Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Let's Get Physical

After a rousing morning of Zumba exercise(to the popular artists P-Square, Ke$ha, Macklemore and Lil Jon) and a hearty breakfast, the Camp Sky students began their Tuesday with the second day of classes.

The Physical Science Department was assigned to teach two topics throughout Camp Sky: organic chemistry and forces and motion. These are topics that occur every year on the MSCE but are often incompletely taught or skipped at the CDSSs Camp Sky students attend. Today, half of the students (the Eagles and Owls) were learning organic chemistry, while the other half (the Herons and the Finches) learned forces and motion. For the Eagles and the Owls, the organic chemistry activity had students form molecular models to understand the difference between isomers and conformers. Students tested their spatial reasoning as they assembled molecules from puffs, a popular corn-based snack in Malawi, and decided whether the molecules they had constructed were isomers or conformers of one another. After discussion, student groups made their own model of a given molecule and also created an isomer of that molecule—a task commonly presented in paper form on the MSCE, but one that is much easier to understand when working with three-dimensional models. 

A wonderful asset of Camp Sky is that each department has three or four teachers, so team-teaching is implemented in almost all classes. This means that many students are going from student-to-teacher ratios of more than 50:1 or 100:1 to approximately 6:1. For the teachers, these manageable student sizes allow for successfully implemented activities and group work difficult to orchestrate in a CDSS setting. Additionally, team-teaching provides the teachers fresh ideas and activities to bring back to their regular classrooms, as many of the activities use locally available resources. 

Class concluded today with students presenting and comparing their isomers to the other groups'—a valuable chance to practice public speaking for the students, as well as a way for students to check their own comprehension of the topic at hand. Based on the high quality of their presentations and the insightful questions that the students asked us and their peers, we would say the isomer lesson was a success! 

The Herons and the Finches finished their Physical Science lessons learning about position, velocity, and acceleration, and the relationship between the three. The highlight of the lesson was most definitely when the students were all able to go outside and send a model car down a cardboard track. The time it took the car to travel each of four meters was measured. Then, the students were able to look at real life graphs of their data at the end of class, an experience that most have never had before. Sir Bryan Plunger spent the remainder of class helping students develop their scientific intuition, giving students valuable skills in any subject to think critically about the answers they are obtaining.

The themes of real-world application and hands-on activities were continued for the rest of the afternoon and evening as all the Camp Sky students attended a malaria session and participated in math night. Our students are all going home with beautiful dream catchers to hang in their mosquito nets, and math night, which consisted of probability-based games such as Yahtzee! and Monte Hall, was many of our campers’ favorite part of the day. Despite their busy schedules, our campers are still finding time to laugh, to write kind notes to one another, and to work on extra problems from their classes, as well as to anticipate the exciting activities the following day will surely bring.
Post written by Physical Science teacher counselor, Tally Levitz.

Meet Junior Counselors Sinoss & Linda

Full Name: Sinoss Nkhoma
Home District: Mchinji
Junior Counselor: Bald Eagles
Age: 20
Score on MSCE: 39
Where do you want to study? I want to study at Polytechnic University in Blantyre or any university that will help me to become a journalist.
How did Camp Sky help you on your MSCE exam? Most of the questions that I found on the MSCE exam I knew because of Camp Sky. I especially remember answering the genetics questions and thinking of what I had learned at camp and even the probability questions on the exam I remembered how to answer because of camp.
What was your favorite activity during Camp Sky last year? I enjoyed waking up in the mornings and making the body fit. I had never before played the cup game and the game in which we raced in maize sacks and jumped.
What is your dream job? I want to be a journalist. I like chatting with people so this is a way for me to learn and understand others' cultures when I am moving here and there.
What is a fun fact about you? I am the fourth born of six in my family, but I am the first to reach both Form 2 and Form 4. I found myself money for school fees by doing piecework, playing paid football and creating a payment plan with my headmaster in order to attend all school terms. I think I could have scored more points on my exam, but I was very busy trying to find money for food and for school fees when I should have been studying. I am not satisfied with my score, so if I find the money, I would like to retake my exam.

Full Name: Linda Bokosi
Home District: Dedza
Junior Counselor: Fish Eagles
Age: 19
Where do you want to study? Because of points, I decided to repeat my MSCE next year. I know I can score better. But when I go to university, I hope to study outside of Malawi to achieve a different degree.
How did Camp Sky help you on your MSCE exam? When I was here at Camp Sky, I learned a lot of things that I saw on the MSCE. I also learned at Camp Sky how to overcome challenges like fees or other needs to achieve my goals.
What was your favorite activity during Camp Sky last year? I enjoyed the play Romeo and Juliet, because at our school we did not have a performance. At Sky, Sir Travis and Madam Ali performed the play for us and we watched a film of Romeo and Juliet.
What is your dream job? I want to be a nurse or else a lawyer, because I want to help others who suffer from diseases and to reduce corruption.
What is a fun fact about you? I like to eat rice or spaghetti more than nsima, Malawi's staple food.

Tuesday - Day Three

Today's Theme:
A healthy body leads to a better life.
Students are enjoying their classes and laboratory sessions.

Today's Activities/Topics:
  • Zumba
  • Biology: Genetics
  • Physical Science: Organic Chemistry
  • English: Root Words
  • Math: Probability
  • Computer Lab
  • Biology Lab
  • Malaria
  • Math Night

Monday, March 30, 2015

We Are Poets and We Did Not Even Know It

Today began as most days in the village do not: with a friendly game of Frisbee. And tonight ended, again, as most evenings in the village do not: with poetry readings and a conversational reflection of the day. In between, students relished small class sizes with hands-on, creative learning and their first ever Biology and computer laboratory sessions. Before dinner, Education Volunteer Sir Chase Morgan conducted an eye-opening session on gender inequity and its impact on Malawi’s development. Although gender inequality remains deeply entrenched in Malawian culture, the students were able to wade through heavy case studies to find hope for a gender-balanced future. Thereafter, all enjoyed an evening meal and impromptu dance party.


Silence falls over the crowd as the lights dim, a sole microphone in the front of the room.  Will anyone have something to share, they all wonder.  Minutes tick by, people too shy to feel they have anything to offer, the silence continues...

Perhaps this scene might be found at a different poetry night, but at the Camp Sky, students don't walk, they run to have their voices heard.  Because the students at Camp Sky have big things to say.
Around 40 poetic minds worked hard over the last two days to write a poem to share with their peers. Sometimes, the students here can be a little shy but when they have something they are proud of and a idea they want to share, that shyness melts away into a strong voice carrying a strong message.

Some poems were written in response to sessions from the first days of camp.  The topics of HIV, gender, and critical thinking were discussed by guest speakers and clearly made an impact as they inspired powerful words of poetry.  Some of the poems were about Camp Sky itself; about the power of this experience so far, the joy of bonding with friends from across the country, and even praising the yumminess of the food here at Kamuzu Academy.

A love poem or two was also heard during the reading on this dark Monday night.  Love for camp, love for friends, love for country.

As the night closed and the students went on their way, PCVs in attendance could all agree that this is an exceptional group of young people.  They have seen a lot and experienced a lot and they are ready to make some changes.  It is their time to affect their country.  Their time to grow their nation.  And that time starts now.

Post written by Sheila Carey.

Meet Junior Counselors Chifundo & Martha

Full Name: Chifundo Mkwembe
Home District: Zomba
Junior Counselor: Zebra Finches
Age: 20
Score on MSCE: 31
Where do you want to study? I would like to study in America, but in Malawi, I would like to go to Polytechnic University of Malawi in Blantyre.
How did Camp Sky help you on your MSCE exam? Normally maths is difficult for me, but at Camp Sky we learned about probability and I found similar questions on the MSCE and was able to answer them. Also, Camp Sky biology classes helped me, because I learned about HIV/AIDS for questions on the test.
What was your favorite activity during Camp Sky last year? The food that I ate was very, very fine, and we also learned how to make nutritious food (like we made moringa powder and added it to our porridge), so my favorite activity was eating. Yeah, eating.
What is your dream job? I would like to be an accountant because here in Malawi I think there are people that don't know how to handle their money.  I can help my fellow Malawians, because as we know, Malawi is a poor country. So this Cashgate issue that has been happening here in Malawi- Ahh, it is not good for me, but when I am an accountant, I can help.
What is a fun fact about you? I have two sisters and one brother, but I am the last-born. We add up to be four!

Full Name: Martha Banda
Home District: Kasungu
Junior Counselor: Bull Finches
Age: 19
Score on MSCE: 33
Where do you want to study? Bunda College of Agriculture in Lilongwe
How did Camp Sky help you on your MSCE exam? I did well in mathematics because I attended Camp Sky and Madam Melissa helped me learn more about math circles like SIN, COS and TAN.
What was your favorite activity during Camp Sky last year? My favorite activities were classes, because I got more information which helped me to pass exams. At Camp Sky, we took more time in classes to understand subjects.
What is your dream job? To become a nurse in order to help sick people in our country and in my village. There are few nurses and some people die because the nurses are few. I especially want to help those suffering from Malaria or pregnant women.
What is a fun fact about you? I like singing and my favorite singers are Brace Chinga and Celine Dion.

Monday - Day Two

Team Eagles enjoying breakfast this morning.
Today's Theme:
I am more than what others say.

Today's Activities/Topics:
  • Frisbee
  • Biology: Genetics
  • Physical Science: Organic Chemistry
  • English: Figurative Language
  • Math: Probability
  • Biology Lab
  • Computer Lab
  • Gender Equity
  • Poetry Night

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Chikondi & Kutemwa: A Tragedy

Cam Stanley, Returned Education 2012 Peace Corps Malawi Volunteer, rewrote Romeo and Juliet to be more applicable to modern day Malawi. In his version of the tragedy, protagonists are named Chikondi and Kutemwa. The drama was first performed during Camp Sky 2014 (seen in the photo below). Malawian cultural and linguistic references were met with boisterous laughter from our student audience again this year. 
A Malawian garden. Like other gardens, except mostly just maize. The sun is setting, cooking fires are boiling, and chickens are annoyingly making noise. Chikondi sneaks back into the Chirwa compound for another glance of Kutemwa, a girl he met at the Chirwa disco earlier in the evening. P-Square can still be heard in the background.

CHIKONDI: Tis easy kuseka [to laugh] about being cut by a panga knife if one has never been cut by one before! If chief Chirwa were to find me trespassing in his munda [garden] he would sure strike me down with such a blade. Especially since I killed that annoying chicken of his that just would not. Shut. Up.
(ENTER KUTEMWA on balcony, unaware of Chikondi’s presence)
CHIKONDI (spying Kutemwa): But soft! What light through yonder mawindowi breaks? It is Kutemwa, and she rises like the zuwa [sun]. She makes my soul kuvina [dance] like the gulu wamkulu.
(ENTER Guli Wamkulu suit, led by Ali, “performing” the traditional Chewa dance as seen in picture 3)
She makes my heart thump like the pounding vula [rains] of February against a tin-roofed house. She makes me feel like there are ngumbi [huge mayfly thingies] fluttering around in my solar plexus and in my spleen——OH! (CLUTCHES HEART) ….but mostly she makes me feel oh so very, very chabwino
She is talking-but no words leave her mouth-her eyes, they do the talking. They say “Ndikufuna Chikondi…” [I want Chikondi], I’m so going in. [starts inching closer, panics, stops, and retreats] Ah, I am too bold, what if they’re talking about that Mphatso guy instead? She talks, but not to I. Her eyes, so bright and beautiful as if the two fairest nyennenzi [stars] in the sky had to leave to go work in the munda [garden] a while and Mulungu [God] asked her own eyes to twinkle in their places until they come back, which could be anytime between 20 minutes and 2 days. If those were her eyes up there in the night sky zona [in truth], they would light up the darkness better than ESCOM ever could. And cocks would crow to welcome a new day. See how she covers her chitenje around her. Oh, that I were cut of that cloth so I could wrap myself around her!
KUTEMWA (sensing somebody is there): Odi? Hello?
CHIKONDI (aside, hiding): she speaks! Speak again, my angel. For thou art as glorious to this night, being over my head, as is a fish eagle of heaven, and mere mortals lay back and watch as she soars upon the bosom of the air, until when she plunges into love’s madzi [waters] to snatch her prey as you have my heart. Ndimakukondani [I love you]
KUTEMWA (who still doesn’t know that Chikondi is there and is pretty much talking to herself like a cray person): O Chikondi, Chikondi, Ali kuti [where is] Chikondi? Deny thy abambo [father], and refuse thy nyumba [house]. Or if thou wilt not, I shall ask another. Like Justin Bieber. Or that nice guy Mphatso.
CHIKONDI (aside, still, like a creep): She doth thinks she speaks alone by herself, but she doth not. Which is kind of hilarious. But dare I sayeth something?
KUTEMWA (still unawares of Chikondi): he is a Banda. And I a Chirwa. Enemies, in name. How can a name come between love? What’s in a name? That which we call nsima by any other name would still taste as delicious. For Chikondi, the same. Chimodzimodz. Lose thy name, and trade it for my love!
CHIKONDI (loudly): I am no baptized under a new name. Hence, I will never be Chikondi.
KUTEMWA (finally noticing Chikondi): Chifukwa! Chiyani! [what! Why!] Who’s there! Dost thou be a burgler!?
CHIKONDI (stepping on stage, calmly): Muli bwanji? [how are you?]
KUTEMWA (calmly, unstartled): Ndili bwino, kaya inu? [I’m fine, how are you? This is a joke about how all Malawians automatically greet each other no matter the circumstance upon meeting. Witty, progressive, funny stuff]
CHIKONDI: Ndili bwino. (turns dramatically towards Kutemwa) I am no burgler by trade, fair miss, just one who wishes to burgle your heart…
KUTEMWA: My ears hath heard you speak only ten words before, and yet I know your voice. Chikondi? Of Banda?
CHIKONDI: Neither of those, if you like.
KUTEMWA: How did you get here? The munda walls are high and difficult, and to be here is death if my family espies your Banda face.
CHIKONDI: I flew over the walls on the wings of love, for there is no fence that can keep me from you. Also, you left the gate wide open. And the watchman is asleep.
KUTEMWA: If you are seen, they’ll murder thee!
CHIKONDI: I’d rather die now, ended by their hate, than to die and never feel your love. Hey, unrelated, but do you have any Cokes? Ndatopa [I’m tired]
KUTEMWA: I don’t want to come off as desperate or clingy, but doth thee love me?
CHIKONDI: I swear by the moon…
KUTEMWA: AH AHHHH. The moon? The inconstant moon? As reliable as a minibus? Is it waxing or is it waning? Big and bright one night, small and dim another. Do not swear by the moon, or you may change as quickly as it does.
CHIKONDI: Okay… (looks around) Let me instead swear by the goat. Gentle goat, ever persistent in its bleating, who never works but always eats, who serves no perceivable purpose yet still endures, intimidated by no errant bicycle or slaughterer’s blade. Let my love be as stubbornly constant as the goat. And I do not just say this because a goat was the second thing I saw to swear by after the moon, but because that even if wert thou a pair of Nike sneakers as far as that vast market stand wash’d with the farthest sea of people, I would adventure for such merchandise
KUTEMWA: Swear by nothing then. Tonight has moved too fast, too sudden, like lightning which is here and gone in a flash. Let us say good usiku [night].
CHIKONDI: Wilt though leave me so unsatisfied?
KUTEMWA: Ok, then borrow me your radio.
CHIKONDI: How about the exchange of your love’s faithful vow for mind?
KUTEMWA: I have already given it. And yet will do it again.
(An threatening amayi voice yells bloody murder, angrily, death-like, rage-filled, from the house)
KUTEMWA: Stay but a little. My mother just said she misplaced the salt again [classic misdirect! Bet you thought the Amayi was mad but she really just wanted salt! Classic!]. (goes behind wall/disappears)
CHIKONDI: O, blessed usiku! Is it real? Is it a dream?
KUTEMWA (returned): SMS me mawa [tomorrow] if you wish to propose marriage, also where and when and I will follow.
CHIKONDI: Actually, I’m out of airtime
KUTEMWA: Ok, well come here mawa. At what o’clock shall I expect thee?
CHIKONDI: I don’t know, some time after tea? If it is not raining? And you provide biscuits? [
KUTEMWA: Good night! A thousand times good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I will say good night till it be the morrow!

CHIKONDI: Tiwonana.

Sunday Funday

Today’s Theme: “I Can Think Critically and Creatively to Develop My Country”

Today began with a rousing sunrise game of football on the Kamuzu Acadamy grounds. After showering and eating breakfast (read: half a loaf of bread), students gathered for their first activity. The grounds echoed with cheers from Owls, Herons, Eagles, and Finches as each flock played charades and team-building games. 

Energy remained high for the next session: critical thinking. Peace Corps Education Volunteer, Madam Brooke Marshall, challenged student groups of nine to think critically and creatively to solve problems and she sparked a discussion on Malawian-led development vs. Foreigner-led development in Malawi. One student rallied his peers in an impassioned speech that they are the future of Malawi; the classroom shook with hoots and caws in agreement.

Next, students gathered for a Leadership Panel comprised of a Member of Parliament (MP), Nurse, Secondary School Headmaster, and Engineer.  Each successful Malawian shared their stories of educational and professional development with the camp students. Members on the panel have overcome obstacles that campers face as they maneuver through the education system and work toward their professional aspirations. Panel members gave tips on goal setting for success, highlighting the importance of having vision, discipline, patience, and resilience. 

“The brain is not made to simply hold mucus; it is made to think and to think big!”
- The Honorable MP Kazombo

“The sky is not the limit. You are your limit. It is not about where you are from or at which school you will take your exam, but it is about what you want to be for yourself.”
- Headmaster Nkhoma

“Your decisions are critical…some things won’t work as you hope [but] there are opportunities to take you where you want to go…be patient, and keep moving forward.” 
- Engineer Madam Mumba

Powerful pieces of guidance left the students feeling ‘so fine’ and empowered to be leaders in their own lives and the lives of others.  After lunch, everyone performed another, much-improved Macarena. Jake Hojnacki, Education PCV, led the next session on HIV/AIDS, as the epidemic is a major obstacle to health and development across Malawi.  He focused not only on the biology of HIV/AIDS and prevention and mitigation practices, but he also used interactive activities to illustrate the virus’ impact on the individual, community, and national economy. 
Students were broken into gendered groups for further questions and condom demonstrations, which were highly educational and incredibly entertaining.

The last session of the day Environment PCV, Stuart Jones, presented novel ideas to improve soil health in Malawi.  Sir Jones emphasized microorganism presence, mulching, and organic compost as key practices to ensure healthy soil and thus, increased agricultural productivity.

Dinner was followed by an evening of romance and tragedy.  The MSCE includes detailed questions about the story of Romeo and Juliet, so the evening’s activities revolved around the drama.  First, our very own Physical Science teachers Sir Andrew Datu and Madam Tally Levitz performed an adapted, ‘Malawianized’ version of the classic play.  Not only are Sir Datu and Madam Levitz skilled in subject switch-ups (Physical Science and the Arts), they are also masters of reversing gender roles—Tally nailed it as Romeo, and Andrew lit up the stage as Juliet. After a riotous performance, students settled in to their seats for a screening of the newest ‘Romeo and Juliet’ movie. For many, the occasion marked a first trip to the 'theatre.'

During reflection time, each bird group discussed the day’s sessions and activities as they related to the theme of the day. Students recognized and articulated their individual and collective responsibly to use their personal strengths, skills, and knowledge for the development and betterment of their communities across Malawi.  Students had the opportunity to share their ‘highs’ and ‘lows’, and many students commented on the impact the Malawian Panel members had on them.

“Today is the first day I spoke to a woman who is going for a degree.”

“I met my role model today.”

“I know that Malawians will develop Malawi.”

“We are too full” was a common grievance, but counselors, JCs, and coordinators agree that if this is the most significant ‘low’ for students, that Camp must be going wonderfully. As one of my barn owls wrote for a poetry event tomorrow, “Camp Sky loves us like Romeo loves Juliet."  Here’s to hoping tomorrow will be equally as impactful on students’ lives!

Meet Junior Counselors Tawonga & Diness

Full Name: Tawonga Zakeyu
Home District: Machinga
Junior Counselor: Snowy Owl
Age: 18
Where do you want to study? African Leadership Academy in South Africa. The day before yesterday, I had my interview.
How did Camp Sky help you on your MSCE exam? I was having difficulties in Mathematics, but Camp Sky helped me to do well on the MSCE in maths. Now, I have a strong credit in Mathematics on the MSCE. My Sky teacher helped me to better understand SIN, COS and TAN for the trigonometry portion.
What was your favorite activity during Camp Sky last year? I especially liked learning and dancing the Macarena.
What is your dream job? As of now, I want to be a leader as a nurse.
What is a fun fact about you? I can speak Chichewa as well as Chiyao and I am very fat; I am a big mama.

Full Name: Diness "Dennis" Mphepo
Home District: Zomba
Junior Counselor: Barn Owls
Age: 20
Score on MSCE: 20
Where do you want to study?  I would like to go to Chancellor College in Zomba, Malawi.
How did Camp Sky help you on your MSCE exam?  On my MSCE exam, I found Camp Sky to be very helpful. I was failing to design an experiment on titration, but after Sky I was able to make the experiment.
What was your favorite activity during Camp Sky last year?  I liked the trip to the U.S. Embassy. We used computers and studied in the library for free. I enjoyed the minibus ride itself and our time there.
What is your dream job? I want to work as a secondary school teacher teaching Physical Science. This is because I like science subjects and I want to help improve the education system in Malawi.
What is a fun fact about you? I know how to use Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Database on computers, because my past Peace Corps teacher, Madam Rita Bradley, taught me.

Sunday - Day One

Today's Theme:
I can think critically and creatively to develop my country.

This morning's girl soccer team!

Today's Activities/Topics:
  • Soccer
  • Team Building
  • Critical Thinking
  • Successful Malawian Leaders Panel
  • HIV/AIDs and Development
  • Soil Health
  • Romeo & Juliet

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Academy Arrival Day

Today, seventy-one of Malawi’s brightest Form 4 students from Community Day Secondary Schools arrived at Kamuzu Academy (KA) to attend, for many, their first camp. Students traveled from as far North as Chitipa and as far South as Mulanje. For many campers, a first trip away from home.

We had a pleasant surprise visit on Saturday by Headmaster of KA, Mr. Francis Cooke. Mr. Cooke was kind enough to spare a few minutes from his busy schedule and provide us with information about KA. Kamuzu Academy is a private secondary school located thirty kilometers outside of Kasungu Town. The Academy was built in 1975 by Malawi’s first President, Hastings Kamuzu Banda, to provide the best education possible for all attendees. The school is tucked away in its own environment so that students have no distractions and can focus on their schoolwork. Currently, there are 498 students registered at the school, with sixty-eight Form 2 pupils financially sponsored by the Malawi Government. Kamuzu Academy is well-known throughout Eastern Africa and strives to find Africa’s brightest minds and to propel these individuals forward for continental development. Mr. Cooke passionately shares PCVs’ belief that Malawi’s ability to develop lies within its hardest working students. Unfortunately, many of these high achieving students must overcome not only the usual academic challenges but also bear the burden of under-resourced CDSSs. Our campers are unable to attend the prestigious Academy but are gracious for one week of much deserved, resource-filled education here.

After a long day of preparation and campus decoration, the real fun began- the students arrived! Students traveling from their home villages, Blantyre or Mzuzu were met in the Kasungu and Lilongwe bus depots and entertained by our wonderful counselors. Activities included: soccer, frisbee, bingo, and puzzles. Many of these students reached KA around dinner time on a loaded matola. Their excitement peaked when they were introduced to their counselors and junior counselors. Afterward, students were lead to their dormitories and dined with their respective bird teams: eagles, finches, owls, and herons.

The night session featured introductions and a student favorite dance, the Macarena. Students met with their counselors before lights out to discuss logistics and learn team cheers. While meeting with my team, I was able to ask some of my students how they are feeling about the week. Here’s what a few had to say about camp so far:
  •        “I am so excited for being received so well.”
  •        “I just want to get more knowledge.”
  •        “I am happy for this chance to learn more.”

And of course, I had to ask the students how they were enjoying the exotic food. So far, no complaints- “Madam, we are very satisfied, even without nsima.”

All students are incredibly excited to be here and their opportunity to learn and to make new friends. Tonight, our seventy-one student campers set the tone for a wildly successful week. We will keep the energy and excitement sky high as the week flies by.

Reach Up. Sky!!

The Welcoming Committee

Today is the day! Campers are traveling to Kasungu Town from all over Malawi. Most campers have never been out of their districts; some have never even been out of their villages. Today, they have travelled on all forms of transportation: bike taxis, motorcycles, minibuses, and coach buses to get to camp. Campers are coming as far as Mulanje (in the South) and Chitipa (in the North) districts to attend Camp Sky and have travelled many hours and many more kilometers. With welcoming committees in Lilongwe, Kasungu Town and Kamuzu Academy, we are certain the students will arrive safely and immediately feel at home. They will be able to spot our team as each member has used the same zitenje fabric to create a festive Camp Sky uniform. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Our Fabulous Junior Counselors

Every year, campers from the past year apply to attend Camp Sky in the capacity of Junior Counselor (JC). Campers enjoy Camp Sky immensely and the competition is tight to secure a JC role in order to attend for two consecutive years. These JCs are responsible for serving as peer leaders and role models for the campers. They also work as vital liaisons between Malawian students and American volunteers. The JCs are selected based upon academic merit, behavior and leadership skills. They have already taken the MSCE and are now awaiting the university application period to begin. The JC role is an opportunity like they have never had before; they are expected to act as counselors and have responsibilities equal to our PCV counselors.

This year, we have an outstanding group of outgoing Junior Counselors. We will be introducing them throughout the week, so you can learn more about the impact Camp Sky had on their MSCE scores and beyond.

Counselor Training Day

Today, the Camp Sky team had a day of training to prepare for the campers' arrivals tomorrow. Decorations were made, lesson plans finalized, sleeping arrangements established, duties assigned, ice breakers mastered, cheers perfected and, most of all, friendly competitive spirits ignited.

There are eight teams named after common, Malawian bird species. Each team has nine campers, two counselors and one junior counselor. The teams are set to soar to new academic heights this week. Team names as follows:
  • Blue Herons
  • Goliath Herons
  • Zebra Finches
  • Bull Finches
  • Barn Owls
  • Snowy Owls
  • Fish Eagles
  • Bald Eagles

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Camp Sky Flight Crew Has Landed!

After last minute supply runs and printing, our coordinator team loaded up a Peace Corps vehicle in Lilongwe and hit the road! The vehicles were full to the brim with teaching and learning materials and Kasungu District bound. The deserving students attending Camp Sky will be overjoyed to experience resource-filled classrooms in the next week. This will be a special treat for our campers as Community Day Secondary Schools (C.D.S.S.s) operate with challengingly low budgets and few teaching materials.

The vehicle found its way to the prestigious Kamuzu Academy, the host of Camp Sky this year. Kamuzu Academy or KA has been incredibly accommodating to ensure camp is a safe and comfortable success. The beautiful campus looks dramatically different from the schools our campers attend. Again, our achieved students are in for the experience of a lifetime.

After months of anticipation, the Peace Corps Coordinator, Teacher Counselor, Junior Counselor and Counselor teams have arrived at Camp Sky 2015!