Volunteer Report “Things one of volunteer can do”
I teach mathematics to Standard 6 (10-15 years old) students at Kabudula Primary School in the Kabudula zone, about 50km from the capital city, Lilongwe.
Even now, some eight months after my last volunteer report,
It is difficult for the children to understand the English I speak,
I can only vaguely understand the local language spoken by the children.
My activity requirement/goal is to improve children's basic calculation skills and understanding of number concepts, as well as to inform teachers about teaching methods,
However, when asked if I was able to achieve these goals in an environment where language was not smoothly communicated, I cannot proudly say "Yes!"
Then what is the point of me being at this school as a volunteer?
Is there anything I can do?
I don't have a clear answer,
I have come to think that the important thing is to enjoy our daily life together with the children.
Sometimes we harvest corn and soya beans
Harvesting of soya beans.
Ploughing the schoolyard with children.
Students making nsima in a cooking class, with careful instructions on how to make them.
Eating together the food made during the cooking exercise.
Sometimes I introduce Japanese culture and games.
Introducing "Head shoulders knees and toes" in Japanese
Sometimes we learn without textbooks and teaching materials while devising.
A student who is trying to make right angle with her body.
A student who is trying to make acute angle with her body.
Even though I don't speak their language, I believe that I was able to communicate with the children by sharing time with them.
The impact I have on the children is tiny.
My presence at the school does not increase the children's future employment opportunities. It does not increase their annual income. It does not mean that the village will suddenly develop.
The children's world and life will not change.
Nevertheless, if the children think like "That was fun with that Japanese" or "Japan and the Japanese are interesting" when the children become adults, and if they feel a sense of familiarity when they meet a Japanese person other than me somewhere someday, it makes me feel that my two years in Malawi were very meaningful.