Upon arrival we were greeted with a big welcome ceremony, where we had the great privilege of performing the “cup song”, which (unsurprisingly) was very funny! At least 1000 people turned up to welcome us and we felt very spoilt! There were traditional dancers dressed in impressive and quite terrifying costumes, including the chicken man, which set us foreigners up for a restless night! The school children did some wonderful dancing and singing and some other villagers performed a colourful play.
Towards the end, we were formally introduced to the smiling school kids, where two
of the volunteers, Rachael and Lucy, had the
opportunity to hand over their gifts from back home to them, inviting even bigger smiles.
The next day we got stuck into our first week’s work, which included making breeze blocks, shifting bricks back and
forth and lots of plastering – no small task! Butworking is loads of fun with Joffat, the builder, because he is such a funny guy!
We also attended a Nutrition Awareness program, where we got to brush up on our dancing skills when we got stuck into the traditional Mganda dance with the locals. Some way to go, but not a bad effort!
Later in the week we organised activities for the kids for three afternoon, which was a great opportunity to break the ice get to know some of the awesome kids.
Friday was a big day as the school children had their graduation ceremony. It was really special to their faces light up, all proud and happy to get their results.
At the weekend we embarked on a hike up Mount Mulanje. It was a tough climb up, but the astounding views and great sense of achievement made it very much worth it!
So after the fun trip, despite being tired and a bit sore, we pressed on with our second week’s work, making excellent progress.
The Chilaweni Primary School lacks many resources, so we decided to convert the outdoor wall of one classroom building into a world map. We’ve started to paint the wall and local artist will join us next week to put the finishing touches to it.
We are getting to know the kids better with every day that passes. The new school term won´t start until September, so they come to our house in the afternoons after we finish work to play with us. We organized another game afternoon on Wednesday.
Sadly, it is already our hard-working and fun-loving volunteer, Paco´s, last week, so we went to Blantyre for the weekend to enjoy a farewell dinner & drinks with the team. He will be missed. Watch the space for more update on Malawi Summer Project 2015!