Big changes are afoot at Mtangatanga CDSS.
Thanks mostly to the deep sense of community in this village and the truly tireless vigor of George Chirambo, the buildings have been wired with all the inner organs needed for electricity. (All that is left to do is to coerce the notoriously unreliable Malawian electrical company to bring them to life, Frankenstein-style.) Two different locally operated but foreign-owned companies have generously offered to donate computers once the electricity arrives, but in the meantime, the school now has its own laptop. (Which proved invaluable in typing the end-of-term exams, especially when my own laptop was murdered in an unfortunate incident involving playful cats and spilled wine.)
The most significant ongoing project, though, is expanding the school itself in a way that will directly impact students -- and the dream of building teachers' houses, a library, a computer lab, and a science lab is just now getting off the ground. In what easily ranks as my favorite experience in Malawi so far, the whole school banded together to build a kiln -- teachers and students together, on their own time, working side by side in the sun and the mud, to finish the preparation of several thousand bricks. Pending additional funding for the rest of the materials (which I'm working on right now), I hope I see the whole project come to fruition by the end of my time here.
|The soil is really that red.|
|Gender roles in action. Girls carrying water for the mud walls...|
|...boys chopping firewood to burn the kiln.|
|Mrs. Mbowe at right|
|Photography by George Chirambo.|
|From left to right: Mr. Maukila, Mr. Kaluwa, Mr. Muyira, and Mr. Ng'ambi|
|The two ladies in chitenje: Mrs. Mhone and Mrs. Kanyimbo|