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The First Two Weeks

The adventure begins: My first two weeks in Malawi.

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It seems hard to believe that I have only been in Malawi for two weeks – we have crammed in so many activities and it already feels like home! Our induction programme at Sir Harry’s included visits to Liwonde National Park, Chichere Museum in Blantyre, the botanical gardens in Zomba and a wide variety of exciting eating establishments. We are continuing the eating theme with dinners to meet board members, staff and parents and Braiis, one of which set light to the grass around the school’s swimming pool.

One of the P1020224.JPGbest experiences was the safari at Liwonde where we saw lots of elephants (ones who had cleverly escaped Prince Harry’s rehoming mission), hippos, a Fish-Eagle, Kingfishers and crocodiles from a boat on the Shire river. Also,  on the land Safari, we saw Kudu, Waterbuck, babboons, vervet monkeys, warthogs and lots more elephants. A highlight of the trip was getting out in the rhino/lion enclosure so the driver could change a flat tyre. All was very calm until a large family of elephants approached us heading toward the watering hole – the driver seemed very keen that we got back into the vehicle for some reason!

This week the children started back at school and it has been fantastic to get to know Malumbe class. There are 15 children at the moment and it has been a really positive start to the year. The ‘meet the teacher’ evening also went well and I am enjoying getting to know my fantastic new colleagues. It is really fun exploring lots of creative ways of learning and being free of the dreaded SATS!

I have also enjoyed catching up with Limbani and meeting his wife Tibeye and children. Amazingly, they only live a five minute walk from the school. Tibeye took me to the Chichewa service at St George’s church last Sunday which was really great. The singing is amazing and I’m sure I will start to pick the language up again soon.

My spare room is ready with double bed and mosquito net and there are wonderful five star hotels on Zomba plateau for any former colleagues who are fussy about such matters. Let me know if you fancy a visit – it is a wonderful, very friendly place to be and I don’t think I will ever get used to the amazing wildlife right on my doorstep.

The end (of the first term) is nigh.

It has been far too long since I last posted – maybe I can blame the lack of electricity (which will all be better now it is rainy season apparently). There is so much to say I think I will just describe a few highlights.

International Food Night

One Friday in the first half term we hosted an international food night in the school hall. People brought a dish from their home country and we shared them all,buffet style. There were about 150 people there and the food was amazing. I really enjoyed the Ethiopian, Korean and Chinese food and people seemed to enjoy the victoria sponge, rhubarb crumble and courgette fritters which Grace and I made.

Sports against Mponda school

Our neighbouring school is called Mponda and we have played netball and football against their teams. It’s  really nice to meet the students from another local school and everyone had great fun cheering on both teams.

Problem Solving Day

The whole school are mixed up into groups to rotate around lots of different problem solving activities. I was in charge of the ‘Egg Drop Challenge’ where the children had to build a vehicle to protect a raw egg from breaking when dropped from the top of a ladder. they had paper, string, balloons, straws and elastic bands and about fifteen minutes construction time.Some fabulous creations emerged although only one was successful interms of protecting the egg. It was really fun seeing the children approach the task and the rickety ladder provided an extra air of excitement for each drop!img_20161013_082047685_hdr

Swim Camp

One thing I have enjoyed much more than I thought I would is teaching my class swimming twice a week. Thankfully,we have several books about how to teach it which have been invaluable. Some of the children are in our school swim squad and they took part in a camp  with children from Hill View school in Blantyre. We pitched our tents outside the hall and had a fun filled couple of days swimming and doing team building activities. The tent was quite comfy with a couple of gym mats inside but I had to share with a couple of hungry mosquitos which was less fun!

Hockey tournament

Our school hockey team (expertly coached,weekly by me in hockey club) took part in a tournament against other international schools from Blantyre and Lilongwe. It was a really fun day and the teams played well – the girl’s team coming in second place. It was really hot and I added an interesting new shape to my tan pattern from the top I was wearing!

Half term

Over half term I travelled with three friends to Cape Maclear on Lake Malawi. It was a really beautiful lodge and I enjoyed relaxing on the beach. We swam a few times and did an amazing day trip on a boat out to see hippos and then onto the small island. We went snorkelling and the fish we saw were really stunning; it felt like being inside a tropical fish tank! I hope to be able to go back there soon as it’s so beautiful.img_20161018_164150996

I’m having a fabulous time out here and still enjoying the freedom of teaching in a relaxed environment. I regularly get visits from a pack of monkeys who are fascinating to watch – the young ones are really brave and seem to enjoy playing peek-a-boo through the window! I’m continuing to go to St George’s and my understanding of Chichewa is steadily getting better – I’m  hoping to be able to have a proper conversation soon!

Our KS2 play will be on soon and the singing is sounding amazing. I’ll post again when all is done with some pictures hopefully. PS. Can you spot the Chameleon below?

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