Tuesday we loaded up the van and headed out pass Dzaleka Refugee Camp to one of the local Malawian villages. This was the first of our many planned CBO (community based organization) visits. The CBOs are early childhood centers for children ages 3-6 years of age. It serves as a preschool and daycare center for the children. Funding for these CBO is very difficult to get because the CBO must be certified by the government and certification means a 2 or 3 week training, everyday in a city very far from the villages and there is a fee per day to attend. On top of the heavy cost to be certified the funding they could receive was severely cut this year.
There is Hope is stepping up to partner with 4 CBOs surrounding Dzaleka. The CBO we visited Tuesday serves 5 surrounding villages. I don't know just how many kids they have on a daily basis, but the small classroom they have isn't big enough to park an SUV inside. It is made of mud and has a grass roof. There is Hope has challenged the villages to make bricks and build a new classroom for the children. When they have completed the building There is Hope is going to purchase the metal sheets for the roof. This will be a huge improvement and a blessing to the village and the children.
While we were visiting we played Duck, Duck, Goose (Baca, Baca, Kanga) and taught them the English version of Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes (they already knew the song in Chichewa). It was a good way for them to learn a little English. The kids already knew the word "head", now they know shoulders, knees, toes, eyes, ears, mouth and nose. They also sang us a few songs and danced for us. We would have loved to talk and interact with the kids more, but they were a bit shy and language was a big barrier. I wish I could speak Chichewa and Swahili. Pastor George was with us and he translated for us. THANK YOU PASTOR GEORGE! I wish we could have 10 Pastor Georges!
Driving into the CBO we noticed a woman getting water from a small watering hole surrounded by trash. We also notice how far the water pump was from the preschool. Pastor George talked with the teachers and told them we would bring them some of the bucket water filters that Jack's class purchased this spring. They are very excited to get the filters for their school. Thank you Ms. Uthe's class. We'll post pictures when we are able to deliver the filters.
The students of the CBO and some of their teachers.