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Sugar or Salt! Who will win?

May 26th, 2014 - by Godfrey Masauli in Thuchila Area, Malawi

It's is a spicy time in Malawi. This week marks the long awaited presidential elections and the atmosphere is filled with wonder as to whether Sugar or Salt will win.

In expensive cars, big politicians drive from one village to the next.

"Vote me into power" They shout with their left arm waving, the right dishing out cups of kitchen salt.

"Make me a member of parliament and our community will begin to flow with milk and honey" promises another, giving out fistfuls of sugar.

Voting in Malawi comes but once every five years. Usually, the politician who gives out the most gifts, peppered with lies, ends up winning the race. Following which, they vanish into thin air. Half a decade later, they re-appear donning their gifts again. Like the scratch of a hen to a healing wound, because of poverty, we gladly receive them.

This will be my first time to vote. Rather than being excited, I am confused because I don't understand why these people who promise to serve our nation should gain power by playing with our taste buds.

Given my options, I have no idea whether to vote for Sugar or Salt. All the same, my hope to fellow Malawians is that we all vote wisely.

The Welcoming Committee

May 23rd, 2014 - by Erica Dobie in Thuchila Area, Malawi

I couldn't believe my eyes. There were hundreds. Three, four, maybe even five hundred children flowing down the street like a flooded riverbed. As I set up my landing approach, I marvelled at the distances that some of these children must have run to celebrate my first Malawian free flight.

The energy that was circulating below my feet was intense. All the children scurried out from under my feet as I came in to land. Concerned that I would be swarmed with tiny bodies and a bazillion questions, I frantically balled up my glider and turned to head home, only to realize that I had been completely enclosed with five hundred silent, confused faces.

Through the crowd, Ben emerged, still dawning his bright yellow helmet, panting and carrying a wind sock made from sugar cane and plastic bags. Together we returned to the chief's house where we packed our wings and reflected on the day.

It is becoming very clear to me that, as much as Malawi is a great flying mystery to me, I am just as much a mystery to it.

Becoming A Father

May 18th, 2014 - by Godfrey Masauli in Blantyre, Malawi

Seeing my dear friends, Ben and Erica, in Malawi, fills my heart with a much joy and even more anxiety.

The last time I saw them was on our USA tour. As my hosts abroad, they helped me deal with the new culture and all of the mystery that came with it. Like a baby in the arms of his parents, I could relax in their care.

The tables have now turned around. For four months, I will be the caretaker. It is a dream come true to share my country with friends from other nations. All the same, I am feeling the weight that comes with returning this immense favor to my friends.

“Where will you take them? What will you feed them? How will you keep them safe and smiling?”

These are the questions that are flooding my mind. It’s strange how I lust for my dreams to manifest, yet am always overcome with stress when they’re actually happening!

Nevertheless, since their arrival, I have felt myself moulding into my fatherly role as I take the lead. While the next few months will be full of unknowns, I am confident that there will be plenty of fun, laughs and big adventures!

Godfrey.

Behold A Stranger With A Sharper Razor!

April 28th, 2014 - by Godfrey Masauli in Malora, Malawi

The School of Dreams is greatly honored to have Grace Elizabeth Johnson, a girl from the
USA, volunteering her precious time in Malawi.

Like most kids, Grace was not spared from having a dream. But unlike the dreams that a lot of kids have in Malawi of mostly wanting to become teachers, nurses and policemen, hers was to come and visit Africa, to share her love with the people and also to see the wildlife.

“It has taken over eighteen years from the time I felt this dream in my heart to the time it has
come to pass. Alongside growing impatient, I had to deal with the obstacles of financial difficulty and rejection. But here I am spending time with you! Please, do not lose heart, with a will comes a way. Please join me in saying: Ndizotheka!” Thus Grace concludes her motivational talk at a school, leaving kids reinvigorated with passion and hope.

Grace is The School of Dreams’ first foreign volunteer. From the first day that she blessed us
with her time and resources, I have seen a huge positive impact in both the schools and the
villages that we have visited. Once we were coming from a school visit and, as usual, kids were jumping all over her, some wanting to have their first touch of her long natural hair. Among the crowd of kids was a boy who had dropped out of school; the other kids reported the boy to Grace.

“My dear friend, education is very important, please promise me that you will go back to school” were some of the words that I caught as she held the small boy by the hand. What spurred me to write today was the news that the boy is now back in school.

We have a saying in Malawi that it is a stranger who carries the sharper razor, meaning that, more often than not, a stranger is the one who comes along with the right answers to our problems. Small wonder that the little boy listened to Grace’s words.

Grace’s skills in photography, public speaking, creativity and love make our hearts sing with
gratitude and her generosity in volunteering her time is a blessing to The School of Dreams.

Godfrey

Celebrating My First Day

April 25th, 2014 - by Godfrey Masauli in Malora, Malawi

Today is the day that I first occupied my space on earth. I wonder whether to call it my birthday or parent's day.

I consider myself to have a good memory of the past, but not to the point of remembering my experience on the day that I was born. Hard as I may try, I cannot recall a single moment during the period that I was sucking milk from my mother’s breast. That period of total dependence over my parents makes me appreciate their love. Nonetheless, I asked my mother what happened my first day on earth.

“You were born just before the sun was hitting directly above people’s heads and that makes me think it was around 11:25 am” said my mother who in those days did not have a watch but relied on watching the sun to predict time. She went further to express how my father danced for the arrival of his first born son.

“You cried, screamed, and flapped your arms like wings for the most part of the day. Maybe you thought you could fly instantly!” She joked.
“Afterwards, your uncle came to give you a name. And as you know, naming a baby in Malawi comes with a price. So he brought with him napkins and flowers from mtengotengo tree. Your uncle loved you from the first day” she concluded.

Today, I thank my parents for raising me and teaching me good values in life. I am a product of their love. Whether to call this celebration a birthday or parents day will come as the day passes, for now I’m going to pluck the beautiful flowers from mtengotengo tree and give them to my mum at 11:25am :).

Godfrey

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