Tuesday, August 25, 2009

First Trip to Eshowe Schools - Group 2

Hi, this is Dave from group 2. After a week here in Africa we have finally arrived in Eshowe, and we visited our first school today. We went to Malawi during the first part of the trip, and saw a number of schools there -- focusing on the libraries, and we were usually met by the headmaster or a teacher. But today, we were overwhelmed by the enthusiasm we were met with today from the students and staff! The first school we went to was at Mcakwini, where some homes had been turned into classrooms, and they were starting to fall apart. We pulled through the gate, and the students surrounded the van in a surge, welcoming us and singing. We had been getting used to the strange looks a group of white Americans would draw when going through any area in Malawi, but the enthusiasm and gratitude from the students in the Eshowe schools was unmatched!

We had visits with school officials, and after visiting some classrooms at Mcakwini we were treated to songs and dancing by the students of each grade level. The little kids were so cute, and sang songs about a rabbit and some oranges. And the older students did songs and dances where it seemed they were trying to throw their legs over their heads to stomp the bass part of the song. The thump against the ground was loud and as a bass player, I appreciated the low end. They threw their legs so high and stomped so hard, I don't know how they didn't hurt their feet -- and sometimes they would lose their balance and fall over, and the other kids would laugh at them. Some things are the same all over...

The second school we went to was Mathiya which was up in some hilly country. That's where we saw Africa Classroom Connection at work. The old school had been conducted in an old church building that was literally falling apart from the foundation on up. Then up above them we saw shining examples of ECAG classrooms that were nice and new, and divided into smaller rooms for different grade levels. It was a beautiful afternoon, and the kids performed, then mobbed us to wave at cameras and thank Henry for the classroom he had built and adorned with his email address over the door. They were nice enough to feed us, and some of us are complaining about how we thought we might get thinner on the trip...and with all the food we're being offered, that ain't happening. Such an American problem to have. We look forward to seeing more schools tomorrow, and will experience our first attempt at teaching in a classroom. Should be fun, because today was amazing!

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