Volunteer Report. 「Agricultural Lessons」


Name: Satoshi Nakada
Speciality: Speech Therapy

In Malawi, most people are farmers and teachers in school also practice farming. Agriculture is taught as a subject in primary schools. One day, I asked students living near my house about their favourite or best subject and one of the children answered me that it was Agriculture. He told me that Agriculture was the most important subject for him, and he was very surprised when I told him that there is no subject called Agriculture in Japanese primary schools. For Malawians, agriculture is a part of their life and a very important skill to acquire.

It seems my working place, Mua school for deaf, emphasize the subject. The school has a large field for farming, and students learn compost making by practicing. The school conducts classes on these skills weekly, as well as sewing, carpentry and computer lessons.

This subject is particularly important for children with hearing impairment. In a country where it is difficult to find a job, many students end to live as farmers and become self-sufficient. Hearing impaired children are at a particular disadvantage in terms of communication, which makes it very difficult for them to acquire farming know-how after graduation. In addition, because they live in dormitories, secluded for most of the year, parents cannot teach them farming skills hence learn through agriculture classes. Hence, school lessons are very important!

I recently observed an afternoon class of planting mango and guava seedlings. First, students dug a deep hole and poured plenty of water into it to make the soil wet. After the soil and water were mixed up, they planted seedlings. Everyone worked very hard. As a result of planting various trees and growing vegetables in this way every year, a variety of things are harvested around the school, including mangoes, guava, bananas, lemons, sugarcane and tomatoes. The harvest is used to feed the students at the dormitory and any surplus is given to the other students.

Mango trees bears fruit in about 5-6 years, so I am excited to think that if I visit Malawi again one day, the seedlings I planted at this time will have grown and borne fruit. I have only about two months left in my JOCV activities, but I will do my best to leave something behind for Malawi, and I hope that I can help these children even if only a little.

Compost making

Planting seedlings

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