To the end…..

21 09 2008

Saturday 26th July

Last day of work today; evaluation day with our head teachers.  We had all been a bit worried how we would fill the day talking with our heads but actually it was very structured and we did not feel we got enough time!

We had speeches first etc as it was also a bit of a farewell ceremony and we got up and did a song and poem.  We then split up into our 3 zones and evaluated and assessed our impact, then assessed the insets and in the afternoon put these into priorities for the school to work on.

Working hard

Working hard

I wrote earlier that I was not sure how much my school would carry on but was really pleasantly surprised to have my headteacher tell me today that he had organised a meeting with all of the teachers during the holidays to discuss how they would carry on the work I had started.

Kim and her head teacher

Kim and her head teacher

At the end of the day we did Strip the Willow with them outside and Auld Lang Syne and then they suggested some Malawi dances.

We thought that was done but we had one more meeting once the teachers left, although after quite a bit of moaning from us realised it was mostly logistical about what was happening the next few days!  I went out for a run with Ed afterwards (already having run with Robert that morning).  The full story is on my running blog but suffice to say I was panicking as Ed is a 2.26 marathon runner!!!!

Sharon and I spent Saturday night writing evaluation forms and diaries in our beds – we know how to live!  Actually we were saving ourselves for Lake Malawi!  We had to call the attendant twice more today for the toilet  as first thing in the morning it would not flush at all and then later it flooded again.  We were very glad to only have 2 more nights left there.

Sunday 27th July

‘Cultural day’ today and Ed, Sharon, Claire, Robert, Roger, Wilford and I all went up Dedza Mountain – actually you drive up most of it and walk along a ridge with the only climb being near the end but it was still good to be out doing some different exercise.  I did not really notice the altitude because of fitness and the running while in the village.  In fact I really wanted to run but was not really dressed for it!

We all met up for lunch at the pottery and then Emmanuel took us up with a guide to see some rock paintings which are now a UNESCO world heritage site.  That was a really bumpy ride and a much steeper walk up to them than the mountain had been this morning.

rock paintings

rock paintings

Had a real treat in bed that night as some nurses had been staying and had left real girlie (as in gossip!) magazines so I nabbed them when they left and we spent all night reading those.  I would never buy them but am not adverse to reading them if someone else buys them!

Monday 28th July

Made our way to Lake Malawi today stopping at Mua Mission on the way, which is one of the cultural highlights of Malawi.  One of the rooms there had a particularly interesting section on customs and rituals from birth to death and cleared up a lot of the things we had seen in the village but had not been to ask about.

views on the way

views on the way

We got to the lake about 5pm and Sharon and I shared a hut right on the beach.  After a quick explore of the pottery shop it was straight to the bar, where we were soon joined by most of the others.  We consumed some wine and all in all had a great night. I think we really needed the release after such hard work.  It ended up being party back at ours with Robert, Wilford and Emmanuel and my ipod with speakers.  The bar shut before we were ready for it too so Sharon and I ended up ruining our packing by pulling out all of the beers we had bought for gifts and sharing them round!  Bed about 2am!

our beach hut

our beach hut

Tuesday 29th July

Had planned on getting up to watch the sunrise over the lake – unsurprisingly this did not happen!  Had a totally lazy day, pretty much on the beach all day bar a little walk to the pottery later on for coffee and cake!  Even went in the lake for a swim!  Now I had sworn I was not going to do this as there is a nasty bug can get inside you, the condition is called Belharsia I think, and if it goes untreated can be very nasty.  I discovered though that I may have it from going through streams in my village and being in the water to wash my clothes so I thought I may as well just risk it!  Must go to the doctor’s soon for the test!

We had dinner outside tonight with a choir singing and dancing all night, so of course we did too.  They went on for hours and I was starting to feel really sorry for them as it must have been exhausting but came to the conclusion they were really enjoying it and we did collect a lot of money for them!  I got landed (not quite sure how) with doing a thank you speech for the link staff, so it was short and sweet!

Sharon and I ended up up late partying again, with Wilford and Emmanuel – this time we ran out of money and so Sharon dug into her bag again and brought out half bottles of gin she had bought as gifts and we mixed them with sprite – highly recommended!  3am bed tonight – and this is from the girl who barely drinks a glass of wine a month at home sometimes and while marathon training I will quite happily go without anything for months at a time!  I am also not worth a button after 10pm at night usually! It was a great finish to the trip though.

Wednesday 30th July

Even got up for the sunrise today at 5.40am!  We left at 8.40am to go to the airport and it was a really weird feeling knowing we were leaving!  I didn’t like it at all and barely said a word for the 2.5 hours we were on the bus!

sunrise over the lake

sunrise over the lake

Four flights to get home – Lilongwe to Zambia which was really busy and then same plane to Addis Abbaba where I got 3 seats to myself – bonus!  It was a bizarre flight though as first the family behind me were virtually causing air rage over not getting the food the wanted, then one of them couldn’t breathe or something and so they called for a nurse or doctor among the passengers (she was absolutely fine) and the guy beside Shiraz had flown from India to Addis Ababa, somehow was directed back on the plane (he was supposed to get off there and did not speak much english) and then flew from Addis to Lilongwe to Zambia to Addis again.  Poor guy was utterly confused!

Could not land for a while because of fog (!) and they were obviously totally unprepared for this as we could not get off for ages when we landed till they organised things.  Had loads of time for food etc there and Sharon and I saw the Zimbabwe Olympic team heading off for Bejing including Kirsty Coventry who had a great games and makes for a really interesting story.

Had hours in Heathrow but it was great to get a nice latte!  I happened to say to Jill that I thought I had coped really well with the flights on the way home and stated that that might have had something to do with taking my beta blockers with gin at the lake!

I felt pretty shell shocked that it was all over and really did not want to be home.  It was quite emotional saying bye to everyone especially Jill and Sharon.  Of course the first thing I did when I got home (after going to Braehead to see my brother and have another latte!) was look at all my photos and video clips on the computer!

So after almost 2 months and 31,602 words I have finally finished writing my story.  Now I might actually be able to write about my new job, glow, international education etc!

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