CAMP MALAWI 2008 - URBAN
The Blue Hippos roar for their class picture.
Stephen meets Mrs. Mwasse
Kip and Ashley lead the Green Elephants chant.
Photos by Nancy Chuang & Kip Myers
Opening each day with spirited team chants and closing the events with an astounding presentation of new school supplies, volunteers at Camp Malawi may have been even more deeply affected by the experience than the joyful students.
The urban portion of Camp Malawi was spread over four exhilarating days, held at the Wukani Education Facility in Mzuzu where now six of the We Are One boys attend school. Owners Mr. and Mrs. Mwasse, good friends of Rosemary and Moffat, have a strong interest in the American style of child-centered education and throughout the camp professed to be learning as much as the children.
One hundred students were split into 4 homerooms and given color-coded t-shirts emblazoned with "Camp Malawi." Homerooms were the Blue Hippos, Yellow Giraffes, Red Lions and Green Elephants, each with an assistant chosen by Moffat and a Wukani teacher as an extra hand.
Classes were given in Arts & Crafts, Leadership & Ethics, Health & Sports, and Digital Photography. Students displayed great originality in the morning assembly with team chants they created and choreographed, growing more enthusiastic each subsequent day.
The Arts & Crafts class was one of the most popular. Students drew pictures telling a story and played with donated materials from Kaleidoscope/Hallmark such as puzzles and paper glasses. Meegan Neeb, Stephen Bock and Jamie Talley guided students on color, texture and narrative, encouraging self-expression. Even without much previous experience, the students took to these activities immediately, and quite a few showed true artistry.
Stephen & Meegan teach Arts & Crafts.
Health & Sports started each day with Rubina Hussain's brief lesson on body functions, proper nutrition and keeping fit. Students learned stretches and examined a model of the human body with removable organs. Then Rubina, Heather Gauntt and Andrew Longstreth took the class outside for typical American games. They played kickball, ran three-legged races, held jump-rope competitions and learned to limbovery popular with the teachers as well.
Tim Ayers and Nancy Chuang divided the Photography classes into pairs to share the 12 donated used camerasall different so students required quick personalized lessons on use. After discussing basics of composition and lighting, students were let loose to take photos of their classmates in the playground.
Happy takes a picture of Mary.
Students also served as photojournalists for the camp, quietly observing and documenting the other classes. The limbo portion of the Sports class was a clear favorite of our young photographers, with the skits in Leadership & Ethics class proving most difficult to capture well.
These skits revolved around scenarios that Kip Myers and Ashley Huff created, but students could interpret them as they pleased. Scenarios involved different types of interaction, such as shopkeepers and customers, employees and bosses. Students learned encouraging lessons from Nelson Mandela's life, and on the final day gave speeches based on concepts like "courage" and "forgiveness."
Lending the speeches an air of professionalism, the girls wore brand-new necklaces handmade by Jessica Taylor and the boys wore ties from various generous donors.
Lennie with her new necklace.
Onesimus with his new tie.
On the final day, students watched The Lion King. The electricity problems experienced in Kande Beach were not repeated! During the movie, Tim and Nancy created galleries of the talented photo students' best work with the help of a portable photo printer. After viewing their class galleries, each student received a photo to keep.
Back in homeroom, we returned their homework, composition books and bags full of arts & crafts. But they needed something to carry all this in, right?
Examining their new backpacks.
The female students shimmied their way into our hearts.
To the students' cries of disbelief, we handed out brand-new, beautiful backpacks donated by Jansport, containing toothbrushes and toothpaste courtesy of Stacey Sorkin and Colgate, and Crayola crayons donated by Kaleidoscope. Very few students owned backpacks, and the quality available in Malawi is poor. These Jansport bags will last many years, and to the students' delight, all came in unique designs.
In the last assembly, Rosemary thanked everyone and was thanked profusely by all the educators. But it wasn't over yet! After handing over brand-new sports equipment to loud cheers, Rosemary gave Wukani a check as a final token of appreciationsmall by American standards but it got both teachers and students dancing, clapping and screaming.
The girls had prepared a traditional Timbuca song and dance of thanks to send us off. Pairing their "Camp Malawi" tees with classic wraps, they impressed us with their best hip-shaking, with teachers Nelson and Samuel on drum accompaniment. After a round of hugs to all our students, we were finally ready to say goodbye.