Mwaya Mondays- Vol. 15, Monday 17 September, 2012
By RIPPLE Africa Volunteer Joan:
“It’s been a busy week again at Mwaya. But first the important news – great fish curry last night, and an excellent delivery from Mzuzu including pineapples and loads of lovely vegetables! There are also lots of bananas, so perhaps the depleted stock of banana wine can be replenished if we can get some yeast! We have a chicken on order from Collin’s chicken farm for Sunday, so we are being very well catered for. Agnes is still not well, but Martha, Geddess and Fabiana have been working hard to keep us happy with delicious evening meals on the deck.
This week’s new volunteer is Grace, from North Carolina, who was eventually reunited with her luggage in Lilongwe, and came on Tuesday. She has brought a great range of art materials which will astound the children in pre-school, and some of the primaries. We’re all looking forward to seeing the treasure trove of resources she has brought! Matt, Jess and myself have all been up at Kapanda, teaching mainly Physical Sciences and English, but also some Maths and Biology. Jess has been discussing with Andrew projects for the school garden and a manual about successful local planting techniques. She’s also going to help with record-keeping about test plots in the garden.
Staff at Kapanda were cock-a-hoop this week as last year’s Form 2 have done spectacularly well in the Junior Certificate exam, and will be starting as Form 3 on Monday. 46 out of 49 pupils passed, which is a great record. Form 1 are still settling in, and establishing the pecking order within the class! The students all seem very proud of their school, and appreciative of its facilities, basic as we would tend to find them. Lots of pupils have been turning up for extra lessons down at Mwaya, though maybe the attraction for some of them is the chance to meet up with the opposite sex after school! Last night two of the Form 4 girls turned up especially late, but looking very glamorous!
Jess has also been out and about with Charlie at a meeting of coordinators for the Changu Changu Moto project. That’s coming on well, if slowly, in terms of data collection. Apart from missions of mercy (rescuing stranded staff, and stuck vehicles), Charlie has been out and about quite a bit, driving to Usisya and south of Tukombo. He’s keeping us right with the rhythms and rituals of Mwaya life, from firewood to port drinking!
Barton, one of the library assistants, has written some short stories, so a bit of editing and redrafting has been going on, with a view to seeing if any could one day be published. We’ve all managed to fit in a bit of swimming, reading (thank you Kindle!) taking photos, a trip to Nhkata Bay, ukulele practice (Jess and Matt), so, all sweet at Mwaya! Past volunteers won’t need reminding of the magic of the lake, and the amazing dawn chorus of rich and strange bird sounds. Hard to convey in words!
Early fishermen sing lustily
As they push their hopeful boats
Out into the silken waters
of the dawn lake.
Morning mothers scrub
Their children’s well-worn clothes
Laying them – with tender precision – on the hot sand.
Afternoon children leap and frolic
Cresting the wind-driven waves,
Sun on their bright faces,
their limbs free.
Night-time stars arc expansively over
The dark waters
Lights of fishing craft ring the horizon
Regular as a seaside promenade.
Incessant, the crickets chirrup on…….
Don’t forget to check back next week for the next instalment of Mwaya Mondays!