NSB Goes To Malawi 2015
Fourteen students and four staff travelled to Malawi, Central Africa, for three weeks again this summer. This was to be the ninth consecutive year that a group from NSB had gone to work with the local community of the central lakeshore region. Prior to their arrival, the group had spent most of the year engaged in a variety of fund raising activities which raised a sum in the region of £10,000, supported by partially by NSB’s Charity Week.
Kapuku Primary School is a rural school 50 minutes’ drive from our accommodation in the hills surrounding the lakeshore. NSB had built a classroom block there last year, enabling all students to have a classroom and the teachers to have an office for the first time. We returned again this year to complete the decoration on three new teachers’ houses on site, which the group had paid to be built prior to our arrival. It turned out to be a timely decision, as one existing house had collapsed in the heavy rains they had suffered earlier in the year.
Alongside work at the school, we visited Dwambazi waterfall, attended the local church and relaxed on the lakeshore beach at the weekends. Those who expressed an interest in a medical career had the opportunity to visit the local hospital located in the grounds of the large sugar plantation and spend a day working with medical professionals. We also paid another surprise visit to the rural health clinic at Chidebwe which NSB funded and decorated in 2012. They were delighted to see us as usual. This year there was a nursery school group in attendance and we were entertained by some very cute singing from the little ones followed by the popular procession of impromptu speeches which accompanies any ‘event’ of this nature.
In addition to working at the school we went on a three day safari expedition to Liwonde Game Reserve, roughly 250 km south of our base near Dwangwa. During our stay we experienced elephants, kudu, impala, cape buffalo, waterbuck, bushbuck, sable, crocodile and hippo on the jeep, boat and canoe excursions offered. The range of birds in Liwonde was again outstanding and included several species of cormorants, storks, egrets, kingfishers, hornbills and raptors. Some highlights included a close encounter with an African fish eagle, watching a bull elephant shake palm nuts out of a tree and seeing a large family of warthogs charge out of a storm drain as we crossed it.
On our return we completed the work on the teachers’ houses and took part in a football tournament, with Team NSB competing against three local teams from Ngala village. There was a crowd of several hundred spectators on the day and the level of competition was high. Despite losing our game, we managed to contain the damage in the second half with a ‘man of the match’ goalkeeping performance. The final was a tense affair, with the only goal being scored in the last five minutes. Cue pitch invasion and dusty celebrations. We then had an opportunity to give out the team kit and footballs we had brought over thanks to the donations from MK Dons, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Northampton ON Chenecks F.C. Just getting hold of a football in rural Malawi requires a round trip to the capital and a huge amount of money by their standards, so these gifts were greatly appreciated. NSB would like to thank these clubs for their generosity.
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Finally we had a ceremony at the school in which speeches were given and gifts were exchanged. The clothing, stationary and educational equipment that had been donated to NSB throughout the year was given and in return we received and enormous bunch of bananas and a big bag of ground nuts. I was delighted to hear that since our visit last year, attendance at the school had soared to 80%.
Mrs Mwase and all the staff at Kataya Lodge ensured we were well looked after and fed throughout the three weeks, and treated us to a buffet meal and a beach bonfire on the last night.
Next year’s project has been identified: another rural school on the edge of Nkotakhota Wildlife Reserve with temporary classrooms in need of replacing. If you would like to register your interest in Malawi 2016, please give your name Mrs O’Neill in the first instance.