RIPPLE Africa Volunteer Blog – No. 82

This blog is written by Sue Morgan, a volunteer teacher

The end of a whirlwind first week at Mwaya Beach! Actually, not a complete week as I only arrived on Monday evening which seems unbelievable! Everyone I have met has been friendly and welcoming, and I have had so many new experiences that I already feel a part of the community. I have a bicycle for transport which is great except for getting stuck on the sandy tracks!! That happens a lot. Right now it is the rainy season so I need to have a raincoat with me. Needless to say, when I carry it with me it is glorious sunshine and when I forget it I get drenched. It is warm rain which is lovely but still wet!!

In the last few days, I have been to visit local primary schools and have been overwhelmed by the teachers’ ability to teach classes of 50+ students a demanding curriculum with very few resources.

The pre-schools have even less resources but somehow manage to teach the children basic skills needed for primary school and, at the same time, they have lots of fun. They sing, dance, learn letter and number names and have story time. I had fun trying pre-school dance routines where the children and teachers laughed at my attempts to show that Western people too can wiggle bottoms!

On Thursday, I went to observe an adult literacy group which is run on a voluntary basis in the afternoons. Women of all ages and abilities come to learn how to read and write in English. This class is followed by a sewing group that was set up by a previous volunteer. The women are learning how to make items for sale to give them a small independent income. I enjoyed my time in both groups and am looking forward to supporting and helping to develop both of these projects.

Yesterday, I went with one of the teachers to her home in a local village and ate traditional food (nsima) and locally caught fish for lunch. Nsima is a staple food made from cassava or maize which each family grows, and they have their own place for drying and pounding the roots into flour. I liked it but would not want to eat it for every meal as the Malawians do!

What a great way to start my three months in Malawi!

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