During the Summer 2011 holidays, a Hurst Expedition returned to Chilingani village in Malawi after the success of last year’s trip. Eleven students together with Mr Lamb and Mr Crook made the journey to the rural Blantyre district in one of Africa’s poorest nations.
Once again the warm welcome by the community was simply amazing with dancing and singing by several hundred of the awaiting villagers. The Chief and his community made us feel completely at home again despite the very basic living conditions, including long drop toilets and ‘bucket’ showers. Our aim was to complete the building of the second classroom in a block that we started last year.
The team was soon working away hard in the dry and dusty conditions, fetching bricks, brick-laying, mixing cement and all the other associated jobs. We were helped by the skilled team of builders, the local women who collected water (on their heads of course) and several children from the school, who were keen to contribute to their new classroom. As well as the hard slog on the work site the team enjoyed regular and very competitive football fixtures and some equally frantic netball encounters. Ellie Brown donated several England netball tracksuits and outfits to the local team, which was received with much singing and dancing over the subsequent few days!
The day we left was a sad one but the sight of the finished classroom, and the excited children who would be taught there next school term, made it all worthwhile. We were also buoyed by the prospect of safari in Liwonde National Park where we were lucky to see huge numbers of hippos (one of which was spotted only yards from our tents that night), elephants and some rather large crocodiles amongst the plethora of wildlife.
Mr Lamb would like to say a huge "Thank You" to everyone who helped with the trip and who helped us fundraise and pay for the classroom as well as make a small donation to the Open Arms Orphanage in Blantyre.
What some of the pupils who took part had to say;
“I would love to do it again”Marcus Campopiano
“BRILLIANT!” Connie Candler
“One of the best parts of my life”Ben Rudling
“A once in a lifetime experience” Jade Wilkinson
21 May 2013