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Published: December 11th 2013
Where to start. Sorry for the delay in updating my blog but I've been very busy of late. Over the past two weeks I have been delving into different projects with a varying degree of success. Unfortunately, there is a major cup competition taking place on the only football pitch in town so their has been no training for two weeks. I have also been informed that this competition will be taking place for a month or so which is a shame. However, the school term finishes next week so the kids might not have been inclined to train anyhow. Never mind ey!
Despite not being able to train, there have been many positives with some of the other projects and this includes the nursery school. Francis, one of the gardener's at Butterfly and myself have been doing some general maintenance on the garden. The nursery school was built by Butterfly some years ago and there are approximately 30 children, 2 teacher's and a cook. The children range from 2-4 and volunteers have the opportunity of helping out or teaching there. I decided that teaching children English as a second language wasn't for me but I was more than happy
to help out in the garden. Currently, all the children receive porridge on a daily basis if they attend school. Now the rainy season has arrived in Malawi, our hope is to plant some fruit trees to try supplement the children's diet with fruits and other nutritious foods. Not only will this give them more of a balanced diet but the garden can act as a place of study, where the children can learn the basics of how flowers grow etc. Furthermore, we have also planted veranda which is a tree used for erosion control. We have done this because there are many steep slopes surrounding the school which wash away the soil and it's nutrients. Over the coming weeks, we hope to have planted all the seeds and have the garden ready for the children to use once again.
The disabled project was another initiative I joined in with last week. Alice, one of the owner's collects up to 30 disabled children/adults every Friday and brings them back to Butterfly. Everyone who attends lives out of town and they all have a range of physical and mental impairments. It seemed that I attended on quite an eventful morning
compared to normal as we ran out of diesel just before we entered town. This meant that I had to push the truck some 600 yards on my own so we could fill up with gas. AJ then decided to do a tricky manoeuvre on an "African" side road and got the vehicle stuck. Luckily, some locals were very kind and helped us push the car out of a ditch. Eventually, we made it back to Butterfly with 6 of the guys who regularly attend. As well as joining in with the primary school children, the kids/adults all receive a wholesome meal free of charge. It was great to see how happy everyone was and it was a pleasure to get involved. This project really sums up the ethos and aims of Butterfly which is about serving the local community. Not only does it provide some respite for the parents, it also acts as an outing for the various disabled children/adults who attend where they can socialise with one another and use the facilities that Butterfly have.
Teaching. I never thought I'd end up teaching but as some volunteers have recently left, there was a need for a primary
school teacher. There are 10 children ranging from 4-7 who attend the school on site. AJ teaches English from 8-9.30 then Megan and I teach Maths/Science from 9.30-12 (includes a 30min break). I've only been teaching this week but let's just say it's been interesting. It appears that everyday one child decides to be extremely naughty so we have been battling with that this week; plus tantrums, fighting and I'll leave the rest to your imagination. The school has been running for 18 months and provides an education for Ezmeekie, AJ's daughter and some of her friends. Their is a vast range in their abilities but the kid's are willing to learn which is pleasing to see. Despite the problems with teaching English as a second language, it has been rather enjoyable and it is great to be busy in the mornings.
More gardening - I've also been doing some major pruning on site as many of the trees are either dead or overgrown. Custom, the other gardener and myself took it upon us to do some labour intensive work. I started off using a saw but once Custom showed me his Panga (Malawian machette), we were hacking off
branches for fun whilst I was trying not to cut my arm off!!
As you can see, there has been rather a lot going on over the past few weeks. Butterfly also has a new website thanks to Annie and Steve and their are other projects which are slowly being developed. The new website looks brilliant - link here http://www.butterflyspacemalawi.com/
As well as volunteering, I had a day trip to Mzuzu to indulge in some ice cream and to get some cash the other day. Despite their being 3 ATM's in Nkhata Bay, it appears that they never want to work when you need them. Typical. Mzuzu is the Capital of the Northern Region of Malawi and has a sprawled out town. It boasts various restaurants and everything else you'd expect to see but they have an incredible market. I managed to pick up a t shirt which say's "everybody is Irish" on it for 800 kwacha (£1.30) which I couldn't resist buying. As well as visiting Mzuzu, I've spent some time in the markets shopping around for cheap sandwich fillers and food in general. I'm currently eating peanut butter, onion and tomato sarnies which are a treat,
plus the odd banana. Now I'm not on any volunteer deal, I can essentially eat wherever I like so I have been eating in town with the locals which made a nice change. Not only is food cheap and a plate full guaranteed, but this is where one can socialise with the local people!! Swimming has also been on the cards and you'll be pleased to know that I haven't been eaten by a crocodile yet, although one was apparently seen in the Bay a few weeks ago. It was probably a big lizard though as you can always see them on our rocky beach.
Whilst the views in Nkhata Bay are pretty spectacular, with the arrival of the rainy season they have got even better. There is no longer a haze out on the horizon now so one can see the hilly landscapes of Mozambique which are roughly 40km away. We have also been treated to some amazing sunsets. They certainly make you appreciate where you are and so on! Sitting on Butterfly's sun deck watching the sunset at 6pm, looking out to Mozambique with a beer in my hand never get's dul. Until next time, speak soon.
- Pub quiz every Thursday @ Butterfly Bar - 8.30 pm.
PS The photo's below are of Livingstonia and Luskwe beach where I went for a day hike. More photo's coming in the next blog.
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