0 Visitors

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

This past week I've split my classes up because the kids are at such varying learning levels. This makes the teaching itself easier but requires much more prep work. It's also becoming crunch time for the kids taking the entrance exam. I have so much to teach them in the next six weeks. It was a bit sad having to split them up but we managed to work out a schedule in which I can teach all of them at least three days a week.

Last week our new headmaster, John, and his wife, Marta, visited Mzuzu. John is British and Marta is French, and they raised their children in Aix-en-Provence, where I studied abroad, while John taught at Institute for American Universities, where I studied abroad. Needless to say we had a lot to talk about. We all came to the agreement that Aix is the most beautiful place on earth. John has a really strong vision for the school and I think he, Marta, Anna, and Jill had a productive few days coming up with all sorts of ideas and working out logistics. He and Marta will be back to Mzuzu - permanently this time - in a week and a half.

The women welcoming Jill to Kwithu

Faith and Jill

John, Anna, and Jill in "my classroom"

The women and children welcoming John and Marta. (Let's play "Where's Mandy?")

Marta and the ladies

Rocking the chitenje

Which one of these is not like the others?

Marta and John enjoying their nsima

The children reciting poems in English

0 My week

Friday, March 26, 2010

Sophie last Saturday at a concert in Mzuzu

Will, Bex, Enrique, Sophie and Paul

Fellow mzungu John is a crowd-pleaser

The girls

John McGuinness, Mzuzu Academy's first Headmaster

My driver Thumbiko in his Lighthouses of Maine t-shirt (including Beals' Lighthouse on Mount Desert Island)

1 Tom

Friday, March 19, 2010

Yesterday, Isaac brought his pet monkey, Tom, into class. It is the cutest thing ever.

Isaac...so suave.

I love Tom.

Monkey in my class...NBD.

In other news:
-I have a new housemate! Her name is Jill, and she is an educational consultant orginally from the UK. She has spent the past three months with family in New Zealand, but she has been living in Rome and running and international school there for the past twenty years.
-Anna's birthday was last week, and today she brought a cake home that the ladies from Kwithu made her. Best part of my day so far. Also, Anna doesn't like icing much, so I eat all of hers. We make a great pair.
-I'm spending the weekend in Mzuzu and hanging out with some new friends here. Should be fun and chill.
-I'm currently planning my visit to South Africa during my last two weeks here, which are the first two weeks in May. As of now, I'm looking into taking the Baz Bus, which is a hop-of/hop-off backpackers bus. The route I'd take would travel along the southern coast of South Africa, starting in Port Elizabeth, and traveling east to Cape Town. The route is known for its gorgeous beaches, mountains, and the best winelands in the country. Then I'll spend about 4 or 5 days in Cape Town before going home. I can't wait!

0 Mayoka: V 2.0

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I spent another fun, gorgeous, relaxing weekend at Mayoka Village this weekend. Anna was kind enough to drive me to Nkhata Bay on Saturday morning and I arrived by 8 in the morning, ready for a full day at the beach.

My own little beach outside of my room. Not bad for fifteen dollars.

I ended up going on a boat trip around the bay that afternoon. We stopped at cliffs to jump from, good snorkeling areas, and a small beach where we played volleyball and soccer with local children. It was so hot, though I'm happy to say that I finally have a hint of a tan. Sixteen of us were packed into a four-row rowboat with a teeny motor attached - in addition to the four Malawians steering the boat/drinking rum and Coke from water bottles, among us were 3 Swedes, 2 Swiss, 2 Dutch, 3 Brits, an Israeli, and me.

As we passed the town of Nkhata Bay, kids jumped into the water with their clothes on and swam after our boat.

We bought some fish on the way.

Our trusty captain

The rocks we jumped from were about fifteen feet tall - just high enough give you a few butterflies when you look down, and to make your stomach drop right before you hit the water. The climb up was scarier than the jump itself.

Struggling to make it to the top

My second time jumping - holding my nose after having swallowed gallons of water the first time.

A few of my fellow travelers:

Our trusty captain in his underwear

Thankful for sun, and for cool water

The snorkeling wasn't very good - the water was too cloudy (but I did see some really cool fish the next day, just on the shore at Mayoka). I had so much fun at the beach. I'm terrible at beach volleyball but I managed to smack the ball a few times and get us a few points. I also strategically placed myself on the team with all the athletic-looking people. We won both games.

I sat out for soccer and chatted with some of the others. Everyone who stays at Mayoka is so interesting to talk to. Some were married couples taking a year off from life to travel; the three Swedish kids were my brother's age and were on a gap year between high school and university; one British girl was volunteering and traveling by herself, like me; the two Dutch guys were medical students who had just completed a semester at a hospital in Tanzania.

On the way back, we saw an African Eagle, and our guides threw the fish we had bought into the water.

The sun was beginning to set as we headed back. Doesn't this look fake?

Saturday night was chill - we were tired from the boat trip. Sunday we spent laying out, swimming, and reading. Sunday night we had a little more energy. It was pizza night at Mayoka, so we all ate dinner together, followed by gin and tonics by candlelight.

I left Monday morning, and when I came back it was raining in Mzuzu. Sigh. I felt like I was too tired to teach but of course once I started I forgot all about that. Not sure where I'm going this weekend - maybe to Blantyre - though that's a hike.

Well, this was a marathon post. I hope you read it all because it took me forever. As always, be sure to keep checking for my posts at The Maloto Journal, and for more pictures on My Picasa Album.

1 Class pictures

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Here are a few pictures of me in action. Yes - I know I'm pale. It's been a little bit slow-going on the Africa tan in rainy Mzuzu.

I'll be at the Mzoozoozoo again Friday (seems to be the night to go), followed by Mayoka again Saturday and Sunday. Trying to soak up as much beach time while I can! (The rain will slow but it will get colder come mid-April).

0 Accompanying words to yesterday's pictures; The Mzuzu Market

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

So in case you couldn't tell from my pictures, I spent the weekend in Nkhata Bay, which ended up being more like an hour and a half trip with all the mud (instead of the 35 minutes I was expecting). My minibus could not get through the mud either way, but the drivers were extremely creative about getting around it (on the way back, he drove around someone's house and through corn fields while we waited on the side of the road). It was a wonderful, energizing (despite my tiredness last night), but too-short weekend. I met a handful of fun people from all over the world and it felt good to know that I'm not the only person traveling alone in Africa (in fact, very few people seemed to know each other beforehand - maybe being such foreigners on this continent makes us all the more friendly to one another).

On Sunday morning it rained, but we all stayed inside playing cards and reading guidebooks. When the sun came out I didn't want to leave. I think I might go back this weekend. As I said, Mayoka Village was gorgeous, and more than affordable for a weekend away. It will begin to be cooler in about a month so I'm going to try to take advantage of warm weather while I can (that is, if it doesn't rain again...I wonder if the weather.com site for Malawi is accurate...).

On the way to the minibus I found an awesome dress at the second-hand market for less than two dollars. I will post a picture soon!

Second-hand market in Nkhata Bay

Also, I wandered the market for the first time on Saturday with a girl I met at Mzoozoozoo (Sophie, a British VSO). I'm obsessed now and have taken walks to town the past two days, wandering through the market and buying all sorts of exotic fruits and vegetables.

P.S. My teaching materials have finally arrived. YAY.

0 The past week in pictures

Monday, March 8, 2010

I'm so completely exhausted from my weekend and then class all day today. The last thing I want to do right now is plan a lesson (in math, no less). I just can't give you many words right now...but here are lots of pictures:

My classroom, sans class

Christina, Lusubiro, and Costance

It's "maths" here (which I think sounds more refined than "math," don't you?)

This bird lives outside my window and is literally the devil incarnate

Mayoka Village, the amazingly gorgeous/fun/friendly/CHEAP "hostel" I stayed at this weekend. Private chalets and cottages are built into a cliff overlooking Nkhata Bay.

Nkhata Bay (part of Lake Malawi)

Borrowed guidebooks on a rainy Sunday morning

Rain and canoes

New friends (!)

Mayoka from the boat

My ride to town

Mud is like snow here

See more here.