I am very excited to start working as a mentor to a young lad in Malawi named Goodson Jamu. Goodson is a student at the newly built library in the village of Kadzakalowa. Below is a little bit of press from the recent opening.
"Kapalua Cove Foundation and Village Book Builders are thrilled to announce the completion of a new library in Kadzakalowa, Malawi. A joint effort in partnership with the community of Kadzakalowa, the library will benefit 2,500 school-age children from six villages with educational and inspirational resources, in addition to serving as a local community center."
In April, 2019, newly-launched Kapalua Cove Foundation awarded its first charitable donation to Village Book Builders. The funds were earmarked for the Malawi Literacy Project, with plans to build a library in one of the poorest nations in the world. As with all Village Book Builders’ literacy projects, the Kadzakalowa community was offered a hand up, rather than a hand out—community members were expected to donate labor as their contribution to the project. In addition, villagers provided bricks and sand—a herculean feat in this impoverished region.
I am very happy and proud to be a small part of this huge effort. I will be working with Village Book Builders who do the matching of students and mentors and give a LOT of guidance and support. They are truly great folks!
Update August 16, 2022
Very good session today with Goodson! I haven't seen him in several weeks, and I doubted whether he would be there today. But, there he was, big smile and all! He said he had been spending time with his family. He has mentioned before that they had a "farm" that they all worked on sometimes.
After catching up a bit we watched a short film on irrational numbers. I never expect to understand these films we've been doing in algebra, but it all comes back to me which is a big surprise. I thought for sure it was all long gone.
Next, we read an essay on Nelson Mandela which excited him very much. We always discuss new or difficult words at the end of the reading and the impact of what he had just read. It was interesting to me that he didn't know the word "apartheid" and it took a while to explain as you can imagine. He knew who Mandela was, but had never heard the word before. Once again I am reminded of just how isolated their little village is, and why it means so much for me and the other mentors to be able to reach into their world and teach and interact. It is very energizing to me.
After much discussion about the Mandela essay we watched a beautiful short film on Mozambique, which he had asked for previously. Again, he was very excited to see a neighboring country sort of up close that way and we had a long talk about that.
During the Mandela essay reading, Goodson learned the word "rugby", a sport he had never heard of. So, when we were done with my plan I found a short film about rugby so he could see what it was about. I warned him it was not a sport for the timid, and you had to be rather large to play it and survive. At the end he said, "Those are large men," an understatement if I ever heard one!
I will be traveling to Mexico City next week, so I will miss my sessions until the 6th of September. Be well and click on one of the links below. We get no benefit here except a warm, fuzzy feeling!!!
In out training we are warned not to ask about two things specifically. The first is food, as in "what did you have to eat today?" The answer may very well be nothing or very little. It's fine to ask WHAT they like. Second is asking about family members. HIV/AIDS has ravaged the country, and there are a lot of single family homes or even orphans living alone in the family home after the adults have all died.
My first mentee was a young girl of seven. I asked her how far she has to walk to get to school (5km one way) and what kinds of things she saw along the way. She told me her family has 7 chickens, something that prompted a very big smile. I asked her what she wants to be when she grows up and she told me a teacher, and she would like to go to America to study.
The sad truth about these beautiful girls is that they are more likely to have two children before the age of 20 than not. It is much more likely that they will be pulled out of school to help support the family or there is not enough money to cover uniforms. That's right... education is free to all children in Malawi, but being available and being attainable are two very different things. Tuition is free, but books, supplies and uniforms are not. In a nation where the average person lives on just S1 day, even $5 for books and such is overwhelming.
There is a group called AGE Africa that is doing great work on keeping girls in school and giving scholarships to those in need, which is most of them. They are very active in Malawi as is the UNICEF K.I.N.D. program that buys something as simple as desks for school kids who otherwise sit on dirt floors. This simple thing is life changing. Please look into these organizations and help if you can. Help is very much needed and very much appreciated.
If you would like to help a young girl in Malawi stay in school, please go to www.ageafrica.com. There you will learn that for $35 you can buy her a uniform, $50 buys her school supplies for ONE YEAR! By giving up a few lattes a week, you can completely alter a young girls life in a very positive way.
If you would like to learn more about Village Book Builders and the great work they are doing, go to www.villagebookbuilders.com. After seeing what they are all about, maybe you will feel the call to mentoring like I did. Believe me, it hit me like a bolt from the blue when I saw how I could help a lot and make a very real difference where it will count. Think about it.
These links go directly to their sites. This site is in no way compensated.
GOODSON JAMU'S PAGE