Hyde Students in Mpamila Village, MW service trip, march 2017

The Go! Malawi Campus in Mpamila Village, Malawi. The view from our chalet.

Thank you very much for participating in and supporting our programs! Go! Malawi runs the following programs: conservation, education (After-School English Program, secondary and college student scholarships, primary school support) community support (individual loans, coffee farming cooperative, support for various groups). Your support was recognized and appreciated more than you realize! You had an impact!

When you attended the Under 5 Health Clinic a few of you weighed babies and recorded their weights in the charts. More importantly, as the community sang songs explaining community, nutrition and awareness you were there to listen, validate and confirm the importance of tracking babies and planning for new family members. You provided renewed energy for Henry Chimuonenji, the new clinician at the Under 5 Clinic. This clinic has been in operation for only a year and focuses on the health of children aged 5 and under. The major illnesses he treats are malaria, diarrhea, fever and malnutrition. He was very proud of his clinic and expressed his desire for electricity to see at night to test malaria and observe his patients properly, rather than by candlelight. As I told him later we would make that happen he smiled broadly exclaiming that the government often fails to provide support, but to know we will come through in times of need eased his anxiety and gave him hope. As you sat and listened on the porch of his clinic and watched him as he gave out the nutrition tablets earlier to the one year olds you inspired him to keep working by validating his efforts. Thank you for that!
You all motivated the entire school committee as well, because when they saw we renovated the standard one (first grade) classroom, the committee pooled together their funds to fix the adjacent classroom’s floor and walls. You all gave that gift as well, the gift of motivation! The contrast of seeing the standard one classroom with a new floor, patched walls, murals and paintings they soon realized they couldn’t allow the other classrooms to be in such poor condition any longer! In the meeting I had with the teachers they were so thankful for the paintings, drawings and time spent in standard one! The standard one teacher was glowing and said “I have never been in a room that was so beautiful. The room creates interest and is now a place to be proud to teach and learn in.” So, thank you for the gift of interest and pride!

Thank you for the time you spent building the playground! We are blessed in America to have an abundance of playgrounds as it is understood children need time to play. Playing builds cooperation and creativity and fosters critical thinking and independence! There is much evidence that shows creative play is an important part of learning! Schools with limited resources don’t allow the children to play as they don’t have the space or facilities. This playground will provide hours of play for children! Seeing you with some local villagers collaboratively digging holes, carrying tires, slashing grass and climbing trees to hang ropes and chains for the swings was wonderful! When I saw five girls on the large tire swing laughing simultaneously that was reward enough. I didn’t need another reason to be reminded of why we needed to build a playground! If girls do get the chance to attend school, they return to fetch water and firewood and cook dinner, so I was delighted to see girls enjoying that very moment with feverish delight! Upon completion of the project we will have one large galimoto (a 5 bench minibus) with a steering wheel and roof, a small climbing elephant, 4 see saws, 4 tire swings, a large tire cross, a large tire pyramid, a wooden cubby house and a newly groomed soccer pitch. Thank you for taking the time to make this happen. It was hard work with limited and failing equipment. Your patience and perseverance was rewarded!

Building the playground pang'ono pang'ono (slowly, slowly)
After-School English Program in session and standards 5 and 6 on a hiking outing during the Program

When you attended the After-School English Program your presence confirmed again the importance of staying in school and learning. Girls often drop out and get married very young, ending the path they were on to independence, stifling their confidence and closing doors. Go! Malawi provides scholarships for all students that pass 8th grade, and they must pass the Standard 8 Leaving Exam. The After-School English Program is vital to provide the skills the learners need to pass that exam. Some of you may have forgotten the types of nouns (haha) when the teacher called upon you, but your support in the classrooms was important for the children and the teacher! When you paid attention to a girl, and when the American girls sat in the class, it provided hope and stirred up motivation to continue schooling, to not give up and work hard. Go! Malawi gives out 64 awards after every term, 32 are for girls. They work hard for them and your kindness and attendance again supported that mission!

When you hiked onto the mountain and planted trees with the students and patrol men and women you once again provided support for a vital program! Conserving the rainforest is very important as it provides the life-giving water, and the rains for the area. It also improves the economy as tourists come visit the mountain. Many of the girls had never been up on the mountain and as the standard 5 and 6 students stood taking in the view on a lookout and oohed and ahhed in synchronized union it was quite special! It is crucial the young Malawians that live at the bottom of the mountain become interested and curious about the Ntchisi Rainforest. This will improve their knowledge and hopefully open the door to harvest responsibility and develop desire to protect this important resource! Go! Malawi provides the funds for the patrolling program and for purchasing and nourishing seedlings for planting on the mountain. Your enthusiasm on the mountain treks, your unwavering support to hike, carry seedlings and dig holes on the top of the mountain to plant indigenous trees was amazing! The young students hopefully learned something from the patrolmen and yourselves. It was also exciting to be invited to the school, on their own planting day which they held on their own accord! This shows they are developing interest in planting trees and protecting their neighboring rainforest!
Planting herbs at the Chimwemwe group's garden! The group sang on departure: "You are the best!"

The HIV+ Chimwemwe group also enjoyed your respect and attention as they shared their story with you. Throughout my course of visiting this group and talking to members over the years it was quite special to hear upon closure of the meeting they wanted tee-shirts with their name on it, as well as a metal sign on the road to point to their office. For the group to traverse from a few individuals seeking solace in times of despair, as they were shunned from the community, to standing proud in front of you asking to advertise themselves was quite impressive! Many of the ladies gave me proposals for starting independent enterprises as well upon departure. Thank you for listening to their story and showing them that they are important!

Students in the community working and playing!
Enjoying the lake for the weekend!
Day One: The group standing on the site of the future playground.

Thank you very much for providing support for all our programs and giving your time and energy to help others! I hope you will remember your new friends and have a new perspective about what you have! I hope you will be thankful for clean tap water, indoor toilets, hot showers, paved roads, school classrooms, caring teachers, excellent health care, food options, and tools that are available and maintained easily. As one student stated in standard 8 as they gave an example of an abstract noun in Ms. Hambleton’s class, “Luck is being able to go to school.” So I hope you don’t take that for granted and additionally take time to unplug from wifi daily to be mindful, breathe and take account of what you have! It was truly a pleasure getting to know all of you! You are always welcome to Mpamila, Malawi. I appreciate all of you and wish you the very best! Zikomo, Janet

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