It’s the pattern of the Blantyre base to have a two-hour time of devotion, praise and worship and intercession, with a different focus every day. We also learnt that the YWAM approach is dancing, praise in his presence through into worship and encounter with God. Malawians just go from one song to another, with a strong singer starting up the next song and some great drum rhythms.
The devotion slot this morning was led by Daniel, one of the Base leaders, on Genesis 32. Lots came out of it, including not to trust a leader who hasn’t got a limp, like Jacob. It’s incredible to think that a nation was named (Israel) out of a night wrestling with God.This afternoon Hannah and Chris chaperoned us at a market stall, where they helped to bargain us down as we both bought gifts. Looking back, I spent twenty dollars and I’m not quite sure what I got for it! We then relaxed at a cafe, and Colin unwisely opted for a healthy juice, ‘botanic boost’, which I had to help him finish. It cost 3,800 Kwacha, which translates to approximately £3.80.
Next we got to finally see the school that Chris and the Blantyre team have been so instrumental in building. The classes are out for summer, but the results came out top in their educational zone.Chris gave us a superb tour with lots of information. The school has been really well received partly because one of the team is very highly respected in the village. They have not had any security issues at the school (unlike on the former YWAM base) partly because the builders all came from the village.The school is so smart and spacious, built on a hill but they levelled off some ground for a playground space.
Although Colin and I had both seen photos while it was being built, we were impressed with the scale of it. Children start at age 6 and this caters for primary. Up to there is government-funded, so while the funding for the building of school and teacher houses was external, the teacher salaries are paid by the government. Teachers are not paid very much.We were excited to learn yesterday (Tues now!) from Chris that the Phalombe football team may actually come and sleep in the classrooms at the school, and can then get lots of input from Blantyre Base staff.
One of the ongoing projects Chris is involved in is to train teachers in both Christian education and good teaching skills. He is using a University of the Nation’s (YWAM) designed course, and has created an app to support assessment of the teachers. He is training ‘trainers’ to go out and disseminate this, which may extend beyond Malawi.There is also talk of building a secondary school in the area too, which may happen. Chris met a government official last week to see if Mary’s Meals can get started at the Thantwe School – he showed us rooms with spaces to cook large pots of porridge for the students first thing in the morning. The parents will volunteer to cook, rising at 4:30am to do so. As we left the school, the deputy head said they don’t have any discipline problems. Why would they when they are given such a fabulous opportunity?