Lake Malawi learning

Me an Helen with some village cuties

Malawi certainly is the ‘warm heart of Africa’, as the guidebooks say it is. We’ve been greeted everywhere with genuine warmth. After spending a night in the capital city of Lilongwe we made our way to Lake Malawi, which spans the length of the narrow country, to Kande Beach, a campsite midway up the west side of the lake. Upon arrival we were in awe of the lake and the size of the waves it manages to conjure up. I suppose it’s on par with one of our Canadian Great Lakes. I’m not sure how it stacks up size wise, but it’s ginormous and is surrounded by lush rolling hills.

Mark with some neighbourhood children

Hiro, our wonderful truckmate from Japan, has been visiting schools throughout his African adventure, which started in Gibraltar and took him down the west side of the continent to meet up with us in Cape Town. Hiro is an educational consultant back in Japan and is interested in seeing how schools operate here in Africa. Mark and I were intrigued and asked Hiro if we could join him on his next visit. His next visit came at Kande Beach to Kande F.P. School. We ventured out into town together to the school where they were expecting us and greeted us with extreme enthusiasm.

lots of students

There were 140 children in the classroom. Grade 8 students mostly 13-14 years old. The teacher was fantastic but had to practically shout across the classroom for his voice to project through all the commotion. The students were reviewing material for their upcoming exams. I hope this was the reason no one was taking notes. On that note: the children are seriously lacking in notebooks, pens and pencils to write their upcoming exams. As a tip to anyone thinking of visiting these parts of Africa: bring pens!

Arigato Hiro

The teacher went over the entire 150+ year history of Malawi, from British proclamation to present day in a matter of minutes. Then Hiro took to the stage and taught the children a bit about Japan. They went hysterical every time he spoke a funny-sounding Japanese word. He did a fabulous job with them and by the end the children couldn’t stop saying “Arigato”.

It was a ton of fun sitting in the classroom with the children. I’m not sure how the teacher felt, however, as they were too busy staring at us to pay any attention to him. They had so many questions for us and generally seemed to love having us around. Some want to be doctors when they grow up, others want to be teachers or engineers. Their english was impressive. After class we shared in a mini recess with them where everybody wanted their photo taken and could ask us more questions. We look forward to our next school visit and to teaching the kids about our home and native land.

Helen in the schoolyard

"take a picture of my flexibility!"

too cool for school


  1. Mama Kate

  2. I love your stories where you are interacting with the townfolk. There still must be the teacher in both of you. It must have been such fun being with the kids, and meaningful to you too. No lions and giraffes, but lots of little faces with big smiles to have you visit their school. I don’t think there would be too many blondes to have visited before. Well done… Love Mom

  3. Maw and Paw Gough

  4. Another great story. It is very good of you to reach out and see the children. Did they have a name for you? like in Sumatra? Wooly boolay.

    What a great experience.

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