by Rhianna McChesney, Education & English Student
In today’s words of Mr. Wells Sikala, HELP’s Country Director, “Lose nothing, gain more.”
Wells spoke these little words of wisdom after he honked our truck’s horn to alert anyone who might have been walking around a particularly sharp bend in the long, narrow, maize-lined, bumpy and winding dirt road on our way to Mlambe Junior Primary School. Wells lost nothing by honking his horn like a mad man when the gain meant potentially saving someone’s life. Something about Malawi makes it easy to adopt this kind of optimistic mindset.
At Mlambe, one of Nanthomba’s local sister schools, we distributed more drawstring bags and water bottles from IFAW. Before passing out the gifts, everyone exchanged introductions with the area chiefs. It was an honor to meet the people who lead the community here. When it was time to leave, the students crowded around us. Touching their hands outreached in gratitude as we inched our way to the trucks made my heart swell with the joy of everything I have gained so far from this trip. Lose nothing, gain more.
by Maggie Stark, Art Student
Day three of sewing!
Today started fabulously with our first African Safari! Guess who saw elephants? Oh yes, this girl! Along with two families of elephants, we saw kudu (like African deer), baboons, wort hogs (yes, Pumba!), water buck, impala, vervet monkeys and a buffalo. It is the rainy season here, which means the foliage is super lush. It was quite the treat to see all that we did.
After the wild safari, we took our tin boat across the Shire river to the trucks located within the park. We all piled in the Land Cruzer heading toward Nanthomba Primary School for our after school sewing session. We passed by students on the road, and they started to sprint in excitement after us.
Alright – we are in the final stretch of winter. (We promise!) Only 9 more days ’till it is officially spring. To help you get ready for the season, we are sharing our spring 2014 suggestions – drawing inspiration from Women’s History Month, of course!
Service learning is defined as a method of teaching that combines classroom instruction with meaningful community service. Many of our students are participating in service learning trips over spring break, including the Art Therapy and Counseling Service Trip to Ecuador and H.E.L.P. Malawi trip. You can lend a helping hand too – in your own backyard! Cleveland is full of spring related volunteering opportunities, whether you walk a dog or clean up a park, every little thing can make a difference.
H.E.L.P. (Hope, Educate, Love and Protect) is an organization dedicated to sustainable primary education in impoverished African regions. The organization believes it is every child’s birthright to receive hope for a better future, education to grow, unconditional love and protection from disease and illness.
For two weeks in March 2014, Ursuline College is sending four students and a staff member to Nanthomba Primary School to continue an established sewing partnership with H.E.L.P. that began in 2010.