A field trip to explore the history and art of Malawi.
Educational field trips are vital to enhancing the education of the students at Kuwala. Exposing the students to events happening outside of rural village life allows them to appreciate all the opportunities that are available to them and will enable them to think outside the box, ask questions, see, hear and touch surroundings that are different from theirs and encourage them to want to learn and achieve more in their studies.
In December, the students took a bus trip to a historic site in Mua Mission, Central Malawi, which is the KuNgoni Centre of Culture and Art site. It was established in 1976 by a Canadian Missionary, Fr. Claude Boucher Chisale, to preserve the Malawian culture. The Centre provides insights into the history and culture of Malawi through the Chamare Museum, the Carving Centre and Research Centre/Library.
The Museum describes Chewa, Ngoni and Yao cultures, their rites of passage, their interaction with one another and their encounter with Islam and Christianity. It holds a unique display of Gule Wamkulu masks, texts and images. On the trip, the girls hiked through the lush tree-lined grounds with the highlight of a spectacular waterfall, nothing they had ever experienced before in their lives.
The Kungoni Centre of Culture and Art is more than a museum; it’s a fusion of history, culture, and art, creating a captivating experience. For a first-time young visitor, it’s like uncovering a trove of cultural marvels. Each item, from sculptures to paintings, opens a portal to a tradition-rich past, beckoning a deeper understanding of diverse worlds. Such encounters are transformative, making history palpable and art a generational conversation. This experience kindles curiosity, expands viewpoints, and sparks a lifelong interest in cultural discovery.
At Kungoni, every artifact and corner tells its own tale, leading to a path of discovery and wonder. For young minds, it’s not merely a museum trip, but an introduction to a harmonious world of history, art, and culture, inspiring them to ponder, inquire, and envision.
The students have an active role in the Campus Green evolution and it continues with planting despite
the lack of rain.
Over the holiday break, the planting continued on the farm. Groundnuts, maize and tomatoes were weeded and transplanted. The creation of a drip irrigation project will help with the management of water resources. The theory involves using empty plastic juice bottles placed over a plant and dug into a hole in the ground. Applying manure around the bottle and then watering it into the top allows the bottle to serve as a mini holding tank that reduces water loss due to evaporation. Daily watering by this irrigation method will facilitate access to water.
Security shelters have also been constructed throughout the farm to keep the guards safe and out of inclement weather while minding the farm.
Malawi’s planting rains, usually expected from October, arrived late in 2023 on December 27. Due to the school schedule, students had to plant before a two-week holiday, risking lower germination rates due to insufficient rainfall.
A new science lab is now a reality. The equipment has arrived and a new chapter of excellence has begun at Kuwala!
The arrival of new science lab equipment and materials at Kuwala in Malawi marks a significant milestone for the school, ushering in a new era of advanced scientific education for its students. This equipment, arriving by shipping container at the beginning of the New Year, symbolizes more than just physical tools; it represents the opening of doors to a world of discovery and innovation for students who previously had limited opportunities to engage in practical science. For these students, engaging with real scientific apparatus and conducting experiments is transformative. It’s not just about learning the theories of chemistry and physics; it’s about experiencing them firsthand, turning abstract concepts into tangible realities. This hands-on approach ignites a passion for science and encourages critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
The equipment enables projects and experiments that were previously impossible. Students can now delve deeper into the natural world’s mysteries, exploring everything from chemical reactions to biological processes. This practical experience is invaluable, providing them with the skills and knowledge necessary to pursue careers in science and technology. These fields are crucial for the development and advancement of their community and country. This enhancement of the school’s science program demonstrates a commitment to educational equity, giving students at Kuwala the same opportunities as those in more privileged environments. It’s a significant step in levelling the playing field and ensuring that every student, regardless of their background, can explore their potential and contribute meaningfully to society.
Giving back brings Christmas Cheer to the community elders
This year drought has brought tremendous hardship and uncertainty to the families and communities surrounding Kuwala, many of which are the same villages our students come from. Small parcels of food were packaged and distributed to older adults.
Appreciative of the gifts, older adults came to Kuwala and were greeted by Memory Mdyeteni, Malawian Board Director—who shared the word of God with them, encouraging them to take care of their environment and encourage their grandchildren to attend school. She said, “Canadians have managed to give you food for just two or three days, but if you encourage your granddaughter to go to school, you’ll have food for all days.”
In the warm, flickering glow of candles, the school community came together in a circle of light and hope.
Each candle passed from hand to hand,
symbolized the unity and shared dreams
of the students and teachers.
Amidst this serene ambiance, Memory Mdyetseni, Malawian Board – Director, stood, her voice resonating with a message of hope and inspiration. She spoke to the students not just as learners but as beacons of knowledge and change for their village. Her words encouraged them to spread their newfound wisdom to their families and siblings, igniting a spark of progress and enlightenment in each of them.
Kuwala, she described, was like a single candle’s flame – a symbol of hope and dreams. As each person in the community shares this light, it can illuminate an entire school, village, and even the nation, bringing forth a bright and promising future.
As dusk turned to evening, the spirit of togetherness continued. The air was filled with the joy of Christmas as they celebrated the story of Jesus’ birth. Drama, songs, and prayers created a tapestry of festive cheer. The highlight was a Christmas dinner, where everyone came together as a school and as a family, sharing in the joy and fellowship of this special occasion. It was a night that reminded everyone that, together, they could be a force of light and positivity in their world.
Extended version of the January 2024 newsletter.
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