Curiouser & Curiouser

Last Days

I’m still trying to figure out how to write about the last week of classes.  Perhaps the best way to do that is just to write.  But be warned, this may get long.  On the other hand, I may run out of things to say in the next paragraph.

So, last week of classes.  Right.  Monday began well.  Instead of us playing western games with the kids, the students taught two new games to the kids and myself.  We learned a game called pada which is basically the Malawian version of hopscotch.  It’s really fun to play, because it actually involves skill and coordination.  I wish I had know it growing up!  The other game we learned was called bawo.  It’s kinda like mancala.  It’s got a fairly simple concept, but it’s not easy to win.  At least not against people who’ve been playing it their entire lives.  Oh well, at least I tried.

Later in the day, we began to review.  We continued to review into Tuesday, with the students teaching 5 minute grammar lessons.  That was quite fun, even though I’m not sure they fully understood what I wanted them to do. (The module had many moments like that.)  We played Jeopardy in the last hours of class on Tuesday.  It was fun having three students.  I made them use Chisomo’s rattles and squeaky toys as buzzers, and I think they rather enjoyed that.  Bamus won with a narrow lead of Joseph in the end.

Wednesday-final exams.  I gave them two exams: one on vocab and grammar, and the other on reading and writing.  I’m afraid the first exam took them an hour and a half to write.  I have a feeling they didn’t study very much.  But they all did well on the reading and writing exam, and they all passed the class.  Sorta.  Bamus and Joseph moved on to the Bible classes, while Samson is going to stay in the English class for one more module.  He just needs a little more practice.

We had originally planned on cooking indoors on the electric stove, but as we returned, I remembered that the power had been out since 8 am.  And sure enough, it was still out. So we had to cook outdoors in true Malawian style-on a wood stove.  First we cooked the pig, then the vegetables (tomatoes, carrots and onions) to make a relish (ndiwo) to dip the nsima in, and lastly, we made the nsima.  It’s made with very hot, but not boiling water.  The students tested the water on the backs of their hands to see if it was hot enough, and when it was, they stirred in a couple handfuls of flour.  That cooked for awhile, and then they added in more handfuls until it got thick.  Then, we were ready to eat!

Friday morning arrived, and I still hadn’t packed.  Luckily, I got up at 5:30 am, because all the students were leaving at 6 am.  We were sad to see them go, but we couldn’t really be too sad, because you could tell that they were so excited to be on their way home.  After they left, I finally got around to packing everything up and had finished by 8:30.  So technically, it wasn’t last minute packing.  Ryan and I left for the airport around 11 am, so I had some time to hangout with the Alexanders and Ryan and Jen and the kids.

I really can’t quite believe that my time there is over, even though I’m sitting on a comfortable couch in my new home, and looking out the window at an overcast day.  I miss the clear blue skies and colorful birds and butterflies.  I miss my students- seeing them finally begin to understand when I explained something and how easy it was to make them laugh.  I miss Ryan and Jen and the kids- just being around them and chatting about everything that was going on in our days made my day.  And I miss the Alexanders too.  They became a second family while I was there, adopting me as an older sister and as a daughter.  But even though it’s sad to know this time is behind me now, it is worth it for the joy that was contained in the past month.  And someday, I’ll come back again.


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