This week’s Mwaya Mondays contribution is by Anna Mohan, a PE teacher from the UK. RIPPLE is lucky enough to have Anna volunteering for the entire academic year 2013-2014!
Over two months ago now I arrived in Malawi and made my way up to Mwaya beach. It seems like a bit of a distant memory now as I feel quite settled into Malawi life. My role as a volunteer is to teach PE at Kapanda Secondary school and before I came out to Volunteer at RIPPLE I raised a bit of money to purchase some basic sporting equipment to donate to the school. Within the first week that I arrived, I took this equipment into the school and the excitement on the teachers and students faces was priceless. They were so appreciative of everything that had been donated and would not stop thanking me…this of course made me well-up at such a simple gesture meaning so much to these wonderful people.
I have really enjoyed teaching up at Kapanda, the staff and students alike have been so welcoming and I have enjoyed the staffroom banter, which makes it feel a home from home. I have been working closely with Collence the head teacher of the school and Elliam who are both trained PE teachers. My aim is to show them different ideas of how to structure their lessons as well as giving them different ideas for drills to improve the skill level of the students. It is definitely a two way learning process as I have learned a lot from the Kapanda staff about how to approach the students and how to get the best out of them. I have been trying to improve the facilities that we have to play the different sports at the school so since I have been there we have made two volleyball courts and a long jump pit to add to the netball court and football pitch already there. I have found the Malawians to be very resourceful as when I enquired as to whether we could make a volleyball court they replied “no problem, let’s go and cut down some trees”! So that is what happened, the term “where there is a will there is a way” came to mind.
I have spent time at both Kapanda and Chiomba primary school setting up sports clubs to help with the extra-curricular activities. Kapanda had their first netball game against a local school, but unfortunately, both teams lost their games. I am sure we will get them next time though. The children here love sport and are so naturally athletic they seem to acquire skills so easily. They are a lot of fun and it has been a pleasure to work with them over the past two months and I am excited to see them improve throughout my time here.
I am in the process of setting up sexual & reproductive health education lessons at Mwaya primary school asking members of the local community as well as Esther from Lowani, to teach the children which starts next week. This is an exciting prospect and I am looking forward to see how it will develop over the coming months.
Yesterday we said goodbye to Phoebe who has been volunteering here with us for the past few months. She has worked tirelessly whilst she has been here improving the adult literacy program that she set up when she first came to volunteer as well as re-vamping the pre-schools to give them more structure and resources to enable them to deliver a higher quality of education for the pre-school children. As an end to her stay here, she organised a training event for all of the pre-school teachers to attend down at Lowani. The morning was a fabulous success as it provided an opportunity for the teachers to share ideas and good practice as well as enhance their level of understanding of how to assess their children’s knowledge. It was lovely to see all of the pre-school teachers together and enjoying themselves and hopefully the training will have a positive impact within the schools.
I suppose to summarise my experience of Malawi so far (and I’ve still got a fair few months to go!!) I can honestly say I have met some of the most wonderful people, wonderful in the sense of their friendliness and shear optimism despite the many hardships that they experience every day. The children are so playful and will run 500m up a track just to get a high-5 from you or a hello…normally after a shriek of ‘Azungu’!!!! The people have made me laugh and smile every day and I am sure that this will not change throughout my time here.
This week we also say goodbye to Mike and Kendall, who we are all going to miss a lot here, but wish them the very best of luck for the new experiences that life will have in store for them.
Kapanda Netball and Football teams with their new kit
The Pre-school Training day – All of the pre-school teachers
Kapanda’s new volleyball court!
Mwaya’s local football team, Perina FC with their new football – Kindly donated by Steve and Anne Maund when they came to visit at RIPPLE.