After an emotional good-bye, I packed my bags and climbed aboard an overland truck. Two countries and two near death experiences later, (stampeding elephants and white-water rafting in the River Zambezi,) I’m now in South Africa enjoying my final week with my brother, Lungi his wife and my gorgeous niece, Nandi.
The teaching project was a great success, having taught the children how to retell and write stories using narrative language through the medium of stories from different cultures, the children then wrote their own play-scripts and performed in their own plays. All three plays from Standards 6, 7 and 8 were performed for the whole-school, then again on a stage built by Colin, a volunteer from the UK, at Butterfly Lodge. It was the best feeling ever to see the children I’ve worked with on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the last three months, grow so much in confidence, ability and self-esteem.
The new stage Colin and volunteers built at Butterfly Lodge.
Standard 6 – The Three Billy Goats Gruff.
Standard 7 – Cinderella (The Traditional Version) – the two ugly sisters.
Standard 8 – Faitherella (The Malawian Version) – Prince Mwale and Faitherella dancing at the ball.
Having worked with the teachers in class on a Tuesday and Thursday, I feel I have a much better understanding of the difficulties and challenges that face Malawian teachers on a daily basis, such as over-crowded classes and an extreme lack of resources. Through my demonstration lessons and team-teaching, I aimed to promote ‘Talk for Learning,’ which is essentially a free resource! I wanted to demonstrate that children need to be given the opportunity to practise their English in a classroom setting, through discussion and drama, and that this would help children improve their skills and knowledge. Even with the Malawian statutory requirements in the curriculum, the promotion of ‘Talk for Learning’ was successful, sustainable and beneficial.
The school building is two-thirds complete and is now in the final stages of construction. Before I left, Alice from Butterfly, became the new signatory of the school account and took on the role of helping the school complete the project with the money everyone has raised. Alice and Maya are also sending me pictures of the school as it continues to grow. Thank you!
On my last day in school the staff and children threw a leaving assembly for me, during the speech I received a bit of unexpected praise from one of the teacher’s. She stated that she’d watched me manage her class of 100 children with kindness and counselling, and that she’d learnt that caning children wasn’t necessary, phew! Following the speeches I received numerous gifts, after opening one gift of two large pieces of African material, I was then symbolically wrapped up like an African woman, I think that this was a good sign?! The children sang songs and gave a speech, I tried not to cry, but I did… I felt sad saying good-bye but I am certain I’ll be back!
So many people have made this project possible and have been so supportive throughout. Big Thanks to 🙂
Everybody who has continuously donated and fundraised towards the school block, without your support it couldn’t have been done xxxxxxxxxxxx
To all my friends who have supported by putting on fundraising events and who have gigged for the cause! Omph, Rumjig, Spafe, Lark Lane Drummers, Ashfunk, Buddha, Johnny One Move and DJ Rasp. and Big Thanks for all the people who helped running the events xxx
Stuart Hardcastle and Mike Smith from Beatlife for helping me make the initial contacts and fundraising.
Collette Denby and the school governor’s for allowing me the opportunity to carry out the project and for being so incredibly supportive and generous throughout.
Geoff Skelhorn for getting involved musically in the project, it was so much fun to work with you!
Nina Pulford for your help with the collaboration between the school and Tilinanu Orphanage, this made it so much easier to raise the necessary funds!
Alice and Josie at Butterfly Lodge for providing me with a lovely chalet right on the shores of Lake Malawi. Butterfly Space and all it has to offer is an amazing project, nice one guys!
All the children, staff and school committee at Chikale School for being so welcoming and fun to work with.
Alice for always being supportive, knowledgeable and kind throughout my teaching project. I really appreciate how you have continued to support the project after I have left.
Gary and Katherine for helping to organise the builders and for your trips to Mzuzu bringing back building materials.
Raj Chinnah for huge fundraising efforts in Texas.
Colin for building the stage just in time for the school performances.
My boyfriend, family and friends for being really supportive!