Friday, October 29, 2010

Things We Like About Malawi

Inevitably, when you move somewhere new, you're faced with all the differences you do not like. We've shared some of those, but we'd also like to tell you what we enjoy. So, here, in the safety of our mosquito net (where the "mozzies," lizards, and chop-chops (scary spider with large pincers, but no poison) cannot get us) we will share, in brief, some of the things we really like about being here.
  • Parents that support teachers and administration
  • The people (Malawian and not that we work and interact with)
  • Pot-luck night (most Friday nights all the folks on campus get together for a meal. We all bring something. Usually there's a theme).
  • Cool mornings
  • Late afternoon dips in the pool (both kids are swimming under water:)
  • Our son has decided that he will use the bathroom before moving back to America (at age 7)
  • Being able to walk to work (esp. after that 40 minute commute last year)
  • Coming home for lunch (Gwen's out at 12:00. Brian's lunch hour is 12:30-1:30)
  • Chapel at school
  • Going to the market (even haggling)
  • Sobo (This is a liquid you mix with water to make a drink like Tang, but it's better than Tang in the same way chocolate syrup makes better chocolate milk than the powder stuff. Brian does not touch it).
  • Mzuzu Specialty coffee and Chombe "export quality" tea
  • Teaching students from all over the world, who like each other
  • Our church
  • Having people over for meals often
  • Beautiful trees in bloom right now
  • Children being able to play outside with friends without direct supervision
  • Dry heat (not humid)
  • The bread--always fresh and good
  • Living on this campus, we're pretty sure we wouldn't make it in a village
  • Colorful, beautiful Chitinge material (worn as over skirts by women here to keep the others clean, cover pants, sling babies on their backs, etc.) I (Scharlie) have two I wear when market shopping)
  • Getting gelato--Italian ice cream--when we go in town.
  • Our house
  • "Digestic" biscuits as G and S call them (round sweet crackers that Brian consumes by the 150 g package:)
There are surely many other nice things about living here, but this is a good start.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

ABC Christian Academy Reading Day 01 October, 2010

Bilbo Baggins, Angelina Ballerina, and Fancy Nancy made a visit to Reading Day
I was very nervous about Reading Day. Reading Day is a five-hour school day during which there are lots of activities that have to do with reading and during which there are no other regular subjects taught. Also, everyone dresses as a book character. So, I was nervous, remembering how my 6th graders used to act any time they were out of dress code and knowing my team teacher would not be there that day.
We had Gwen's costume taken care of a while back. We had everything but the ears, which I made. I also made Brian's hobbit vest (which was only crooked after having been worn all day--my sewing's not that bad) out of a shirt we bought in the market. I was Fancy Nancy--lowest budget and time consumer of the three, worst outcome. You can't tell I'm wearing heels in the picture, but my feet have not yet recovered. 
 But, coming to the point, Reading Day was WONDERFUL! First we gathered our kids and talked about who they were dressed to be. Then we had a pre-school-6th grade parade around the campus while the older students watched. Almost all teachers participated in the dressing up. We ended up in the pavilion, where Brian emceed a time of story telling, a brief skit featuring some of us teachers, and the announcements of costume winners. (Samuel came for this part dressed in his Peter Pan outfit). After that we had our regular snack and recess time. We then went to our classes for other activities. I read Going on a Lion Hunt then had them draw themselves with the lion. The 3rd graders came to read to them, then two parents read. We finished the day with a lively pretend "Lion Hunt" outside and settled down finishing of The Lorax.
The older students had a regular day, but teachers were encouraged to go along with the reading theme. Brian read about Eustace being "un-dragoned" from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader in his Bible class. One student was encouraged to go back and re-read the Chronicles of Narnia. 
And, it was not chaotic. It was fun. My students were so excited about their costumes, the extra snacks parents sent, the books we read, the skit the teachers did. I had already reminded myself of what the day was supposed to be, so it was hard not to be excited with them, especially since  they were so delighted with everything and only got a bit unruly once and were quickly set to rights. For next year we're going to plan costumes this summer, so we don't have to be up late the night before. (You know me). I've also been pretty gratified that Gwen's worn the mouse ears part of most days since then. I love that girl.