I was starting to get a little worried, the school had underestimated the amount of bricks we needed by 25,000. We never considered the additional cost of the two doors / doorframes and twelve window frames with security bars. The size of the building was much bigger than I expected and with so many other hidden costs, it became apparent that even with the additional donations from the Fundraisers and the World Challenge Group there wasn’t going to be enough money to finish the building. We estimated with the additional bricks, window-frames and cement, we would need another £1000 to complete the project. I was becoming concerned about finances and what could be done, and then I met Nina Pulford from Tilinanu Orphanage. Weirdly enough, I had coincidentally met her sister, Alice Pulford (who built Tilinanu orphanage in Malawi), in Liverpool at the first Malawi Fundraiser. I discussed my predicament with Nina, who then suggested I team up with Tilinanu Orphange (a registered charity) to help raise the rest of the funds. This meant I could set up a Just-Giving Page, which allows people to donate internationally.
I can not believe the amazing response! Within only one week the target of £1000 has been exceeded! I have been over-whelmed by friend’s, family and extended friend’s generosity and support. There is an enormous amount of appreciation here from me and from the school committee, the teachers and the children at Chikale School, thank–you! The wet season begins in three weeks and this is the deadline for the roof to go on the building, so we’re all set! The Headteacher has informed me that Nkhata Bay District Education Office are delighted with the progress of the new building and have promised the school an additional teacher in January! If anyone would like to donate who hasn’t yet, please do! Any extra money will be put towards getting electricity in the new school block, with the future vision that the school will have internet access. http://www.justgiving.com/Katie-Bushell
Teaching has been going brilliantly, I’m not so over-whelmed anymore by the hundreds of faces staring at me each lesson on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I even know quite a few of their names! Although, for some reason my name has been abbreviated to Miss Bush. Occasionally I even hear shouts of Mr Bush from the kids (am hoping that this is only because there is no difference between Mr and Miss in Chichewa!!) I’ve been really lucky to have a couple of volunteers to come and help me out on occasions in school. Jo, another girl from England, has a keen interest in HIV Education, so we’ve set about delivering a series of fun, interactive HIV/AIDs workshops tackling the difference between misinformation and facts that surround HIV/AIDs. There is a huge epidemic concerning HIV/AIDs in Malawi, it has taken the lives of so many people and left so many children orphaned. In Nkhata Bay, the last statistic of people tested showed that 1 in 5 were positive. A brave teacher at my school disclosed her positive status to me and she talks openly and factually to the children about her condition. She tells me that HIV transmission continues to be a major problem in Malawi as well as the misinformation that surrounds the disease. Some of the misinformation children shared with us:
- Witchcraft can give you HIV
- Only females can become infected with HIV
- If someone looks fit and healthy they are not infected
- You are safe from HIV if you are married
With little communication and no electricity in many places, it’s easy for people to become confused between the misinformation and the facts. The teacher’s loved having what they teach to the pupils confirmed, and the children had a clearer understanding of the facts surrounding HIV/AIDs. Still, there is just so much that needs to be done to stop the further transmission.
Geoff has also been coming into school, working with me on the story-telling project. He has been working with the kids helping them to write their own musical accompaniment for the plays they have written. There is a massive love of music here and it is played everywhere, and all the time. The kids eyes light up as soon as they here any music and they seem to have a natural ability to create the most complex rhythms, dance and sing beautifully. Ahhhh, I love my job!