Week 5th to 10th November

Malawi's flag
Africa » Malawi » Central » Lilongwe
November 10th 2017
Published: November 10th 2017
Edit Blog Post

There are rabbits in a large pen above the hen enclosure, and when i walk by they run out to meet me. Sometimes I give them the outside cabbage leaves (every day the relish has tomato and cabbage in it, and I am so looking forward to having a salad at the weekend.)
For the next two weeks, (from 5th November) Landirani is training all its CBCC caregivers in Early Childhood Development (ECD). Thirty eight personnel from the ten CBCC's in Landirani's area, are staying here and the training starts at about 7am and goes on till 6ish. While this is happening, Chikondi and I are manning the M'teza CBCC. The first day it went well, we both know the routine in there, and we tweaked it a little, to improve it; make it less chant-dominated and with a little more opportunity for individual response or thought.
The next day, Chikondi had to help with a process in the ECD training, so I was on my own with about 50 children. It was like herding cats. In the end I gave up trying to do anything constructive, let most of them mill about at will, and engaged as many of them that wanted to be engaged with a few songs. Though by then my voice had given up. ,’Follow my leader’ is something they all respond to and copy, but would only follow me. And after I'd jumped and hopped, and chanted, I was knackered. Yesterday we tried to get one of the children to be the leader, but that was an independence too far, and there was no chance of trying it today without Chikondi to translate. Gesture is no good either, they don't get that. I noticed that last time, with the school children.
By the end there were several of them crying and I had no way of stopping them.
One activity that went well on my own was passing a ball round a circle and counting, and number 10 had to run round the outside of the circle. They were beginning to get that yesterday, but trying to get them to hold hands in a circle today was hopeless. They aren't used to copying each other, only the teacher, and trying to link 50 odd individuals was going nowhere. They unraveled faster then I could link them.
Afterwards I had planned to get some of the Standard 3’s over to the library, but I was so exhausted I was glad that the library was in use, and Chikondi still busy.
While the training is going on, everyone is being fed so at least I haven't got to feed myself. Yesterday I had Malawian tea with the group, boiled milk and water, heavily sugared, but wet and warm, but today they were having rice porridge so they didn't have tea. I had cereal, but needed a cuppa, and managed to make a speedy fire, and fill a flask. After the CBCC debacle I certainly needed it.
The evening meal is at 7 pm and after that I'm ready for bed.
Last week I took some photos of the gardens for Kondwani, the permaculture manager. He wants me to write about them and make them into a booklet like the Sam's Village booklet. If Chikondi will translate it into Chichewa, Kondwani hopes that it will be easier to explain to people what he is doing. Last time I had my laptop with me, and typed it up on that; this time I shall have to handwrite it.
After Wednesday's CBCC session I took three groups from Standard 3 to the library. They range from ages seven to 13, as unless they pass their third term tests, they do not move up to the next Standard. Some of those teenagers may vote with their feet and leave school soon. Several of the bright seven year olds already come often to the library.
I'm beginning to flag, and feeling despondent about what I'm doing here, whether it's worthwhile. I've tried asking what activities the training has come up with, but can't seem to get many satisfactory answers; Wezie,the education manager described a game that sounds a bit like hopscotch. They throw a bottle top and if it reaches a designated line the child jumps over it up to eg, line 6, then back and picks it up. “But how are you engaging the other 69 children while one child is having their go?”I asked.
Fixen, the area manager says children only learn through exploring. But they need things to explore, activities, equipment, areas, space. I think the training may be short on the What?
The two-hour session in the CBCC knackers me, I'm starting to feel my age. And I'm losing weight, my all-in-one that used to be tightish round the ankles will now slip up to just below my knees. I'm going to have Friday night in town, and get a lift back on Saturday night. I can swim in a pool and have a salad.
Tomorrow I'm meeting with the primary education advisor about the menstruation pads for girls, and as she will be at a school near Libitina's, the girl I support, and Petro, the boy a friend of mine supports, I shall meet both of them, too.


Tot: 0.472s; Tpl: 0.014s; cc: 8; qc: 49; dbt: 0.0122s; 1; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.4mb