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Arts Education and Malawi

July 26, 2016

Learning in an African country

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11 of the 12 terrific teachers who participated

I just returned from an 18-day trip to Malawi. I traveled to Africa with the Go! Malawi program where I collaborated with Maine educator Lindsay Pinchbeck to work with 12 teachers from  Mpamilia, Pondani and, Katete Primary Schools incorporating arts education into their curriculum. Lindsay is the founder and director of Sweetland School in Hope – an arts integration school for learners, grades K-5. The founder of Go! Malawi, Janet Littlefield, is a former student of mine who went to Malawi in the 1980’s while in the Peace Corps. My experience was amazing and we learned much more than the teachers we were working with did. As many said to me before I left – this experience could change your life. Not only do I return a slightly difference person but with a new perspective on the day to day life that I live here in America.

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Making hand prints while exploring ‘hopes and dreams’ – day 1 with the teachers

In a series of blog posts I will do my best to tell the story of those we met – teachers, children, Go! Malawi staff, and about the environment. We were in a location that felt like the top of the world. I watched the sunrise  each morning from the front porch of the building we slept in called “the castle”. It was an amazing site and several times I could see the curvature of the globe.

Along with Lindsay there were three other volunteers and Janet’s husband Bill. One volunteer was a 15-year old Hebron Academy student from China named Jasmine. She is an incredible photographer and is documenting some stories and photos of the Ntchisi HIV committee members. Laurie, a therapist from western Maine found joy in reading to young children and hopes to help establish a library. Meredith, a history teacher from Hebron Academy connected with teenagers while doing a photography project with them. They all made an important difference!

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End of year ceremony at the Mpamilia Primary School

Between Lindsay and I we took over 3000 photos. I will include some in the blog posts since the images alone tell a story. The landscape (including the sky at all times of the day) and people are beautiful to capture – I hope you will be able to gather that from the images. It is winter in Malawi and we were there during the last two weeks of school.

The work that Lindsay and I started in the workshop with teachers will continue from a distance by sending packages every other month and in other ways. If you’d like to contribute arts supplies, books or other items please email me at argy.nestor@maine.gov. Their classrooms have virtually no supplies or materials so anything you can send would be appreciated. As you unwrap your new materials when back at school or studio please consider contributing older ones. Thank you!

If you are interested in traveling to Malawi to work with teachers, perhaps next summer, please email me. It is a wonderful opportunity!

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Amazing sunset!

2 comments

  1. We really miss you guys. We learned a lot from you.


  2. Thanks for visiting the blog and your comment Thom! We all miss you and the other teachers as well. My dreams are all about Malawi. You were all fantastic to be with during our stay. Thank you ~Argy



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