Tuesday, 16 July 2019

The Final Day!

Blog by Eva:

An early start for breakfast at seven was welcomed warmly due to the tasty buffet in which we all indulged. Followed by an amazing boat tour along the river at the park. We saw crocs, hippos, elephants, water buck, impala, eagles, Zazus (from The Lion King) and many more. It was so surreal. We were all sad to leave but after a long journey back to Blantyre we stopped off for snacks before settling in to our final destination before tomorrow’s flight. See you all soon! Xxx

Monday, 15 July 2019

Cackling warthogs! + photos

Blog from James:
I apologise in advance for the short entry this evening but it is currently 10 PM and that’s the latest I’ve been up in almost 2 weeks...

Today was full of mixed emotions. First the sadness of having to leave Chilingani and say goodbye to the community that has given us such a welcoming and accepting vibe ever since we entered; mixed with the relief of the release from long-drop toilets and cold outdoor showers. This was followed by the excitement upon arriving at Liwonde National Park for the safari after a short drive, and the slight fear of hippos wandering up to our tents in the night. (Don’t worry we’re safe!).

Next came the amazement brought by the sight of animals such as warthog, impala, and crocodiles among others on the game drive. Finally came the fatigue at dinner (3 course meal!) as a long day began to come to close. This was followed by slight hysteria as we prepared for bed and clambered into our tents where we are now, attempting to fall asleep to the sound of cackling warthogs...

(The signal is bad up in Liwonde so we will try to get some photos uploaded tomorrow morning!)

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Last day in the village

Blog by Eva

The perfect day; a perfect end to our final day here in Chilingani. We are all sad to leave as we feel we have built connections with everyone in such a short time! 

Although many had a tired start to the day due to the cockerels by our window all night; everybody’s energy was rekindled as we walked to site as a team and saw how far the classroom block had come over the last 9 days. 

At lunch we had what some would call a feast, almost 50 of us ate together - the chiefs, committees, the builders, and Hilda and Gladys with some members of their families came and joined us. It was lovely to share this final lunch with many of those we met throughout the week. 

We finished the day with a ceremony where many spoke and thanked us for our hard work! 

We enthusiastically sang ‘Lean on me’ and Lio touched everyone with his recital of ‘Good night the moon’, a poem he wrote, spoken entirely in Chichewa. It was very cool. 

A final attempt at Malawian dancing brought smiles to the faces of all. We played outside until the sun began to set and dinner was on the table. 

Georgie, Beth, and Eva playing on the drums getting everyone to sing ‘We will rock you’ and dancing the Macarena! It was sad to say our goodbyes especially to all the children and those who have been so welcoming to us. 

We spent dinner discussing our High’s, Lows, and Heroes, bringing our last day to the perfect end! Xxx

Saturday, 13 July 2019

Lean on me

Blog by Lio:
Today was really enjoyable. 

As every other, today was fantastic, and had so much in store for us. Our acquaintance with the builders has grown and grown, and it’s been an honour to work alongside such diligent builders; learning from them and what that have to teach has been a real experience for us all, and we’ve gotten so much out of it.  Today came choosing our song for the ceremony tomorrow, in the end we chose ‘Lean on me’. 

As always, playing with the children continues to bring us so much joy, and I’m sure that in returning to England, those playful interactions will be at the forefront of our mind. 

Overall, today has been, as said above, fantastic, with breaks in between as getting to the end requires a lot of effort, and a lot of effort requires a lot of rest, speaking of which...

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Home visits

Blog by Will Ramsden

Today proved to be a slower day on site with fewer jobs being handed out due to the health and safety concerns that accompany bricklaying above shoulder height. 

Will Fursdon, James and Will Ramsden served the half a cupful of porridge that makes up the sole daily meal many of these children received, which was an experience that opened our eyes to the lives of the children while also making the work we are doing more meaningful to us. 

The afternoon today was equally perspective-broadening as we split ourselves into two groups and visited the homes of Gladys and Hilda, who both live in Chilingani.

Gladys was a single mother with 7 children, 2 moved from home. She welcomed us warmly into her home and gratefully received our donations. 

Hilda, a woman unparalleled in joy, is a mother to 5 and grandmother to approximately 30. The laughter we shared with her proved to be the highlight of our day. 

With a dinnertime debrief about each of our days we reach the point where I am writing this blog, reflecting happily on today and anticipating tomorrow’s work.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Getting to know the kids

Blog by Beth

Today saw the team continuing to work hard on site plastering walls: moving bricks around and trying to be quiet and less distracting for the kids who were sitting their end of year exams.

 Today, Beth, Georgie, Lio, Philip, and Miss Braithwaite volunteered to feed the kids the one meal they get at school, and for some the only meal they get all day. 

The team found this an extremely hard hitting task and once back in camp some tears were shed at the situation. However; once re-emerging the team found the kids laughing, smiling, and willing to carry the water buckets for us. 

James and team leader Joe enjoyed a good game of football with some of the boys whilst another yummy meal was made. 

Lastly a quick message to say Happy Birthday Ella, hope you had a good day and you remember ‘I didn’t get you a birthday present because I got you one for Christmas’
Love from Beth xxx

The Final Day!

Blog by Eva: An early start for breakfast at seven was welcomed warmly due to the tasty buffet in which we all indulged. Followed by an am...