Sunday, June 19:
Today has been a pretty uneventful day. We woke up at 7:45 am, on our only day to sleep in!, to go to the Presbyterian mass at the bottom of the hill. The mass was from 9 to 11 am and was full of song and open prayer. I was actually surprised at how similar it was to masses at home, just much longer. Instead of “Lord hear our prayer”, one man and woman from the crowd volunteered and offered up their prayers. The man prayed for the economy and the suffering and starving families, while the woman brought us girls to tears when emphasizing the tragic rape and trafficking that young girls are experiencing all over Malawi. Then, instead of passing around baskets for donations, the minister called individuals up by what “District” they are apart of. There was a coed choir that sang throughout the mass and whose voices were beautiful. I am obviously not an avid church-goer, but it was beautiful and a good Malawian experience.
We were back to the lodge by 11:30, in which everyone who didn’t go was just waking me. Most of us blogged and finished reading “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” and then napped. At 3, all the Tech students met with Doctor Kelly to discuss lesson plans for this week. I was so thankful for that meeting, because everyone talking together circulated a lot of great ideas and made me less nervous about teaching and coming up with lesson plans. It was really interesting, but Dr. Kelly was warning us how the children tend to plagiarize everything, not because they know about cheating, but because they always think there’s only one right answer to questions. For example, if you ask them what their favorite color is, and you tell them yours is purple, they will write down that their favorite color is purple as well. Same thing as if one student puts down he is from the Zomba village, the students next to him will write down the same answer even if they’re not from that village. Apparently the students here are just so concerned with being wrong and they don’t have high self-esteems, which is something I can’t wait to work with them on. Katie and I went back to our room and brainstormed and came up with some really great ideas!
Tomorrow is just going to be our “Introduction Day” because we still don’t have a firm understanding of their learning level. We are bringing in the “ABC” and “Number” posters to decorate the classroom tomorrow, as well as signs that say “Door”, “Window”, “Table”, “Wall” that we will hang up so they start visualizing those English words. Tomorrow we will be bringing in the picture book that I made and we will tell them a little about ourselves and then pass around the book while showing them on a map where the US is in relation to Africa. Lastly, we will be making “hand tracings” tomorrow as our lesson. Each student will get a piece of construction paper and some crayons and will have to trace there hand and write their name in the middle. On each finger they were have to put the answer to a certain question. For example, on their pinky they have to put their age, on their ring finger they have to put their favorite color, then their favorite food, then what they want to be when they’re older and lastly, their village name. I think this is a perfect first day, to allow everyone to get to know eachother and have fun! Hopefully they won’t copy eachother’s answers, and me and Katie will be offering “prizes” to those students who write their own individual answers. The hand tracing is also a great lesson because they have to practice their English reading and writing, and we will help them with spelling of their words. After everything is done, we will hang up the hands all around the room so the bare white walls don’t look as empty. I am so excited! Katie and I also started putting the bags together tonight and we were both saying how much we’re going to cry when we hand the bags out. We filled each bag with a pen, pencil, pieces of construction paper, a sheet of stickers, and then once we buy the notebooks (hopefully tomorrow) we will put that in there as well. The children are literally going to freak out and probably start screaming, it will be like Christmas morning for them.
Well, I am probably going to go to sleep soon. I woke up this morning with a really bad cold; I’m all stuffed up an feel just really crappy. My skin’s really pale today too (God knows I’m not okay with that!) so hopefully I’ll feel better tomorrow. I just felt crappy today all around; I’ve been eating so many carbs here because there’s not many other options, so we all feel kind of bloated. However, the PB, honey and banana sandwiches I don’t think will ever get old here. I have them for breakfast and lunch and they continue to satisfy me! Well, that’s all for today. Peace, love, Malawi.