This week’s Mwaya Mondays blog is by recent RIPPLE Africa volunteer Paul Loriot-Lacarré:
I write this in my fourth week in Mwaya Beach, the life here can be very quiet. You live in a way like the people of Malawi but without any stress. Whilst volunteering for RIPPLE Africa I have been assisting with giving summer lessons. I teach students from primary and secondary school. This is a great experience for me because I`m a young man and it`s the first time I have had to be very responsible for a lot of children. Every morning during the week, I get up at 7 o`clock, take my breakfast with the noise of the birds singing and the view of the lake.
After that it`s time to go to school which begins at 8 o`clock. I begin every day with a maths lesson lasting 1.30-2 hours and after they have a break. During their break the children go and play football or netball at the ground near to the class, I enjoy playing with them. After break time it`s time to go back to class. Usually I give a French lesson, sometimes an English lesson or geography lesson. When I give French lessons to my students they really enjoy it, and are keen to learn new things. They ask me a lot of questions like: “how do we say that in French?” or “Can you translate this word into French please?”
School usually finishes around 11:30 and after I go back to Mwaya beach and swim in the lake. I take my lunch with the other volunteers and speak about the different projects RIPPLE Africa is involved in, and we discuss these projects and if there are ways to help improve them. At 2 o’ clock I go back to Mwaya Primary school to give lessons to the secondary school students. I spend 2 hours with them teaching different topics from the maths curriculum. The students would really like to go to university and get a good job, therefore they are all very motivated. When the lesson is over I sometimes go to the library to get some books to prepare my lesson for following day. I sometimes talk to people in the local community about their lives in Malawi and any local upcoming events or they ask me questions about life in Europe.
In the evening I meet the others volunteers, talk to them, have a drink, play cards and wait for the dinner which the cooks Geddess and Martha prepare for us. We eat early around 6:30 after the sun sets, and where we eat is really nice. It is a deck near to the lake so when you eat you can hear the noise of the waves or people speaking when they pass, and you can see the reflection of the moon on the lake. You also go to bed early, normally around 8 o’clock. It is a very healthy place. Some volunteers go for a run early in the morning or in the evening.
Travelling around Mwaya and the surrounding villages often involves walking or riding a bike which is very good physical exercise. When the weekend arrives, the volunteers travel to different places like Kande, Nkhata Bay or Mzuzu. I have visited all of them and whilst there have slept in nice small lodge rooms. You meet other travellers and can go and party together. It is also nice that when walking around the children come to meet you on the road and ask your name, where have you come from and where are you going etc. They take your hand and walk with you a part of the way and after they go back to their house. After that another group of children walk with you. It is the friendliest place in the world!