Monday, June 27:
Today was an average day that turned pretty spectacular in a matter of minutes. I had another great breakfast consisting of an omelet and then toast with their delicious jelly. We loaded on the bus and headed to the schools, and when we pulled up to the Government School, the children were all singing the “banana” song that we taught them last week. It was hysterical! Katie and I headed straight to the classroom, and it took a while to settle everyone down and get them back in the swing of things after their weekend. We decided to start off the lecture with a review of the human body from last week, and we did another body tracing since we knew that would be a fun way to get into the lesson again. They remembered most of the body parts, still getting eyes and ears confused, and still completely butchering the spelling of “elbow”, “knees” and “head”. Oh well, they had fun and they definitely are making so much progress! After that quick review, we went straight into todays lecture of geography. We brought in a map of the continents, and explained to them what oceans and continents were. We had them each write down the definitions and then wrote down the 7 continents and showed them where they were on the map. After going over that for a good period of time, we asked for volunteers to come up to the map and show us where certain places were. They seemed to remember and understand it, but knowing them they probably just memorized where we pointed to things. If they took one thing out of the lecture, I think they definitely retained that Katie and I are from North America- where the United States are- and they are from Africa- where Malawi is. After about an hour of trying to explain geography, they were starting to get antsy so we decided to do a free-write lesson. The question was: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live and why? Most of them didn’t understand, so Odina had to translate some things for us. After a few minutes, the children brought up their notebooks and their answers were adorable. I even took pictures of a few of their responses haha! Almost all of them put that they would want to go to North America because Katie and I are “beautiful” and “their friends”. One kid also put “America= anything”. When I asked him what he meant, he said that you can get anything you need in America. The responses definitely made me chock up a little, but they were all so happy (as usual) that I couldn’t even be sad.
After our morning at the school, we all ate our lunches at the college and discussed “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind”. We also spent the 2 hours asking Dr. Kelly a ton of questions about Malawi and its history and government system. I swear, it amazes me how much she knows about the country, but I have already learned so much in these past 2 weeks. Afterwards, we all headed to the Demonstration School where we got to meet our 24 scholarship students! This is where the beauty of the day heightened, as Katie and I got to meet the children that we are sponsoring to attend high school, thanks to the donations we raised.
We arrived at the Demonstration School and went to one of the classrooms where there were about 30 chairs facing outwards, and the rest of the chairs facing towards them. Shortly after, all the Scholarship students came walking in in their nicest attire, and most accompanied by a family member. Dr. Kelly gave an overview about the Chimbali Scholarship Fund, which was a good review for all of us. All of the Scholarship students are students that meet two criteria. 1, the students have to pass a certain standardized test, but secondly, they have to be individuals that would be unable to attend school would it not be for the scholarship funds. The Virginia Tech students got to meet the one boy that we are sponsoring for the next 3 years to be able to finish high school (which is a huge deal), as did the Radford and North Carolina A&T students. Afterwards, Doctor Kelly called Katie up to acknowledge her and introduce her to her “students” whom she will be paying for to attend high school for their Sophomore and Junior year. Lastly, Doctor Kelly called me up where I got to meet 7 beautiful individuals whom I will be paying for to go into their senior year. Without this Scholarship fund, these students would have had to drop out of high school because their families could not afford it. I got to take individual pictures with each of my 7 students and their family member, although 2 of them came by themselves, which means that they are probably orphans. They were so grateful and I was holding back tears the entire time as they were clapping, and giving me hugs. As if that wasn’t enough gratitude in itself, Dr. Kelly had them each write a paragraph to me about who they are and what they want to do after high school. As I read these on the bus home, I started crying and so many thoughts were going through my head about everything I want to do for these children. Dr. Kelly said that I will be able to get the schools email address so that over the next year I can check up on my 7 students and see how they are doing and if they are planning on going to college. How amazing is that? All of the other Tech girls were so jealous they couldn’t sponsor some of the children, so I am definitely going to talk to the Tech students going next year and tell them to raise money. I am so glad I had that idea, because now I get to help even more people while I am here, and actually get to meet the people that I am directly affecting. Well, peace, EXTRA love, Malawi. Now, I will leave you with the notes I got from my 7 students. Try to hold back your tears. But seriously!
1) “My name is Steven Mandoto aged 17. I’m boy and I learning at Domasi Demonstraton Secondary School. When I finish school I want to be soldier and I am going to thank you for your help and I thanks again for assisting my parents for paying school fees. I’m going to ask God to bless you in everything and to give you long life in order to assist other people.”
2) “I am aboy aged 16 namely Christy Gomani. I was born on 22, 05, 1995 at Bottom Hospital in Lilongwe, the capital city of Malawi. I am in form 3 where I was selected from Domasi Demonstration Primary. I always give to myself a few seconds per day to thank God for you for sponsering me in my school matters. This opportunity gives to think that I will make my dreams of being a soldier of a journalist become true.”
3) “My name is Isabel Lajah and I have 16 years. I was learning at Demonstration Primary School and now I am learning at Demonstration Secondary School. I am in form 3. In future I want to become a radio announcer in other ways I can say a journalist. I would like to thank you for all things you have done to me. You have help my parents paying school fees starting from form 1. May God Almighty be with you all and continue help other people. Thank you.”
4) “My name is Zainabu Yosini. I am 16 years old. Since I learn at Domasi Demonstration Secondary School. I’m in form 3. When I finish my school I want to be a doctor. Thank you very much to response for my school fees, I can say thanks a lot. Don’t stop to do this thing of payment the school fees. So I encourage you to continue of that. Thank you. May God bless all of you.”
5) “I am Patrick Mtundunwatha. I live at Kapich Village. Am a boy aged 18 years old. So I learn at Domasi Demonstration Secondary School am in form 3. I would like to tell you that I would like to be a doctor if God can allow me end up my education. So for that I also ask you to continue, help me for my education so God can be with you all the best. I wish you God bless you. My message is please can you continue to help.”
6) “My name is Majorson Macheso. I am in form 3 at Domasi Demonstration Secondary School. I am a boy aged 15. I come from Domasi Zomba, my biological home is Balaua-Malawi. I came here to live with my uncle who adopted me from my mother. My ambition is to become a medical doctor. The final thing is to thank you for the best care I mean for assisting us from form 1. This is so great, keep on helping others. May Almighty God be wih you all the time. Thank you.”
7) “My name is Fexton Kuloweka. I am 17 year old boy in form 3 from Domasi Demonstration Secondary School. I would like to thank the Chibale Project for helping us. May God bless you and give you health lives so that you should keep on helping the Malawians. I want to become a doctor because I would like to assist sick people and with your help I will achieve my goal and I am promising that I will work hard at school. Thank you very much.”