Friday, 17 July 2015

Teacher Update and onto the plane

Hi all just to let you know that the team are now safely on the plane back to Heathrow via Addis...

Also this is a posting from the teacher team, Ms Paul and Ms Gillick.

Thank you for all your super responses and encouraging messages, the group have loved them. You've heard some highlights from the trip but we also wanted to take you through a standard day on the project.

The team were divided into six groups and each day two groups had to get up controversially early (6am) to collect water in buckets from the borehole pump and to cook the porridge over the fire. The rest of the team would wake at 6.30 and after breakfast and a brief metting, we were on the building site by 8am.

Each day a site foreman and a health and safety officer were elected by the team and these were briefed by the contractor, Arnold,as to what jobs needed doing that day. Then it was down to work. Usually there were five different groups and we rotated between tasks: forming a brick line, mixing cement, collecting water, laying bricks and mortar, and shovelling earth. Once the house reached gable height, which was the goal of our project, a group also started creating educational resources for the school. Some jobs were very physical whereas others required patience and team work. We all did a bit of everything, and always with a cheerful smile. 

At 10am, we had the much anticipated mandazi break (African doughnuts) and then fell to again until 12, when our cooks, Ida and Ruth called us in for lunch. This was usually rice and beans, and then we rested during the heat of the midday sun. 
It was back to work again in the afternoon, with frequent water and shade breaks to conserve energy. At 4, the cooking team went in to shower, followed by everyone else at 4.30.
Showering consisted of delicate operations with a bucket, a scoop and 4 jugs of cold water. This resulted in many squeals but we all managed to maintain basic cleanliness. 

The cooks were marshalled by head chef Louise and although dinner was often rice and beans, there were frequent ingenious treats to break the monotony. 
The washing up team then had the unenviable task of cleaning the tables and all the Tupperware and pots and pans while the others did some star gazing. 

Then we would have social time, coming together to sum up the events of the day and elect a worker of the day. We often enjoyed a card game or two, and always made an effort to recall the best joke of the day, of which there were many. 

Bedtime occurred at about 9pm as we were usually tired out from our hard work. We slept soundly, apart from trips to the outside long drop toilet, and the early morning rooster calls.

We have loved our time here, and this is mainly thanks to the students. We could not have asked for a better group. They threw themselves into every task without complaining, and were delightful company; kind, funny and generous. They are a credit to you and the school. 

We know the people of Chilingani village appreciated our presence enormously, and we hope the students have got as much from the trip as we have done. 
See you on Saturday! Love from Ms P and Ms G. X

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Day 11: Last night in Malawi

Our final night in Malawi!

We had an early start for the drive around  Liwonde national park. We managed to get lucky and saw an amazing elephant grazing only 10 mins into the safari. 

In the end we spotted Impala, Waterbuck, Kudu, Hippo, Crocodile, a lot of Warthog,and a Velociraptor. We returned in high spirits to the campsite before the long drive to Zomba. The views on the mountain road were incredible. 

After arriving we set up tents and went on an adventure up the mountain of Zomba. On the walk we saw rasta lumber jacks. 

We then went for a dinner at Ku Chawe sunbird lodge and had a delicious last supper with heartfelt speeches from everyone. It was an amazing ending to a life changing trip.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Day 10: Safari!

This blog comes to you from a tense game of cheat which Amy won. After our emotional goodbye in Chilingani we were sweptaway on Wellington's (the driver) magical bus. We left at 8 after yet more porridge and 6 hours later we arrived at the breath taking Mvuu Lodge. 

In the collection of our bags Fergus was stabbed by a huge thorn which he kept. After carefully selecting the space in which we wished to erect our tents, we then discovered elephants, hippos and crocodiles can freely frolic as they please. 

We then ventured onto the river where we were greeted by many a beast, countless hippos, crocodiles and various antelope. We even saw kingfishers and 2 eagles. 

Towards the end of our safari we saw a majestic herd of elephants in the backdrop of an amazing sunset. As one of the elephants walked towards us we soon saw a tiny elephant calf which apparently was less than 4 months old. 

Many described it as the most magical evenings of our lives and cannot wait to show you all the amazing pictures. 

When the sun set we discovered that there was hot running water and a meal which wasn't rice and beans but a delicious selection of meats. 

After being thoroughly stuffed and cleaned we all went to sit in the lounge area for relaxation by the river. Here is where you joined our story. 

Thank you and goodnight from Amy, Tash, Henry, Will, Fergus and Lizzie.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Day 9: Farewells

Today was our last day on the project. It was very hot but we carried on like good little troopers. 

Afterwards we spent some time packing for the safari, before the leaving ceremony which was attended by the local MP. 

Fergus and Tasha led in the speaches, before we all joined in with the dancing. 

Georga was the final project forman, and organised the creation of the games and paintings for the school. We ended the day with final goodbyes and pictures with the builders, and then played with the children. Looking forward to the safari tommorow!

Monday, 13 July 2015

Days 7 and 8: Double whammy

Apologies for the lack of post yesterday- Malawi's technology let us down! It does mean a double-dose of blog treats tonight though! 

Day 7:
Sunday (also refered to as fun day) saw the team given extra time in bed rising at 8 o clock only to be met again with the comfort of yet more porridge, we set off for church briskly with sweat on our backs. 

The views along the way were astounding, we admired them as we stopped to take photos. When we arrived at the church we were greeted by a beautiful view of smiling faces. 

The church service included prayers, singing and more prayers by El Pastor DJ Lock 'praise the English' he cried and this was recieved by jubilant cheers of the congregation.  

The service was energetic and full of good cheer.  Afterwards photos were exchanged and we had a lunch of traditional nsima. 

We stayed out of the sun, though ipanema had nothing on the sunbathing of Miss Gillick and co. Dinner was delicious yet again, looking forward to being on the building site again tomorrow. Speak soon! The monopoly crew, Harry, Lizzy, Will and Tasha. 

Day 8:
Breaking news! Tune in to the Malawian national news to see our efforts tonight. 

Yes, today a film crew came to hear us talk about Joshua and interviewed our spokesperson Elly. 

Despite this excitement the day started yet again with porridge (yum) cooked by Georgia, Elly and Chelsea (team Geco). 

The Site Foreman for our last full day of work was Will aided by Freya on Health and Safety. There were brick lines, cement mixing, water collecting, hoeing, shovelling and the relaxing task of painting educational tools for the children at the school! Amy struggles with this task as we discovered she doesn't know her times tables and Fi, Max, Izzy and Conor's alphabet board was beautiful in the eye of it's creators. 

The Monopoly Crew (Tash, Will, Harry and Lizzie)'s band was going strong today, however Miss Gillick and Miss Paull have concerns about it becoming another addiction. 

Another group went to the feeding centre which was loved by all, especially James. 

Millie was like Djokovic on the Song Tennis court with her extreme knowledge of Katy Perry (aided by Max). 

We've just had a special treat of eggs, chips and tomato salsa for dinner cooked by Lizzie, James and Freya (team Midget and Pals). It went down a treat. 

Keep sending us all of the news. We're loving the comments! Sweet dreams on Malarone (not)! Freya and Connor

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Day 6: A poem (Day in the Life)

The morning started with eggs cooked by Rory
A change from porridge which was a different story

Guided by health and safety Lizzie
Her relentless sass kept us all busy

Our site foreman today was Ellie
she kept us in line until with sweat we were smelly

Conor charmed the children with his Malawi accent
And Stevie's chichewa lessons were well spent

Mandazis provided the snacks we needed
A treat to which even Millie conceded

James, Will and Henry were proven as pros
With skilful handling of their precious hoes

Chelsea spent her time making a precious spear
Whilst Fergus cracked out banter that made the whole team cheer

On the dusty field penalties with applause were met
Versus the fundis, Georgia hit the back of the net

Settling down in the sun and to read
Freya and Izzy were chased by a centipede

Tasha and Amy got into their card games
To win them were their main aims

Friday, 10 July 2015

Day 5: Food (and other stuff)

Today started with a 2am wakeup call of singing women on their way to work.   
After another healthy breakfast of porridge we returned to the site to start another long days work. 

With Fergus, Henry, Harry, Will and Stevie on hoeing, landscaping was a great success and with the rest of the team providing water (carried on their heads) for the cement the walls shot up once again with the workers on very sketchy scaffolding. 

James, (our site foreman) dream's of a two line brick chain finally came true today and he now dreams of a three line brick chain. 

Tasha, the health and safety officer, kept everyone in check by forcing us to take water breaks to keep us hydrated in the hot weather.          

The food today has been more than perfect with an amazing rice dish from Ruth at lunch. As well as a fantastic surprise of spaghetti bolognaise and popcorn cooked by Georgia, Chelsea and Ellie, which was a perfect ending to a successful day. 

P.s. requests from us for families upon our return: pizza, crisps, bath stuff, frosted beverages, chocolate, meat and clean sheets.

PPS a big shout out to Georgia as well for being hero of the day following her sprained ankle on the football field. She has been a star (and even managed to help cook dinner).