2 years ago

Winter Edition 2017

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Winter magazine out now! Going to 35,000 families at our member schools, all raising funds for great causes.

OUR AFRICAN adventure

OUR AFRICAN adventure Cheam School pupils Harry and Tom Miners tell School Notices about their inspiring and life-changing trip to experience the real Malawi If you worry your kids are overindulged, then you’re not alone. Concerned their boys, Harry, 10, and Tom, 8, were living in “a cloistered, privileged bubble”, Jennie and Stuart Miners decided to organise a half-term trip with a difference to Malawi, one of Africa’s poorest countries. The idea of the trip, organised by social enterprise tour operator The Responsible Safari Company, was to expand their horizons and open their eyes to a totally different way of life, where the basic need to provide food, water and health are a priority and where education is not a given, but a privilege. Here, the boys recount their inspiring week setting up solar power and mosquito nets in a school on Lake Malawi and reflect on what the experience in the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’ taught them: DAY 1 We landed in Blantyre and drove through town. All the houses are small, in poor condition and have tin roofs. Many are unfinished. There are boreholes along the roads for people to collect their water daily. We saw ladies carrying heavy piles of firewood on their heads and men with machetes trying to catch mice they can eat. Harry and Tom DAY 2 Last night we slept under mosquito nets. This morning we made recycled paper by hand. Lots

TRAVEL of children gathered to watch – they had not seen many tourists. Then we hiked to the top of Thyolo Mountain. It was stunning and we were so proud to reach the top. DAY 3 We drove to Liwonde National Park. We are staying in a safari lodge with solar power. We saw animals, including elephants, baboons, buffalo, impala, antelope, mongoose, jackals, warthogs, porcupines and an owl. DAY 4 We got up at 5am for a safari. We saw a dazzle of zebra, 200 buffalo and some beautiful elephants. We then went on the River Shire and saw hippos and crocodiles. After a twohour drive we arrived at our thatched lodge on Lake Malawi, which was powered by generators. DAY 5 We went to the Rainbow Hope School. It was so different to Cheam with just two buildings and four tiny classrooms. We saw the solar equipment we had arranged for them. This will let the children use computers and stay and do their homework after dark. We joined a lesson on agriculture and how to grow better crops. We showed the students how to use a mosquito net. They had a debate on the advantages of sleeping under a net (no malaria) against using them to fish, protect crops or build fences. We gave every student and teacher a net, and they were so happy. Then we joined The Book Bus to give English lessons. As the sun went down we played football with some local children and visited their home, which had no electricity and where all five children slept in one bed. We saw the mummy cook dinner on an open fire for her children. It is called nsima, which Pumping water at school is water and maize flour. We didn’t like the look of it! DAY 6 We went to another school and took part in two English lessons. There were 50 children sitting on the floor, most with dirty clothes and no shoes. When we left we gave the children exercise books, pencils, pens and sweets. Malawi football Back at Rainbow Hope we gave footballs, netballs, rugby balls and a talk about how to play rugby. The headmaster thanked us for the solar power and a girl read a poem about how her sister and brother had died from malaria, but now the net protects her. We ended the day playing a game of tag rugby. COMING HOME Malawi is known as the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’ and everyone was very friendly. Even though they are poor, they are educated, happy and work so hard for a better life. The children wore old clothes and no shoes but they spoke English. Our visit to Malawi made us realise how lucky we are to have the simple things in life like food, water and electricity. This experience has been life-changing and we hope to return in the future. The Miners travelled with Orbis Expeditions and The Responsible Safari Company English lessons W I N T ER 17 ★ 25


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