Firstly I would like to apologize for being so bad at keeping up with blogging. I have no other excuse than laziness - It takes a very long time to write on the computers at the internet café.
Secondly and most importantly I want to say an enormous thank you to everyone who donated money to Nkhotakota Primary School where I am volunteering. I was originally going to spend the money on English books for my standard 6 class, however a few days before I was meant to buy them the government finally issued the books to the school, and so I no longer needed to buy them.
The government also supplied the school with desks for the Standard 7 classrooms (previously they all sat on the floor). The children concentrated more and generally behaved a lot better when they had these desks.. Mainly because it was more difficult for them to chase each other with brooms and fight when the desks were in the way! Therefore I decided to spend the money that had been fundraised on desks for another class.
The money fundraised by Hollinshead Street Church and by the children at Abby Village Primary School bought 60 desks for the children here. Jess also donated money and so we have bought 140 desks in total - enough for 2 classes.
All of the teachers and the learners are extremely grateful.
On Wednesday, a big ceremony was held at the school to thank the government for a new building and a new teachers house which they had built, and also to thank us for the desks. This celebration began with a meeting that the former vice president of Malawi, now an MP in Malawi, teachers and village chiefs attended. Myself and Jess had to say a speech explaining who the money had come from, how many desks were bought and how much they cost, which was translated into Chichewa by the head teacher, Mr. Bright. The MP was very thankful for the desks - The government had funded a new building but they had not paid for the desks to go inside it. In his speech he asked me to send his deepest and sincere thanks to everybody who had contributed money. He said that it is greatly appreciated.
After this meeting the learners were supposed to do performances they had prepared, however the MP had turned up 5 hours later than expected (typical Malawian time) and so there was not time to see the performances. We did see a rehearsal of them earlier though, which was good. We saw lots of dancing and singing (they had written the songs themselves and the lyrics were all saying thank you for the desks in Chichewa) and also I discovered that there are actually Girl Guides and Scouts here. Nobody had ever mentioned them before and the people I had asked had no idea what I was talking about, but there was a performance in which a group of children began singing "I am a girl guide!" and "Be prepared, that is our motto!" Some of the children also performed acrobatics, and one of the blind children read a poem thanking us for the desks using braille. This was followed by the head teacher and MP doing a presentation of the giving of the desks, new building and teachers' house. Our giving of the desks also persuaded the MP to give money for another 100 desks!
Everybody here, especially the head teacher, is incredibly grateful and they send many thanks to people who contributed money.
I am sorry for not blogging in so long - just to let you know the past few months have been great. I have continued teaching English and Math to Standard 6 and 7, which has been good but also difficult! We have now finished teaching as it is exam time at the school so we haven't got a lot to do, but my parents and sister are coming to Malawi on Sunday, which I am excited about!
The school term ends next week and I will be leaving the school, which is going to be really sad. Myself and Jess are then going to spend a week travelling with the other volunteers in Malawi, and then spend a week in Cape Town before returning to London in the early hours of the 30th July - so not long left now! I am going to miss Malawi and the friends and children I have met here too much (very Malawian phrase) but I am also very excited to see everyone back home again… And I am also pretty excited to have a hot shower every day, to eat cheese and meat, to have a kettle , and to never have to use a hole in the ground toilet again.
One again, thank you very much to everyone who donated money.
I will see you all soon!