tuesday late morning, I go to Chiomba Primary School to teach Standard 6 and 7 two periods of maths. Here I have to go quite slowly as their English is not as strong but we seem to be making it work! They get the answers correct anyway. I also take a reading group for Standard 3 and 4 just before heading back to Mwaya for lunch.

My Standard 7 class

I spend Monday afternoons with the Mwaya Adult Literacy Group that Phoebe set up on a previous visit. Their reading is very good and their comprehension improves each week! On Tuesday afternoons, I play netball near Mwaya Primary School, although it was not on this week as, unfortunately, the sports teacher was away. I spend Wednesday and Friday afternoons back at Kapanda, but this time with the Open School students. These are students who either cannot afford to go to secondary school or did not manage to get the grades. The classes are much bigger and the pace slower than Day School as their English is not as strong. Some have already asked me to tutor them as well as all they want to do is pass their exams! So I’ve now got two tutor sessions running as well during the week. Thursday afternoons are a little different as I spend them going with Linda, the healthcare volunteer, to the Women’s Health group. This week, they learnt about the symptoms of conjunctivitis, and what to do if they or someone they know has it. We then spent the next half of the lesson doing some exercise! Linda started them off nice and gently this week with some yoga stretches on the beach, which I managed to get some lovely pictures of! The ladies seemed really keen, however, to do some more vigorous exercise! So running up and down the beach next week it is!

Women’s Health Group doing yoga!

While cycling and walking around, there are always friendly people about who are interested in what you do and are very grateful to have us here. The welcoming and the continued support we are getting is very touching. At the end of last week I was walking back to Mwaya Beach and had a lovely conversation with an old blind man. I mention him specifically because he ended our conversation in a beautiful way, and this is how I am going to end this blog:

“Go in peace, wherever you may walk and wherever you may sleep.”

The best view in Malawi – only a 15 minute cycle away!