Brittany from Canada arrived at a similar time as the School Visits were in full swing. She also threw bricks at me and was so much fun to have around the lodge. She worked fulltime and full heartedly with the little leaper’s school as Patti’s assistant. The children loved her laughter and kindness. Patti sadly went back to Canada after being here for 5 months. She continued to support Little Leaper’s right to the end of her stay but became involved in lots of other things. She put on a huge event in town where hundreds of people were present. It was a great success and lots of fun for the whole community. She plans to come back and really support the youth and women of Nkhata bay. Its main focus was on empowering people to dream with lots of activities to demonstrate this.
Ying Yang from New Zealand came to volunteer with us for a month also and worked on an irrigation system and environmental projects around the lodge including the bicycle pump. She also went to Gulugufe and helped me out with some fundraising initiatives and power point presentation that has been a massive support to me back in England. Thanks!
Ying Yang also encouraged me to write about the Youth Club. Volunteers have struggled to know my vision and know what it’s all about. I have now written an interactive volunteer folder for it, that they can read when they arrive, to know what to do and what not to, and add to which will help other volunteers introduction run more smoothly. The Youth Club has had a good year sharing the space with the little leapers and nothing has gone missing so it’s wonderful to see the resources grow and be used to their potential.
Gina, Demi and Sophie the project trust volunteers who were up in Dindano wanted more work so they came down in the afternoons to run Youth Club. I was amazed they didn’t want to flop after teaching at the nursery school with over 50 kids each morning but they really love children and showed their commitment by walking an hour to butterfly and back to be involved even more. It has been confirmed that we will continue to have project trust volunteers up in Dindano. I can only pray that they are as good as those three. They worked so hard and were so dedicated to their cause, living out of their comfort zones. I have learnt that future volunteers will need more support and more facilities as not everyone will be as accommodating as them but let’s hope they are as hardworking.
The school that CRED is going to work at in February, – St Maria Goretti, is where I have built the disabled class room. This building is now finished but the builder went a bit AWOL in my last few weeks in Malawi so I didn’t get chance to start furnishing the place. A lovely volunteer Jess came at this time with so many wonderful toys that are to go in this centre. My dream of it being this sensory overload, creative fun place is really coming together with all the things that are being brought out. Jess bought a tent with lots of different textured balls and twinkly lights. I found her with one of the members in the tent and it bought me to tears with the vision coming to life. The smile on little Rachel’s face was a delight.
Jess worked with the disabled youth and was so active going off on home visits with translator Thomas. She managed to get old members with severe disabilities to come back and invited 5 new members to the club.
I have always encouraged the students of this school to have bits of work around the lodge on other days of the week. (Many of you reading this will think of wonderful Wame and his incredible work and support.) Jess invited two of the new lads, Bless and Davey to come and water the gardens. It really gives them a sense of purpose as well as a bit of cash to take home so value to their family. Amos continues to make dream catchers which have also sold really well, thanks to Brittany. These members are clearly thrilled with their jobs and we just need to think of some more. Jess also visited some of our deaf members and spoke with parents, resulting in two members going back to deaf school, one of them sponsored by her.
Jess also worked alongside our massage team and introduced a fourth member be a manager for them as they rely too much on me to get their customers due to their lack of English. Beatrice has finished her studies and back working in the kitchen so she has learnt the skill and helps them by spreading the word with new posters and tempting sales techniques.
Another fantastic volunteer that joined us was Genna Davies. She had been mailing for months to set up her exchange of skills. She was on her medical elective and out District Health Officer welcomed her to his tuition. They became a compatible duo and were equally valuable to each other as well as the hospital and the community. The hospital is very understaffed and under qualified so she was an asset to the team in her fourth year, being able to do all kinds of procedures and save many lives. She was a credit to her profession as she never was off duty and saw to problems in and around the lodge as well. Her smiley disposition and dedication has really opened up a chance for us to accept and actively search for more student doctors for the hospital. I was so eager for her to return each day to hear all about her day and what problems she has faced in this challenging and rewarding environment. I have already linked her to another potential student who might shadow her excellent approach next year.
Genna’s boyfriend joined her after 2 weeks with skills of his own that are equally valuable to us here at Butterfly. He was Mr Mark who worked in the primary school for a month and became very popular with super hero summer fun madness. He managed the two year groups well and introduced new themes and developed more phonics and existing curriculum. His gentle giant approach was very popular with the kids and they loved having him there. The parents also saw the development of their children when they were invited to an open day celebration and results. The positive feedback and commitment to the children in this class stands in good stead for the future developments of the full primary school next year.