In one week I will finish my second trimester of first form (freshman year of high school) at Madisi Secondary [Boarding] School in Madisi, Malawi, about one hour south from my home towards the capital city of Lilongwe. I am very grateful to all the teachers including the headmaster Mr. Banda. I’ve been back in school since April of this year, thanks to the Herculean efforts of Dr. Hartford Mchazime, Ph.D., my Malawian mentor and Deputy Head of Party of the Malawi Teacher Training Activity, a program of USAID. He contacted the Malawian Ministry of Education to secure me a spot despite my age (19) and took up a collection in his office to send me back to school.
I have a month’s vacation, and then on August 20th, I will start at my new school African Bible College Christian Academy, a Lilongwe secondary school/high school for the kids of Presbyterian Missionaries working in Africa. The secondary school’s head teacher is Lorilee Maclean a native of Canada and an English teacher. The new headmaster Chuck Wilson arrives in a couple of weeks from Sacramento, California in the United States. He is a retired math and science teacher and school administer. Mr. Wilson and Mrs. Maclean will be responsible for my education at ABCCA. The high school grants an American High School Diploma through a distance learning program. I will also study to pass my Malawian Secondary School exams, the JCE and the MCE. Because my favorite sport is Volleyball, I’m happy they have a volleyball court. One thing I’m excited about is their brand-new swimming pool. I’m looking forward to taking swimming lessons, as I don’t yet know how to swim.
Mrs. Maclean gave me several books to study before school begins, including an English Grammar textbook, a Geometry textbook and workbook, and several novels including The Red Badge of Courage (1895) by Stephen Crane. I’m reading it with The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary close by, as I’m a bit out of practice with reading. I like having books of my own. In many schools in Malawi, there are not enough books for every child to have his or her own.
One of my mentors brought me books from the University of Nairobi bookstore in Kenya. Books include on Solar Energy: Fundamentals and Applications, Mechanical Engineering (Conventional and Objective Type), the aforementioned Oxford Dictionary and the McGraw Dictionary of Engineering, Irrigation Water Management: Principles and Practice, Mechanical Engineering Systems, Elements of Environmental Engineering, and Crop Management: An Introduction. It will be a while before I read all these books.