Friday, May 15, 2015

My First Malawian Graduation... and a Surprise

When I took the Malaria Awareness Club to Mimosa for World Malaria Day, I ran into my friend Olive. She had attended GRS Training with me and was one of the Form 4 students at Camp Sky. She  invited me to her upcoming graduation. So today took a mini-bus over to Mimosa so I could celebrate with her.

I met my PCV friend Justin and we walked over to the ceremony together. On the way we passed this vendor selling goat meat. Check this out-- goat intestines wrapped around stomach. Yummy.

When we arrived, we found the ceremony had already started. Turns out we had the wrong start time. Also, their Guest of Honor had not shown up yet, so they needed a new one. And... they picked me. Um, what?!?! So all of a sudden I went from audience member to Guest of Honor. Oh yeah, and I would have to make a speech. Yikes-- in front of all these people!

We were ushered through the crowd to the stage and seated with the teachers, the Chief, and the committee members. Gifts were given out to some students, then there were speeches by the Head Teacher and the Head Boy. Then it was my turn.

I opened up with some Chichewa introductions, but my bilingual skills quickly petered out so I switched to English. I kept my remarks brief, something along the lines of how as teachers our job is to prepare the adults of the future, and that they are the future of Malawi and can make real change happen. I also encouraged them to study hard for their MSCE exams next month. Not too bad for an improv speech, I hope.

Then it was time to hand out certificates to each student. Guess who got to hand them their certificates-- me! So I shook hands with all 100+ students, have them each their certificate and then posed for their grad photo with them and their families. I felt like I photo-bombed every kids graduation photo!

Afterwards the Head Teacher invited Justin and I to eat lunch with him. We had chicken, rice and vegetables. It was a good meal. We talked about the upcoming MSCE and the education system in Malawi. He also told us about the tree plantings they have been doing at the school.

By the time we were finished, the students had all changed from their school uniforms into their fancy clothes because it was time for the disco. But it was getting late (cuz it gets dark at 5:30 now) so we decided to head out.

Here is a pic of me and Olive. Isn't her dress beautiful?

My school has their graduation scheduled for next month. That one should be a breeze cuz I'm a seasoned pro now.


  1. I have the same skirt you are wearing:)

  2. I have the same skirt you are wearing:)