First, I want to thank everyone that reached out to me over the last few days. It truly means a lot to me. If you know anyone else that is out in the missionary field please pray for them daily and send them a message, it truly does help us during our toughest days.
I have struggled the last few days to write a blog on my time at the school thus far. The school can be extremely frustrating due to the mentality of the staff members and the school committee. I first will walk you through my typical day. The sun is rising at roughly 5:30/5:45 which means it is time to wake up and get ready for the day. I refuse to take a shower in the morning because it is extremely cold at that time and it would just make me cranky. We have a small breakfast and head out the door about 6:30 in order to ride our bike 45 minutes up several hills, past many corn and tobacco fields, in order to get to the school. We arrive at the school about 7:15 to a handful of students cleaning the classrooms and front yard with a bundle of tall grass, used as brooms. About 7:30/7:45 a lot more students have arrived and the Headmaster (Principle) has gathered the students in rows in order to sing morning songs and have prayer before starting school. At this moment only about one teacher has shown up and is able to assist during the morning ceremony. Teaching in the classrooms are supposed to start at 7:30, but only two out of six teachers has arrived.
The students are now sent to the classrooms while the teachers talk and wait for the others to arrive. Some days teachers do not show up because of a plethora of excuses. For example, they were “busy,” hungover, or just didn’t feel like coming to work. This can happen anywhere between two to three times a week. Over the last week and a half, all the teachers have only come to school once. The other teachers come anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour late, because the walk to school was too long. About 8:30 the teachers begin to teach, if a teacher didn’t show up for the day their class just plays outside in the field for the entire day. The class periods are about 25 minutes long, many times after a class period the teacher will call for a break, which should last about 10 minutes, but usually last roughly 30 minutes. There have been many days that teaching has been disrupted for the students to build bricks or pick corn in the field. I have not truly understood this method completely, and probably never will due to the cultural difference. It is very often that school has finished at about 11:30 am and all the students are sent home.
Many of the students walk a few miles in order to go to school. With the plastic bags in hand hold their torn notebooks and with holes in their clothes the students are ready to learn. I have had the pleasure to teach several English lessons and break the material down for the students to understand. English is the student’s third language that they will have learned by the age of 8. This causes many struggles and confusion when trying to understand a lesson fully in English. The students must also use a lot of memorizing skills due to the lack of textbooks in each class. In certain classes, there are four books for a class of twenty-five. I commend each student for their bravery and readiness to learn even with the lack of textbooks and supplies that a normal American class would have. I would never take any frustration I have with how the school is running with the students. The students have such a pure heart. They enjoy running around barefoot, and playing in the field, enjoying life like any other child.
It has taken me some time, but I have found the project I will conduct for the students while I am here. All of the schools in Malawi require a uniform. Regardless of whether a student can afford the uniforms they are allowed to come to school. At the school I teach: 40% of the students do not own a uniform, and 85% of the uniforms have large tears, missing buttons or completely do not fit the student. It cost roughly $2 to buy a new uniform for a child.Something Amazing will be donating new uniforms to the students that do not have a uniform roughly 35. We also will be repairing the broken uniforms and making them like new. The students have a sense of pride when wearing these uniforms. We want to ensure each child can feel a sense of happiness when coming to school and not a sense of shame because they cannot afford a uniform. School should be a place of refugee when a home situation is not ideal. Something Amazing has hired a local tailor which will help make all of the uniforms for the students within the next few weeks.
Something Amazing is still receiving donations to help provide uniforms for the student. If you donate $10 you just provided a uniform for 5 students. We thank everyone in advance for helping with this project.
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Until Next Time,