Marmite in Malawi!

30 08 2008

I have ended up posting twice today so there is another new post below this one!

Wednesday 16th July

It was bread again for breakfast this morning and I had had all of a sudden got a bit bored of it, especially when it was quite dry!  So as I usually ate breakfast by myself I was able to succomb and finally remember that I had bought marmite for this very purpose.  So I sneaked into my room and dipped my bread into it!

Kids were even later today as it was so cold but it was a nice opportunity to talk to the kids that were there.  Was in tears of laughter, again, with Mme Gwengwe as I decided, against my better judgement, that it would be a good idea to teach the little ones the hokey cokey since I was doing the scottish dancing with older ones.  We went into a classroom and I was teaching it to her with kids staring in at us in disbelief!

Children ticking themselves off on the time sheet as they arrive

Children ticking themselves off on the time sheet as they arrive

I got the children doing some star jumps and running on the spot etc during assembly to keep them warm as although they did clapping and singing they really needed something to warm them up.

St1 boy arriving at school, I loved the jacket!

St1 boy arriving, I loved the jacket

So not only did I do some language/phonics work in St1 and 2 but I also took them outside to learn the hokey cokey.  I am not one for singing in public, I have never done karaoke, won’t even sing a tune for people to work out what it is and definately do not like leading hymn practices in school at home but anything for a bit of fun there!  There was no way the pupils could do the singing as they were too young so it was just my voice ringing out!  Some more work in St3 after that and the children tried really hard with sounding out the words to help learn how to read them, it is just unfortunate that I could not explain to them the meaning!

Women hard at work again while were doing the hokey cokey

Women hard at work again while were doing the hokey cokey

Really enjoyed being in St6 and 7 after break.  Again they were doing english and Mr Kalivute had really wanted me to come in and support/see what he was doing.  He took on board everything I had said yesterday that was relevant to the older ones.  They had a passage in english with one picture and it was about a boy who was an orpan and living with his grandparents.  He worked hard at school etc and became able to open a clinic in his village and help others.  Mr Kalivute asked the children to work out clues from the title and the picture first and then read the story to them which was a good start although I had suggested just reading bits at a time and going over each in turn.  He had also put some words on the board to begin with that they may not understand and went over them. They then read in pairs and were trying to help each other understand it.  I went round hearing them read and they could read it well but again not sure what they were actually understanding although Mr Kalivute did try to do a little explaining in Chichewa.  As I was going round the children asked me how to say some words and that was easy enough but they also asked the meanings of words and that was harder.  They were all struggling with the same ones too so I suggested to Mr Kalivute that he go over these in Chichewa so he put them on the board and went over them.  I explained to him that a lot of children in p.7 in Scotland would not understand these words in English so how could these children understand them! 

The passage was really quite hard to understand and even with all of this extra input when he asked the comprehension questions there were not many that knew the answers.  He did though do as I had also suggested and give clues or say in what paragraph the answer was.  I probably still sound quite negative and although I felt while I was in the class it was all a bit hopeless I think in retrospect that in a very short time I had made a difference and there was a huge amount of progress made by this teacher in a very, very short space of time.  With the words that were on the board we did hangman and spelling the words on each others back which caused great hilarity…..again!  I seemed to spend most of my time with St6 and 7 laughing.  I proved to be very bad at working out which word was being spelled on my back!

The children did not really play at break times

The children did not really play at break times

I also went into St 4 and 5.  Mr Kaunda was away again and it was very frustrating having sorted out the teacher in St2 for there now to basically be one needed again! 

I did a Scottish session with St4, 5, 6 and 7 when the others went home.  I brought out everything that I had brought as gifts so calendars, teatowels and the like plus a lot of posters for the school of Scottish animals, flowers etc, the photos that I had brought and the letters, complete with photos that the p.6 class at home had done.  I explained all the pictures etc first and then put them out on desks and the children just went round looking at everything.  They loved the photos I had brought and the letters the most. 

Very strereotypical teatowels!

Very strereotypical teatowels!

We then had a question and answer session with Mr Kalivute translating.  I got a lot of questions about what food we grew and things like that.  They could not believe I had to go to the supermarket for all of my food and that I did not have a garden as I live in a flat.  They took a bit to understand about how it works living in a flat as they thought I must have to go into other peoples houses to get up to mine.  They also asked some political questions and a little about school in Scotland.  When they asked my age I got them to guess and I had everything from 17 to 17 which I am not going to complain about!

enjoying the photos and letters

looking at posters etc

They then wanted me to ask them questions which was actually quite difficult on the spot but I thought of some and then asked them in the abstract what was something they thought would improve their school.  I expected the kind of answers you would get in Scotland but they said more teachers which I found very moving as they are obviously desperate to learn and quite aware of the whole teacher situation.

Very excited by the letters and photos

very excited by the letters and photos

I then asked them if there were any photos of Scotland they would like to see and I would send them but what Philipo actually asked was if they could keep the photos of me that I had brought which were half and half of me running or in front of Scottish scenery or with friends.  I thought that was really nice and immediately sorted out some for them and we arranged them nicely on the wall in one of the lockable classrooms.

the photos of me that I put up

the photos of me that I put up

We then went out for more dancing and I taught them Strip the Willow, which it took me about 10 years to learn and they managed it in one session!  And that was mostly without anyone translating but an absolute hoot again!

doubled over with laughter at the dancing

doubled over with laughter at the dancing

 

I was obviously pleased when they got it right

I was obviously pleased when they got it right

I went back out to the school grounds after lunch as World Vision were there which proved to be really interesting.  I was able to talk to the staff a lot as they spoke really good english.  Mr Kaunda was there working as was one of the teachers from Fumba Primary whom I knew.  They seemed to be updating sponsorship cards with family members, attendance at school, height, weight and shoe size.  The children were also getting their photos taken for their sponsors all of whom in this area were from South Korea. 

One of the St4 who hung out with me quite a lot with his sponsorship card

One of the St4 who hung out with me quite a lot with his sponsorship card

The sponsorhsip money was used in this area to build a teacher’s house in the village, support irrigation work and develop health.  So it was very sustainable and useful for the long term development of the village.  One of them told me a little bit about the last time there was a famine in Malawi, which was about 5 years ago and the atmosphere in the village must have been very different at that point.  He said there were many people who died daily in the village during the famine and there was often one burial in the same plot for them all.  It was hard to believe and difficult to deal with.  I asked if the people in the village had enough to eat at the moment as that was something I was worried about and he did say no not everyone would especially not at certain points in the year especially as the harvests had been bad last year with the rains coming at the wrong time. 

getting weighed

getting weighed

Mosquito nets were also supposed to be being given out but they did not arrive until very late but which time the vast majority of people had gone.  They came flooding back very quickly when they heard the vehicle coming though.  Nets are given out by the government to all under 5’s so these were for older children as part of the sponsorship programme.

St3 boy, another one who spent quite a bit of time with me, having collected his mosquito net

St3 boy, another one who spent quite a bit of time with me, having collected his mosquito net

I watched all of this all going on all afternoon with Patrick and a couple of others and they were trying so hard with their english.  They then took me off to the school as they were waiting for choir practice and when the choir master (if thats what you call them!) did not turn up they obviously decided to do it themselves and asked me to go in and sit among them while they practiced which was really nice.

a popular game

a popular game

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