Questions and Answers
You can use the link below to ask us questions, before, during and after our trip. These can be about things you would like us to find out while we are there. I will post the questions and answers on this page just like on my health page. You can also have a think about anything you would like me to try and bring back and photographs you would like me to take.

Questions and Answers

How will you be able to speak to the people there?

In Malawi they speak english as well as their own language so communication will not be a problem.

How hot is it?

The first few days were very nice and warm about 24 degrees but when we moved to Blantyre and went into the schools it was very cold and we were very wrapped up. The children were freezing and this was really hard to see.

How many teachers are in the school? - Taylor Fairbairn

Well there are more than 1,800 children in the school so there are a lot of teachers too, although not enough to make the classes very small for the pupils. At my school there were 36 teachers so that is a lot of pupils per teacher!
click on the map for photos!
click on the map for photos!
I have come back safely from Malawi!
Last year I went on an educational study visit to Malawi from the 27th June to the 8th July. Ten teachers were chosen from throughout Scotland to participate and it involved meeting with educational advisors in Malawi and then spending time with teachers and pupils in schools.

This was a wonderful chance to share good practice with another country and establish lasting links with schools there so that our pupils can learn more about another culture. Scotland has a long tradition of being associated with Malawi, indeed one of the places I visited is called Blantyre and Malawi is where David Livingstone spent a lot of time.

And I have been again this year! I was accepted onto LINK's global teachers programme and went back to Malawi for 5 weeks during the summer holidays. I worked with the management team in a school in a rural area for 3 weeks and then worked with teachers and management in a district education centre for the last 2 weeks as the schools went on holiday then.

During the visit I stayed with a host family in the village. I was guarenteed my own room with a bed, a mattress and a lock on the door. It was a well constructed mud hut, there was no electricity in the whole village and the toilet was a hole in the ground outside!



Click on the picture to see some cool photos of the school I was in in Malawi
Click on the picture to see some cool photos of the school I was in in Malawi
Questions and Answers
Are the schools different from our schools? - Demi-lea and Rebekah

When we get back to school you will see just how different their schools were in terms of how they looked by the photos I have but in some ways they were quite similar - like in the things they learned and what the teachers were like. It was hard though to look beyond the poor state of the buildings.

Are you going to be sad when you leave? - Rebekah

I was sad to leave as it felt like we had only been there a very short time and had not been able to do much to help. We hope to stay in touch with the schools though and help out in other ways. At the same time though it was almost a relief to leave too as it had been so sad to see the poverty and know how lucky we are when they have so little and it is hard to deal with.
Click on the picture to ask me a question
Click on the picture to ask me a question
Diary - Thursday 28th June 2007
Well we got here safely - and our luggage, which we were pleasantly surprised about. The journey did not seem to take as long as 24 hours but was still really tiring. We got help up once we were on the plane in Edinburgh just about to take off as there was a suspected gas leak at Heathrow and no planes were allowed to land. I was very glad we were not already nearly there and having to circle. We eventually left at 4.00pm, instead of 2.25pm but we were just pleased to leave as originally they gave us a very pessimistic departure time of 8.05pm, which would have meant we missed our next flight.

The plane to Johanesburg was a 747 I think, with 8 seats across and an upstairs section for 1st class. Unfortunately we were rather squashed in and sleeping was really hard. We arrived in Johanesburg at 6.30am and we are now one hour ahead of you at home. We had about 3 hours in the airport but it is rather nice and did not seem too long. Our last flight was about 2 and 1/2 hours, it was a bit bumpy but we made it.

We were met by our guide and driver from Wilderness Safaris. The driver, who is called Lemon, will be with us for the entire time but the guide, who is called Everlasting, is only with us in Lilongwe. They gave us individual hand made folders with our itinerary and other information and a wooden keyring each with an animal from Malawi. Our suitcases all had to be loaded into the back of the minibus via the windows which must have been hard work.

We are split between two different lodges and they are lovely. We have just been able to have a little time outside to relax and recover from the journey. It is very pleasantly warm but will get dark early - about 5.30pm - and will get cold then too. Tomorrow we are meeting various officials and I should be able to write more after that.
Sat 30th June 2007
I do not have long to write as we are just about to depart for Mvuu safari camp where we will spend one night and hopefully see some big animals!

Yesterday we had a meeting in the morning with representatives from the education department of the government, before meeting with representatives from the teacher's union and a member of VSO in the afternoon. In between these meetings we had the chance to go to 2 local markets - one being the touristy one selling lots of wooden crafts and the other being the real local's market where they did their shopping and could sit and eat. In the evening we went out to dinner with a retired Scottish teacher who had been volunteering here for 3 years with VSO, working in the training college for would be teachers. We then got to see around the college and heard one of their choirs practising. So we did not stop working until 10pm on a Friday night!
Wednesday 4th July 2007
We have been extremely busy here so I have had no chance until now to come and find a place to use to write this up.

We had a wonderful time on the safari and saw lots of animals like impala, warthogs, bushback, crocodiles, elephants and hippos. In fact the night we were there an elephant was right outside our lodge, leaving huge footprints, heaps of dung and had destroyed a tree.

We then travelled down to Blantyre on Sunday and spent Monday in some meetings and seeing all around the different schools the teachers would go to. Tuesday we spent in school observing and helping in various classes and then today we took groups of children and did some writing and pictures with them that we could bring back to show all of you and hopefully to make friends and lasting links with them. We took many gifts into each school and the pupils and teachers were delighted with them and so grateful.

Tomorrow we are going to a place called Mulanje and we will visit a couple of rural schools where the conditions will probably be even worse than we have already seen.

It was very upsetting going to the rural schools as they had even less than the children in the rural schools - not any attempt at anything on the walls, none of the children had shoes etc. But they were so pleased to see us! We left them a box of resources and the teachers loved seeing everything and trying it out. It was a bit of a scary ride back from the school to the main road - it really was rural - the bus was skidding and sliding all over the place like it would if it was snowing.

Friday was a national holiday as it was independence day so unfortunately the schools were closed but this let us reflect on the trip as a group and start thinking about how we were going to share the information we had learned when we got home.

We left on the Saturday and got to spend some time shopping in Johanesburg airport - very nice - they take switch which was rather surreal! Some of us, including me, actually went home with bags heavier than when we came out due to buying so many crafts etc. Unfortunately the flight from Johanesburg to Heathrow was the worst I have ever been on for turbulance and I did not sleep at all. The poor guy next to me actually asked if I was okay at one point!

I will put on some photos soon and write a bit more - my computer at home is as poor as the ones in Malawi at the moment due to a bug!
Scotland-Malawi Day
We had a Scotland-Malawi day in October to raise awareness of the country for the pupils in the school. We had visitors from Mary's Meals and Street Child Africa and I spoke to all of the classes and used quizdom with them to check their knowledge!
Look for our page on Other Cultures to see photos and more information.