CAMP SKY! CAMP SKY! CAMP. SKYYYY! Now that i got your attention……segue….I know that lots of you out there are thinking, “Man, the world is a messed up place. Syria. Ukraine. Twerking….I wish there was at least something small I could to do to try to better this world.” Well, you can! Some awesome teachers in Peace Corps Malawi (and I) are putting together an education camp for form four (seniors) students in Malawi. It’s called Camp Sky! Their entire futures rest on passing one national exam (you may have heard of the term, “teaching to the test”….X that by 10) and we’re trying to not only get them ready for that, but to give them career advice, encourage their creative sides, and inspire them to dream big! Additionally, some of their teachers will be there to learn from each other how they can better help them to do this. That’s where you come in! “Who me?” you say?! Yes you! We need some help to reach our budget goal, which includes supplies, transportation for students and teachers to the camp, paying for the venue, a field trip to the US embassy, guest speakers, food, etc. Below is a link where you can donate to our cause (100% tax deductible!? Why not do it!). Anything at all will help. Got 5 dollars? Great! Got 2 cents? Also great! Got a billion dollars? Even more great! Let’s help some great kids. Together!
Also we’ll be live blogging throughout the week, so check out this link to keep tabs on what we be doing and also for more info:
Sports section of the Luwazi Gazette! Article by Ngongo. I’m quoted!
My old student newspaper interviewed me for a story! Yay!
Malawi 101: Bucket Wine
Left: before tasting. “Is it supposed to smell like that?!”
Right: After tasting. “Not the worst!”
As time ticks down for me in Malawi, I’ve been thinking about things that I haven’t done yet that define the quintessential Peace Corps service. So I made a PC bucket list of sorts. First on the list-make homeade bucket wine (HOW’S THAT FOR A SEGUE)! A popular pastime of PCVs errwhere, brewing bucket wine combines 3 of our fave things: cost effectiveness, hooch, and just having something to do besides sitting around watching chickens. I decided to undertake a first attempt at creating my own fine vintage a couple weeks ago. Here was my process:
Ingredients: 3 kilos of sugar, 3 packets of brewer’s yeast, tea, Sobo juice, 20 bananas, and 20 liter bucket of water…I mean fermenting chamber (vintner lingo?!).
I dissolved the sugar in the water first. Then I added some tea bags to pique the tannins and threw in some Sobo juice concentrate as a preserving agent (does it sound like I know what I’m talking about? I have no idea why I did that but it seemed like something people do). Then came the fruit. Based on a lot of research and interviews, I decided that bananas would be the simplest thing to try first (they were the first fruit I walked past in the market). So I sliced up about 20 nanners and just threw them in the concoction. Then I sprinkled in the packets of yeast, stirred it up and covered it. Easy enough. I had to travel to Lilongwe for a few days, and on my return I found my elixir effervescent and foamy. I drained out the fruit and particles with a chitenje, and covered it back up to sit another week. 8 days later, I decided to try it out, and you know what? It wasn’t terrible! Some rave reviews:
“Hey! Tastes wine-y!!”
“If I was a prison inmate, I’d totes make this in a toilet… if there were no other options.”
“Drinking this makes me feel like the opposite of Paul Giamatti in Sideways but I’m kind of okay with that.”
“This better not give me phossy jaw…”
“Not as big a disaster as the Challenger explosion.”
(focus group: me)
So it’s not the greatest, but it’s still decent ersatz wine. I probs won’t try it again here because getting the stuff to my remote house was kinda a pain, but maybe someday I’ll give it another go in the first world.
You may be wondering: did I use a secret ingredient? Heck yes! But I’m not telling you, it’s classified and I’ll take It to my grave! (also it’s highly illegal and only found in one place on Earth, and I can’t rat on my suppliers in Madagascar…whoops…I mean somewhere else). I ain’t no snitch! Omertà!
And here’s a cool article that pretty much explains why I’m a hero for making banana wine in Malawi:
Just kidding, but that story’s pretty cool.
Read the article. Sad but true. It’s not really present here in the North at all from what I gather, but I remember hearing loud drums one night during our homestay stage of pre-service training in the village of Katsekaminga (which was in the central region), and my host father telling me that it was the call for boys to enter the woods for initiation ceremonies. I also remember hearing stories about the “hyenas” during training from our trainers. A common overarching theme in Malawi is the schism that often appears between traditional and modern values, and this is just another example of the problems that can come with blindly living in the past because “that’s how it’s always been done.” While I greatly respect and admire the culture and traditions here in Malawi, this potentially dangerous mindset is used too much as an excuse to curb progress. Hopefully brave students like Grace can continue to show their fellow youth that it is possible to both celebrate the past and embrace the change necessary to evolve and grow as a people. On Malawi!
What subject am I teaching again??!! #smh #happymidterm
Check out rainy season in Africa!
Hey look my hometown is in a crossword I’m doing in Africa! Neato! #therealeau-c
Had a good lesson in Form 1 today about the future tense and making short-term and long -term predictions. Some of my faves ones that students shared in class:
"I believe that in 50 years it will be loud."
"Today, I predict I will eat nsima." (duhdoy)
"I feel that this term I will pass Form 4." (written by a Form 1 student…I guess it’s good to be confident, but I’m curious to see how they pull it off)
"In 10 years, I will live in China."
Same student: “In 50 years, I will be a grandmother in China.” (she’s obvies got a plan and sticking to it. Bully for her)
"I predict that in 500 years I will be a ghost walker."
"My prediction for the year 2014 is that I will be elected President in the Malawi elections." (Khumbo 2014!)
"I predict that in 500 years the world will end." (optimist)
"I think that in 10 years the world will end." (pessimist)
"I predict that in 500 years I will be singing with Jesus." (that’s nice)
"Tomorrow, I believe I will be singing with Justin Bieber." (that’s not as nice)
"I believe that when I finish Form 4, I will be a lawyer."
Same guy, later in class: “I predict in 10 years I will be a carpenter.” (so many implications here to think about. Will law not pan out for him? Why? Will being a lawyer bore him, and will this boredom in turn lead him to a new profession involving more actual bore-ing? Will he want to be a blue and white collared dual-threat? Doesn’t that type of collared shirt seem like it will be kinda hot and burdensome, metaphorically speaking? Does he carry a briefcase or a tool belt? Does he ever find time for fun? Will he someday provide the inspiration for a sitcom called, “The Chopping Block,” about a modern day lawyer/carpenter who must balance the trials and tribulations of two drastically different professional worlds while avoiding getting the axe, with only the aid of his pet squirrelfriend/emotional support system/bodyguard Gavel? Does the carpentry thing become an elaborate ruse for him to create accidents and mistakes on the part of the construction companies he “works for” under a fake name/moustache, only to later represent the victims of such grossly mishandled domestic mishaps in court, netting him millions? I predict that thinking about this any more will make me crazy….)
"After classes, I predict that I will just sit for one hour."
"In 10 years, rappers will be trying to sing." (they’re already trying that dude, and it’s called auto tune)
And then this student/angel of truth and light raised her hand, solidifying her A in Form 1 English and her place atop the golden sparkly throne of enlightenmental justicey glory that towers above her mere mortal classmates: “In 10 years, Mr. Stanley will be president of the US and Malawi.”
Some more solid predictions from last week’s midterm exam:
“In 5 years, Malawi will be in Japan.”
“When I am 20 years, my future is doomed.” YIKERS
“After 500 years I will be died.” Chimodzimodz, bro.
“In 5 years, I am America.” (And so can you!)
“Justin Beiber will be the greatest artist in the year 2014.” Don’t let Wongani down, JB!
“I will do a ghost walk.” Is that like a moon walk?
“In 48 years, I predict I will go to Heaven to see the Jesus.” Very specific. Is that how long it takes to get in for an appointment? Also: I’m on board with everybody calling him “the Jesus” from now on like this kid.
“I predict that I will go to the house of the Stanley and I will mop.” Hasn’t come true yet, Gladys! Also: I’m on board with everybody calling me “the Stanley” from now on like this kid.
Only time will tell…