Tuesday, July 5:
Today was a standard, but also pretty special, day for us. On our way to the school, Dr. Kelly informed us that this might be our last day with most of our students, for after Independence Day, most of them stop coming to class. Since Katie and I’s class has been quickly dwindling over the past week anyways, we were worried that some of our favorites wouldn’t be there for us to say goodbye. As we got to the school, both the standard 5 classes were combined and they were handing back their exams, and then they went on a quick break. Allfu and Henery weren’t there today, so I can only pray that they’ll be there Thursday or Friday to say goodbye to us. It was really funny though because the second I walked in the classroom, Raphael and Brighty looked at me and did this hand motion, scooping their hands to their mouth as they did when they ate the peanut butter. It was like our own secret sign language for “peanut butter” haha! Katie and I then decided to call them in early from their break, and then we handed each of them a piece of loose-leaf paper. Odina’s assistant translated for us, as we asked each of them to write us a letter saying good-bye since it was one of our last days. Katie and I then wrote the class a letter, and Odina’s assistant read it to the class in Chichewa. Katie said she saw a few of our favorite girls put their heads into their hands as the teacher was reading the letter. Mine basically said thank you to them for welcoming me into their lives, and I will never forget any of them. I told them I hoped to see them in my future, and asked them to stay in school and never stop smiling. At the end I said I loved them, and they all got the biggest smiles on their faces.
One by one, students started bringing the letters up to Katie and I. Initially, we read them as we received them, but I found myself getting really emotional and decided to read them later. Almost all of the letters said things among the line of “you in Malawi make me very happy”, and “I love you”. The one that really broke my heart was from Mike, one of my favorites, and literally the sweetest and most well behaved boy in our class. His letter said “dear Kelsey you are going for ever. We shall neve to meet again.” That one really killed me, and right after I read it I looked at him and said “I WILL come back again and see you”, he got a big smile on his face.
After we collected all the letters, we broke them into two groups, one going with Katie and one staying with me. We both brought our computers, and let them listen to Justin Bieber and Eminem while looking at all our Africa pictures on our computer. After about 45 minutes of that, we put on the movies and they absolutely loved them! Children were crowded around our computers, and some from other classrooms were coming in to watch. Even though the movies were in English, they could still read the facial expressions and laughed hysterically at certain antics. Of course, my group watched “It Takes Two” and died laughing when Alyssa is stuffing her face with the sloppy Joe, or when Amanda and Alyssa are both running away screaming and bump headfirst into eachother. Before we knew it, it was past noon, so we encouraged all of our students to come to class on Thursday and we would let them finish the movie. I am seriously hoping they come back, because I couldn’t stand to actually say goodbye to any of them today, and a few of my favorites were absent altogether.
While we were eating lunch at MIE, I saw Raphael outside of the window making the “peanut butter” motion. I met him outside and gave him the entire jar of peanut butter, and three spoons. I told him he could keep it, but he had to share, and he couldn’t believe I was letting him keep the entire jar. He kept repeating, “wait, all for me?!”, and I smiled and said yes, but make sure his friends get some too. I came back a few minutes later, and saw a bunch of little kids surrounding Raphael, all with lumps of peanut butter in their hands. Definitely a moment where I thought “ew” and “aw” at the same time, but more-so, I felt a wave of relief knowing that for once, in probably a long time, they were satisfied and maybe even full.
On our way walking over to the Malemia School for our last drum lesson, I heard my name being called from behind me. I waited up, and it was a little girl named Eunice. Apparently, she is in mine and Katie’s class, but I had absolutely no idea. I had heard her name before, and seen it written on papers, but it astounded me that I didn’t recognize her face. As we were walking together, Eunice and her sister told me all about their family, while speaking in perfect English. I felt extremely guilty for not having gotten to know her earlier, and it touched my heart how close she was with her sister, and how gentle and smart they both were. In the middle of our walk I stopped and unloaded my kwacha, camera and chapstick from my purse and then put my purse around Eunice’s neck. Her and her sister both knelt to their knees and thanked me, and kept saying how beautiful of a bag it was. They kept questioning “for me?” even though I told them multiple times they could keep it. They kept saying how excited their mom was going to be to see it, and at that moment I wished I could have given them more. They walked with me the entire way to Malemia, where Katie and Allison caught up with us as well. Allison gave them stickers, Katie gave them some of her hand-made bracelets, and then we said our good-byes. I made them promise that they would come to school on Thursday, and they agreed, but I am not sure they really understood.
We then continued on to our drumming lesson, where I was again called out to lead the group. I don’t really understand why, but I just don’t like drumming here. I don’t know if it’s because it brings back memories from Alldredge, or if I just get kind-of annoyed because the way it is taught here is so different, or if it’s frustrating that we are all on different levels and all I want to do is bust out my Alldredge songs. Either way, I tried to suck it up today and still lead the group through some songs, while all the school children were gathered around the door singing and dancing. Innocent reviewed the two songs with us again, which I think we all have completely memorized since we sang them over a hundred times. Apparently, we will be singing these songs on Thursday at our end of the year party and celebration with our teachers. The songs are in Chichewa and are really simple and pretty, so I think the teachers will greatly appreciate them.
Well, now we are back at the Lodge getting settled in for dinner and then Allison, Katie and I are going to cuddle again and watch Old School haha! I logged onto the Internet earlier for 10 minutes to upload my blogs and read my emails, and intended on getting back on after dinner to use the rest of the 50 minutes. However, I forgot to turn the airport off, so it used up the rest of my time. Basically, I paid 600 kwacha for 10 minutes of Internet time, and this is the second time this has happened in the past 3 days. Frustrating. The language barrier here is definitely starting to frustrate us all, because there’s really nothing we can do about it, and every time we think we are understood, we realize that we aren’t. I feel bad getting annoyed at the workers for messing up our orders, or for not understanding when I ask for another internet card since I messed mine up, but I know they’re trying their hardest and I can’t imagine how frustrating it is for them as well. Anyways, tomorrow we have the day off because it is Malawi’s Independence Day so I think everyone’s planning on heading into town. I think I am going to stay at the Lodge because I need some “me” time to just relax and have peace and quiet. That’s all for now, 1 week left; oh my goodness! Peace, love, Malawi.