MLOL Heart

Dale Henderson, Principal Teacher, Pirie Park Primary

Sep 30,2023 MLOL Blogs

Well it has arrived… the final day of training!

In some ways the week has passed by so quickly but in others I feel we have achieved a lot in such a short space of time. We’ve had a lot of meaningful discussions regarding moving forward with the project and what’s working well in the training and what needs adapted.

As I said in yesterday’s post it’s a shame that you feel you’re really making headway and in the swing of presenting the training and then it’s over… nevertheless from a selfish point of view I’ve really started to miss my wee boy and as amazing as the whole experience has been (for the second time) I’m totally ready to get back to my son.

Over breakfast we were all feeling tired but we were geared up and excited to deliver our final training. Gillian and Michele set off slightly earlier as they were working in a rural school whilst Sharon and I were returning to our usual haunt of Blantyre Girls. 

On arrival at Blantyre Girls we would usually be greeted by a group of people who had arrived promptly to begin the training. However, today we were greeted by no one… the door was locked and the curtains closed. After a few phone calls by Charity, our driver for the day, we were assured the participants would join us in due time as there had been a communication error. 

The communication error actually meant we could have a wonderful hour watching the celebration assembly happening on the school grounds. It was amazing to feel, hear and see the excitement around the school. Parents were in attendance and the school pitch was full of happy, cheerful singing girls from school. Something I love about Blantyre Girls Primary is on a Friday the staff wear the school uniform. This brings such a sense of togetherness for me. 

Soon we had enough participants to get started with more joining us throughout this morning, keeping things interesting and keeping us on our toes. It was another great morning of collaboration, learning from each other and participation in tasks. I was hoping by this point in the week I’d be an absolute expert in the Chichewa version of head shoulders knees and toes but unfortunately it’s mostly the tune I’ve picked up and my Chichewa will remain a tad rusty for another year. 

The feedback was strong again and many participants asked to exchange phone numbers so that they can WhatsApp about any further guidance or advice, which I was only too happy to do. We distributed some extra materials we had left such as pencils, pens and sticky notes which our colleagues were delighted about. The professionalism of the teachers in Malawi continues to surprise me. They work with a ridiculously low amount of resources and a ridiculously high amount of pupils yet every day they turn up, they try their best and they continue to strive to do their best for their learners.

Truly an inspiration!

Of course everything is about perspective so I’m not saying it makes our job in Scotland any easier but I will be returning home tomorrow with the knowledge of how fortunate and lucky we actually are to work in the conditions that we work in. 

Tonight, we went for a delicious meal in a local restaurant to celebrate another successful week of MLOL training.

We are enthused and excited about the journey MLOL will continue to go on and are returning to Scotland full of ideas and discussion points. 

I will return home with a full heart and a full suitcase (thanks Patricia) with memories of the schools and the people of Malawi that I will treasure forever.

Thank you so much to the people we have met who have made us feel so at home, to the charity for allowing me to visit again so soon and to my school for allowing me the chance to come along for the ride.

Also a thank you to you for taking the time to read my blogs - I’ve loved documenting my trip and putting my thoughts down on paper (or an iPad) every night. 

It’s been unforgettable.

‘One book, one pen, one child and one teacher can change the world’ - Malala Yousafzai