Rob Pfeiffer Blog 1/4/2016 Back to School Time
The aftermath of all these holiday events is a huge letdown. And, add in the departure of the “crew” of young men who have been here for the past two weeks, and someone must have hit the pause button. What a wonderful group they are and they all carry high aspirations thanks to Go! Malawi. These young men have nowhere else to go at breaks from school, but bring great energy here. They get up early and help me with water or other projects and are so appreciative of the chances they are receiving. Sufi wants to be a doctor, Noel a teacher, and Hassan a technician working with electronic equipment. Their friends also are aiming high. Go!Malawi pays school fees to secondary schools for qualified students. Some are boarding schools and some are not. If there is no provision at the school for housing and food, we also support the students with money to eat and pay rent. Imagine high school students living on their own including cooking, cleaning, and homework/bedtime. They were all excited and eager to bite off the next chunk. I sure hope they do well and miss them at the same time.
Monday morning at seven o’clock, I’ll be parked at the school recollecting the seedlings we passed out the last day of school last year (yup, get used to it!). We passed out 200 seedlings; one per willing student to help them bond with our reforestation project; we will see what comes back. Notebooks and pens for the treekeepers. To that end, I just stopped at the lodge to borrow the pickup. On the way down the hill, I stopped at the village on that side to inquire about the whereabouts of my drum, borrowed after our New Years party by a member of the band. As I inquired after the drum, a crowd of children formed around me. I am getting a bit used to inadvertently providing family style entertainment for small hordes of children from three to thirteen or so. The older ones are too cool to show their curiosity. Sometimes I’ll have ten youngsters chasing me on foot as I ride my bike. Other times, they stand in a line extending a hand. In any case, they are squealing joyfully throughout our encounter. This crowd wanted to ride in the back of the truck back to our compound. I found a mother who signaled thumbs up and off we went. The joy that five minute ride imparted to those kids seems immeasurable and they were so respectful and thankful at the end. It certainly doesn’t take much to brighten someone’s day here.
The “monkeys” who flew 20 feet over my head yesterday proved to be baboons eating breakfast in an old growth fig tree. I disturbed them with my squeaky brakes and they were downhill and needed to cross the road where I stopped to get up to high ground and safety. They are marvelous, graceful creatures and seem to travel in families or groups of some sort.
We are still dry here so watering is back on the agenda. Our garden is producing green beans, Chinese cabbage, and tomatoes and it is January. Pretty cool! Life in the Southern Hemisphere. That is some of the news from Malawi.