Four primary schools have been selected in Malawi to work with MLOL 2018 - Blantyre Girls School, Kapeni Demonstration School, Chisawani Primary School and Milala Primary. In addition our Early Years Team will also be working with Mary's Meals. Prior to departing for Malawi we were all assigned our schools. Myself and my colleague and friend Laura McEachran will be working in Kapeni Demonstration School. Today we visited all of the MLOL 2018 primary school
Stop 1 - Blantyre Girls School
After dropping Viv and Mary off at Mary's Meals we drove to Blantyre Girls School. We hope to see round the Mary's Meals depot at some point during our trip. Janis and Evelyn will be based in Blantyre Girls School.
Blantyre Girls School is an urban primary with just over 2000 children. The Headteacher there is called Ruth and she was most excited to see us. She is supported by two Deputes as part of her management team.
This is the most affluent of all of the MLOL schools this year but still has class sizes of around 200 children. This is bigger than a number of schools in Scotland. One of the teachers in Blantyre Girls School won the Best Teacher in Malawi Award and is very respected by her peers in both Blantyre Urban and Rural. Blantyre Girls also boasts a large stadium area for sports and other activities.
Stop 2 - Kapeni Demonstration School
Next we travelled to Kapeni Demonstration School. This is the school both myself and Laura M will be working in. Kapeni currently holds 8500 children and the role is growing everyday. Class sizes are around 210 children per class however some classes double up when classrooms are limited. There are 80 teachers who are managed by Douglas the Headteacher. Douglas is also supported by three Deputes - Ruth, Wilson and Grace.
We were greeted my many excited learners and had the opportunity to visit a few classes. The size of the school and the number of learners was a little overwhelming at Kapeni but I feel reassured by the Headteacher's confidence and relaxed approach. I have a really good feeling about this school and am confident I will take a great deal from this experience.
Stop 3 - Chisawani Primary
Next we moved onto Chisawani Primary. Blantyre Girls, Kapeni and Chisawani are around 20 minutes away from each other by car. Although the time can vary depending on traffic much like at home in Scotland. As we ventured towards Chisawani it became clear that we were moving away from Blantyre Urban and into Blantyre Rural. Our immediate surroundings became less populated with big houses and cars on the road were fewer.
We were greeted by Obeck the Headteacher and some of the pupils from Chisawani who sang for us. What a treat that was. Obeck, like the other MLOL Headteachers in Malawi and our Headteachers back in Scotland, is supported by a Senior Leadership Team made up of Depute Heads.
One of the Deputes gave us a grand tour of the school. There are around 2000 children in Chisawani. Children come from the surrounding townships to join school here. Some children and teachers work outside under trees. For these pupils and teachers this where their classroom is based everyday. Like many schools in Malawi there is a water pump onsite for the children and local community to use. Obeck took great pleasure in showing us his house. Many school leaders and teachers in Malawi live on campus. Whilst at Obeck's house we also had the pleasure of meeting his mum.
Stop 4 - MIlala Primary
Our last stop of the day was Milala Primary. This is by far the most rural school so much so that Lynne and Gill, who will be based here, will be travelling in a separate vehicle to the rest of the group to save on time and fuel. Milala is approximately 60 minutes from our accommodation at Kabula.
Some interesting sights here included a staff room under a tree, a boulder reminding children to wear their school uniform and rows of stones to help the children line up in straight lines at assembly. There are 12 teachers at Milala and 9 of them are male. This is very unusual for schools in Malawi.
Over all a fantastic day has been had by all. I have been able to see all of the schools my colleagues will be working in in Malawi and have had my first taste of Kapeni Demonstration School. I am more than ready for this adventure and am excited to start in Kapeni on Tuesday.