The 2010 trip has been a success. The Malawians came to the UK, and we went to Malawi!
Here is an account of our experiences.
Hosting the Malawians and Activities
When the Malawians arrived in Poulner all our scouts going to Malawi greeted them with a big banner saying welcome in their language. They all got off the bus smiling but quite wary, as they were not sure what to expect. After a welcome lunch at two host families’ houses we all went back to our own homes accompanied by the Malawi scouts if you were hosting one. I hosted a boy called Sampson from the scouts and I think I can speak for other host families that the Malawi scouts were very quiet for the first few days however that changed very quickly as we had a busy programme ready for them over the next few weeks.
The next day we accompanied the scouts into Ringwood secondary school and with the help of some keen members of the school we gave them a tour of the school and they were bewildered at how many buildings we had and the fact that each subject had its own building was just amazing to them. When we got home after the day at school Sampson (The scout I hosted) asked me lots of questions about what our school was like and that made it much easier for me to talk to him and I think he felt a bit more at home that way which was much more useful as he became much more confident at home as the days went by.
We were very lucky in the fact that we were invited down to Ferny Crofts head of scouting in Hampshire to enjoy a free activities day including a ropes course. Of course when we told the Malawi scouts what we were doing they had no clue what it was but when we went to the area with the ropes course challenges they were all shocked and really excited. Throughout the day they really enjoyed themselves as we also did some team building exercises, which they found very funny, as they like to talk in Chichewa really fast, so then when we talk to them in English (which they can understand) really fast to help they just burst out laughing and we would have to try again. When we got back from the day out they were all really tired but had said they had a great afternoon, which was good. When Sampson and I got home we had a usual dinner but he was telling me that they don’t have such a variety of dinners back home, they usually have the same meal 4-5 times a week so he really enjoyed the food in England and I think that goes for all the other Malawi scouts as well.
As a host family we did get some days to spend with our guests from Malawi and we all did different things, for instance our family took Sampson to see toy story 3D and he said he had never imagined anything like it so that was a good feeling taking him there, and later we found out lots of family’s had done the same with their scouts. All in all we packed as many activities in their programme so they would not get bored and there times at home we think they enjoyed as much as we did because we kept trying to show them the best things to see which brings me to our final trip to the capital London.
All the Malawi scouts showed a lot of enthusiasm especially when we got on the London underground on which they had never been on a train or underground. As a group we had lots of parents and families come along which made the day a lot more fun as we did all the usual tourist things you can do in London for example going to the London eye, visiting the houses of parliament. The biggest city, which is closest to them in Malawi, is Mzuzu that is not very big and is roughly the same size if not a bit smaller than Christchurch but with all one maybe two story buildings. But walking around London they were shocked at how very busy it was and how big the streets and buildings were in comparison and all the time we were shocking them with facts about how much an apartment costs in Kwacha (Malawian Currency). At the end of the day we were exhausted as we had walked all over London and when we got back Sampson went straight to bed, as did most of the others in their homes.
Saying farewells was always going to be harder for the parents as we knew we were going to see the scouts in a few weeks time, but in the end there were a few tears from mums which was bound to happen as they left us for the airport. During their stay in England our scout leader Colin Andrews put in so much effort into planning and organising all of it that I think it is fair to say we showed them the very best parts of England and in showing them our culture history and way of life I think it was a very successful endeavour in having them experience our country.
2010 summer camp was the biggest camp 1st Poulner scout group have ever done. This and having our special guests from overseas made this a great camp. In this camp we had our own areas with our own teams to compete against the other teams. As well as the Poulner scouts using their skills they had learnt from previous camps, the Bandarwi scout brought some skills from the scouting experiences. Then at the end of each day every scout on camp would sit around the camp fire and the two scout groups would share songs. On the last day of camp our separate group competed against each other in camp Olympics activity including throwing arrows, ropes course over the river, catapults and campfire cooking. Then later that night after dinner we all performed our sketch to the Mazuzu scouts and sang songs.~Arron
Malawians On Summer Camp
One of the first things they did there was help us dam up the river, which is something we do whenever we camp so we have a small reservoir to swim in, and I believe they enjoyed it even though the river was much colder than Lake Malawi, where they’re used to.
And we left the campsite a few times in the week as well, like to an ice cream farm and to take the train to the sea side, all three of which are things they don’t have much in Malawi. On camp though we discovered that they really like hot chocolate and would gulp it down by the camp fire, also loved were crisps and apples.
All in all it was just a generally fun week enjoyed by all that went.
What Activity We Did Jointly in UK
Our Time Spent At Kavuzi Camp Site
Trip to Mzuzu
At one point during our stay at Kavuzi campsite, we decided we would spend the day in Mzuzu with the local scouts. Colin, Lindsay and Tony had to go to a meeting to help set up the Trustee Committee for Kavuzi, and so we had to make our own way there and back. So we started walking down the road in the hope of flagging down a lift. After a couple of miles, we eventually got a lift in the back of a pick-up, and reached Mzuzu for the grand price of K100, or about 40p.
After visiting the houses, we met back up and visited the market, which was nothing like anything we had seen before. It was a sea of shacks with iron roofs, stretching for more than a mile. Inside, it was split into rough districts, for example the clothes market and the timber market. People were everywhere, browsing the shops and haggling the price down. After a while, we headed back to the bus rank, where we waited for a lift, which eventually came in the shape of a Nissan Highlander. After the driver assured us that 20 more in the back would be “fine” we set off, at about 10mph. This increased when he went into neutral downhill. After the hairy ride back to Kavuzi, we paid the driver K100 each, and went down to relax at the campsite.
Around the time of the trip into Mzuzu, we also went on a two-day trip to Vwasa Wildlife Reserve. We would do two safaris, one in the afternoon, and one in the early morning, and camp overnight. After packing, we drove for three hours down progressively worse roads, ending up on a bumpy dirt track. We set up camp in the reserve, then met our two guides, Alfred and Godwin. We headed off into the reserve at about 3:30, and after minutes saw a group of hippos! The fantastic animals didn't stop there, we saw other interesting sights like ibis, giant termite mounds, hyena tracks and more. We then headed back to the camp and made dinner, had a campfire and went to sleep. During the night, those who were awake heard hyena laughs very near the camp, as well as the almost deafening sound of crickets.
We packed the equipment away, then all got into the minibus and drove off down the narrow roads in search of elephants. And after about 10 minutes, we found them.
We then decided we may as well see if we could find some buffalo, so we drove for an hour around the park. Although we did not actually find buffalo, we did see buffalo droppings, hippos very close up, as well as a lot more baboons, impala, bush buck, and Kudu. We then drove back to the main gates, and almost lost the bus when going through a dry river-bed. If it wasn't for the skillful driving of Hussein (our driver), the bus would have had a lot more damage than a flattened exhaust pipe. It was then back along the awful roads on the 3 hour journey to Kavuzi.
stuff we did with the Malawi scouts
jamboree at camp
one of the best days in my opinion was the day in Mzuzu Colin told us to pair up with a 2nd Mzuzu scout and we when into town on Malawi public transport which a tale on it own. upon arriving we all when to get something to eat most of us split up at this point me and the Mzuzu scout i was with who was called gift when with Craig and Jared to a local place where the Mzuzu scouts had chicken and chips for the first time, then me and gift when round the market looking for a hat then we when by bike taxi (which are awesome) to gift’s house which was impossible to despise properly because it looked like a shanty from the out side but inside it was filled with painting and all manor of furniture at three generations of people that where around and wanted to say hi which was loads. then we when to the town museum which explained about where the people of Malawi originate we then met up with the others and got a pick up back to camp. and that was just one of the days with the Malawi scouts.
When we went up to see them, Luis showed us all the things he had invented and made. It was incredible! He had even designed and made a hydro-electric generator that powered his whole house all year round. He had also made a manual cement mixer, a petrol powered lawnmower, a water pump exercise machine, among countless other things. After Colin finished his cup of tea, we packed up our things and were off again, in the direction of Sambani Lodge.
Funny Things That Happened
We soon found out that where you pitch is really important. We found out that we were on a Hippo Highway when one night we heard them all stomp off past our tent on their way to the river.
As always the camp fire sing a longs are funny and part of scouting life. Bohemian Rhapsody was worthy of note, as were the efforts for Fashion Friday, in our suit jackets. Very fetching it was too with many a scout realising their true potential to join Elle MacPherson in her quest for Britain’s next top model!
Colin woke us up every morning with several delightful versions of many a song, but I particularly loved “Morning has Broken”. That classic Rolf Harris number, “Sun rise in da morning” (at 6am).
Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised but the transport system was mental. We are used to having order, with right of ways, cars in real working order and a feeling of safety. But not in Malawi! I’m very grateful to the local knowledge of our driver.
The cold showers were a bit of a surprise. But at least they got rid of the dirt!
A lovely and beautiful surprise was the fact that we could see very clearly ALL the stars and a once in a life time sight Mars next to the Moon. I feel very privileged to have seen this.
The wild life was fantastic. The amount of beautiful butterflies and amazing wild life was breath taking. We got so near to the elephants and the hippos, it was awesome.
What I have learned