Celebrations and visitors

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The rain has been incessant the past few days, but it didn’t stop me from having a solid weekend. On Friday night, Sophie hosted dinner at her house, and our Peace Corps friend, Greg, cooked an awesome jambalaya. On Sophie’s porch, we danced in a circle, surrounding her iPod and its speakers. Then we headed to the Zoo, of course, just a stone’s throw away from her place.

Peace Corps friends: Dawn, Terence, Greg and Andy

Soph and Me

Saturday it rained all morning but cleared up miraculously, as it often does in Mzuzu, for the Mzuzu Academy braii. A braii is basically an African barbeque – smoked meats on an open fire, drinks, drumming, dancing. We also provided a tour of the school. My pride and joy was this bulletin board, for which a handful of my students decorated their best compositions.

Jill giving a talk to prospective parents and students

About one hundred people turned up, and it was a super fun event (maybe aside from the woman who asked if I was pregnant....! Apparently I was wearing the chitenje too high on my waist, where pregnant women wear them so they can protect the baby, but until I learned this my ego was more than slightly bruised!). A lot of my friends showed up, which was awesome, and they were all really impressed by the Academy. The kids and women from Kwithu danced a few times, and they were amazing! I have a few videos but I'm afraid they would take one thousand years to upload on this internet, so maybe those will have to be postponed until I get home.

Vitu, bartender extraordinaire

The girls practicing

Joe and Me

Isaac, drummer friend, Beckham and Walani

Emma, Charity, Vickness, Staphellow and some of the other Kwithu girls before performing

The internet is excruciatingly slow...I have more pictures but it might take me the rest of the day to post them.

This week we have visitors from the U.S. Meredith Brokaw, a friend of Anna's and a great supporter of Maloto, is the team leader. At our fundraiser this past fall, three women bid on the opportunity to visit Malawi with her: Gina, the program director of Maloto, Phlyp, an artist from Australia, and Millie, who works for the U.S. Mission to the U.N. In addition, Lisa is a photographer from my hometown who came to take tons of awesome pictures to be used for the Maloto website and other publicity means (brochures, fundraisers, etc.). Not to mention, John and Marta McGuinness (our headmaster and his wife, who will also be a teacher at the Academy) are back for good now.

They've had a whirlwind tour of Mzuzu, visiting the Academy, Kwithu, and a number of local government (public) schools. We've also had lots of fun dinners together and even went to the Zoo for a drink. Tomorrow we are leaving for the Mvuu Camp at Liwonde National Park, which is south of Lilongwe. My first safari! I'm so excited.

Having all these visitors here has spurred so much discussion about the future of Maloto, Kwithu, and Mzuzu Academy. While everyone has so many amazing ideas, we can only do so much with the limited funds we have. The construction of the school won't be completed until we have more money for cement, and we are also trying to raise more funds to provide scholarships for the children from Kwithu. As of now, we can only afford to send one or two of them to the school. It's heartbreaking to teach these kids day after day, to see how hard they work, and to know how badly they want to go to Mzuzu Academy but how few of them will actually be able to. I will shamelessly ask again - if you have even 5 dollars to give, we are appreciative. You can make donations right on our website. Thanks again, as always, for reading.


Parag said...

Even though the internet was slow, you are successful in uploading so many beautiful pictures. The academy indeed looks fun and the bar tender is out of this world.
Please share your experiences of your visit at Liwonde National Park.
Liwonde national park mvuu

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