Hi this is Scott Hartzell. After several days in Malawi, and a stop in Jo-Burg for a tour of Soweto and the Apartheird Museum, on September 6, we arrived in KwaZulu-Natal in the town of Eshowe. Our focus here is schools, but we had to eat, of course, so went to Shakaland to see a Zulu dance performance and eat fabulous food.
The next day started the most important part of our trip. Michael and Lungile, new friends of mine, who work for Eshowe Commununity Action Group. In three days they took us to five schools where we met many teachers and lots and lots of kids. Some of the schools were more than a two-hour drive over very bumpy road.
Scott and Jeff with learners at first school
I used some maps we brought to show them where I live and compared that to where they live. I also showed them a picture book, I made about White Bear Lake, Minnesota and my home. They laughed when they saw the snow pictures and they really liked the picture of me with my dog Lovey.
- Emphusheni Primary School teaching- Del George Jeff Scott
I liked the all the learners, but their schools need lots of work and they need more classrooms and books.
Now our visits with the schools are finished and we are off to some safaris. Then we’ll fly to Cape Town.
Today we went to Upper Mhlathuze and Sogodi Primary Schools in Zululand. At Sogodi, they have 144 learners in 4 classrooms, but it’s very difficult to have two classes simultaneously when two grades (like first and third) share a room. But the teacher in the blue headband, Mrs. Nokuthula, was inspiring. She introduced me to one third grader who is “naughty” and “clever” and I saw myself. :-)
Sogodi Primary School
Hi this is Scott Hatzell. Once we finally arrived in Malawi and settled down, I met Dr. Trywell Nyirong0 from Nchenchena. He was very helpful and he was able to keep up with my flash walking style. We wandered through the market and heard people call us Obama’s Children. We’ll keep in touch with Dr. Try. He is a wonderful person and everyone who met him liked him.
A day or so later we went to Lake Malawi, the fourth largest freshwater lake in the word. Lake Superior, where my brother has a home on Madeline Island, is the largest. So we would tell people about Lake Superior, and they would understand where we lived. I took a rest day and hung around Lake Malawi with Jen and Wendy—they ate fish heads and I ate Chieck. Mary Jo went to meet Charles Tepero, who took some of the group to two schools, Mtonda and Nasenga. She left a Madeline Island ABC book with Charles–the first one to be left in Africa!
MaryJo gives Madeleine Island book to Charles Tepero near Mangochi, Malawi
We spent a day in Johannesburg learning about the apartheid era with a tour of Soweto, which used to be a teeming slum but is rapidly being redeveloped, and a morning at the Apartheid Museum. Hard to believe 20 years ago black South Africans couldn’t come to our hotel for dinner without permission.
Today we flew to Durban and drove to our favorite little town Eshowe, where we’ll be visiting schools that we’ve built or need building. There’s a contentious teacher’s strike so most of the schools are closed, but we’re told that our visit is enough motivation to get many teachers and students to come to school the next few days. I feel worst for the 12th graders, because they have graduation exams in a few weeks and no teachers to help them finish up their course work and prepare for the exams.
Four great days in rural Malawi, in Mangochi, Zomba, and Mua. Schools in Mangochi celebrated in anticipation of thousands of Books for Africa books coming in a few weeks, and the Dean of Chancellor College School of Law showed us where the new library will be. Friends Trywell and Mwaona and Henry Solomon (my Malawi twin brother) had good talks and good times, and an intense game of spoons last night. Life is blessed!
In Mangochi, we visited Mtonda Secondary School and Nasenga Secondary School, both of which will be receiving books soon from Books for Africa as part of the same container that will have the law library for Chancellor College. It was great to see a copy of the World Book Encyclopedia, atlas, and dictionary previously placed by Books for Africa in conjuction with the Malawi Rotary Clubs! The schools are closed for break, so there were no classes being held, but we had a fun time playing counting games with a hundred of the village kids.
Nansenga has World Book from Books for Africa
We visited the University of Malawi – Chancellor College Faculty of Law. This Law School is the recipient of Law Books from Thomson Reuters through the Law and Democracy Project of Books for Africa. We met with the Dean, Dr. Fidelis Edge Kanyongolo, who educated us on the student population and the need for learning materials and books.
I was able to present a Black’s Law Dictionary to the Dean on behalf of Thomson Reuters.
Presenting Black's Law Dictionary to law School Dean in Malawi
The Dean mentioned that Malawi gained independence in 1964 and most recently in 1994 became a multiple party democracy. This new democracy is in great need for attorneys and legal resources.
Tammie with Malawi Law Students
It was so nice to chat with Law Students in Malawi. The current first year Law School class is comprised of 72% men and 28% women. We talked to students about their learning resources and they all talked about the need for law books, especially topical books like contracts, tort, and commerical, etc. Currently they don’t have enough books to have their own, but need to share books in the library. The Law School has received funding to buy shelves and prepare a new library area to display the new Thomson Reuters books.
Five of group 2 were bumped off the flight from Johannesburg to Malawi. :-( For those of us (Wendy Prescott, Jen Messmer, Georganne and George D’Angelo) who did arrive on schedule in Malawi, we were greeted by fellow travelers from Ethiopian and Kenyan airways all landing at the same time. The airport was like no other, the chaos was incredible, three full flights bringing in travelers from across the globe sharing one luggage carousel. What a sigh of relief when George hoisted our suitcases over the stairway railing after infiltrating the masses.
We received a warm Malawian welcome from Henry, Dr. Nyirongo, his grandson, Mwaona and Henry Solomon (who we called Henry Jr.). The ride to our hotel, the Korea Garden Lodge was full of the sights and sounds of Malawi. We especially got a kick out of the gigantic mice kabobs being sold on the side of the road. We were told it tastes better than chicken, we found it tempting but decided to pass them up.
After a quick freshening up we headed over to the market. We were instantly surrounded by all the boys telling us to use our brains and buy their goods. Thanks goodness for Dr. Nyirongo and Mwaona to take us under their wings.