RIPPLE Africa Volunteer Blog – No. 83

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

This blog is written by volunteer Becky Haigh

Hello from Mwaya!

I have been here for around two weeks now and am finding it surprisingly easy to adjust to the afternoon swims in the lake and the wonderful people here, though cycling in the sand is proving to be a bit more of a challenge! At the moment, it is just Sue (Ama Suzie) and myself here as volunteers so, along with my time exploring and learning more about the pre-schools, I have been helping her with some of her extra classes, and helping with the Adult Literacy classes on Tuesdays. Everyone is very determined and eager to learn, which makes the classes productive and great fun!

I have also been shown around some of the projects. Dan is incredibly knowledgeable (and patient!) when teaching me about the different plants at the tree nursery, and Charles has helped me negotiate the sandy tracks to visit each of the pre-schools where I have been meeting the children and the wonderful people who take care of them.

Sue in the tree nursery

On the weekends, we have been shown around the countryside by Faston, a local artist, and we have been on long walks to pick mushrooms, visit other villages, and cook food with his family. Last Sunday, we were very fortunate to be taken to a dance in Chiomba by Arnold (the day watchman and all-round man-in-the-know) to celebrate the harvest. This was the women’s dance, so local girls and women from each village each did a dance to chanting, drums and whistles. It was amazing to watch and was an incredible local custom to see.