Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Camp Sky Part Two

Besides academics, the students at Camp Sky did a number of other activities.

On Wednesday the US Deputy Ambassador Michael Gonzales came to speak with students. He told the students about his background coming from a poor family and how he worked hard to put himself through school and
get where he is today. He talked about the American dream and how they
should work for their own Malawian dream. This really seemed to resonate with the kids, and several of the students in my group mentioned his talk throughout the week.

Thursday afternoon we held an Egg Drop. The teams were given various
materials and instructed to build something that would protect an egg.
Then the eggs were dropped from various heights to see which device
was the most successful. It was a fun way to put their physics
knowledge into practice.

In the evenings there were different activities like a Poetry Night, a
Forensics Activity where they solved a pretend murder by comparing
hair samples, fingerprints and interviewing suspects, a Math Night
with various probability games, a screening of Romeo and Juliet (which
is part of their Form 4 syllabus) and a Variety Show. For the Variety Show the students sang and performed skits. Us PCVs got into the act too.  We did a skit about what it is like to ride a mini-bus, and we sang the US National Anthem.

Here is a student performing a song at the Variety Show:

After the evening activities we broke up into our small groups and had
Group Reflection, which was a time for the students to share about their experiences from the day, including their Highs and Lows, and reflect on the theme for the day. Then the kids went to bed and all the PCVs had a staff meeting before we went to bed.

On Friday the students did a volunteer activity where they planted
trees at the local hospital for a windbreak. Then we did a two-hour
session on goal-setting, and a wrap up for the week. Then it was time
for the Disco! The Disco was actually pretty funny. When you take the
most studious kids from each school and put them all together in one camp, you do not end up with a group of party animals. Two campers in my group asked me if they could leave early and go to their rooms to sleep.  A bunch of students were doing Physical Science homework in the corner during the disco. A lot of kids were just sitting at the tables. DJ Andrew had a tough gig trying to please the Malawian students and the PCVs. The PCVs were not too into the Malawian music (although there are a few I like), while the students were not
impressed with the American music. But there is one song that gets everyone dancing-- Malawi's "Chop my Money"!

The next morning it was time for the kids to head home. They hopped in a matola (a truck with an open bed) to be transported to the nearest bus depot. How do you get 72 students into a matola? Very carefully.

The food was great all week, especially the desserts. The staff really outdid themselves with this giant cake they made for us.

And that was Camp Sky. The days were long, but so rewarding. The kids
asked great questions, did their homework, were excited about the
labs, and were just a fun group all around. I had some great
conversations with the students about America, gender roles, science,
computers, and their goals for the future.

Thanks to everyone who donated to Camp Sky! You made this all
possible.  While PC allows PCVs to attend the camp and pays for our
travel expenses, the camp itself it completely funded by donations.
Your donations paid for the facilities, transport for the students,
classroom supplies and lab materials.

Check out the Camp Sky Blog for more photos and posts by the other
PCVs about their experiences during the week.


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