On Earth Day – Friday, April 22nd – I was asked by local Peace Corps Volunteers to attend their Earth Day Education Event at a secondary school in a rural village, Chikweo, which is in the Machinga District of Malawi. This is the outer gate of the Chikweo Community Day School. This is the road approaching the school. As you can see, there are some homes and herds of goats along the way. When we arrived at 10:00 am, the students were eager to start and learn about Earth Day from their American visitors!The Peace Corps Volunteers set up interactive exhibits based on Earth Day themes. Deb Rodriguez Garcia (a former volunteer who served in Nicaragua), set up a table for students to learn what earth day is all about. She made “flash cards” that students studied and she then “quizzed” them on the questions.Of course, giving out candy prizes for correct answers is always a great incentive!Students enjoyed consulting one another about the answers, too!Paul Grossman (also a former volunteer who served in Nicaragua) made a very informative poster and constructed a display table for how seeds are dispersed.
Paul definitely held the students’ attention with his animated way of explaining how seeds travel to become the plants they eat. Stefanie Kramer, who is an Environmental Peace Corps Volunteer in the village of Mattandika, had an exhibit about the nutrients in the soil that plants need to grow.Nyasa Collie is a Peace Corp Volunteer who is currently teaching at the Chickweo Community Day School. She kept her students engaged in a game of learning the names of plants, both in English and their native language.
After the event I had a chance to look around the campus. This was my first time visiting a rural village school. Education in Malawi is strongly encouraged and the students are taught English as their second language; however, resources such as books, paper, and classroom furniture are hard to come by. Also, there is no electricity or running water as is the case in most of the villages in Malawi. This is the source of their water:
These are a couple of the classrooms at the school.