&  Letter from Malawi


Following are excerpts from a letter from Mawingo.  He describes events at Nyika Progressive Secondary School and in his local community.  This provides the reader with an insider's view of life in northern Malawi.


(Excerpts from Letter written by Byron {Mawingo} Jeys, transcribed by Virginia J. Pulver)


Malawi, Africa

Sunday 5/10/03


Dear Virginia & Mark,


Yesterday I attended the graduation exercises at Nyika Progressive School.  The guests met at Caleb Library where we sat at tables, chatted, & had refreshments.


The library is a lovely building, very bright with nice proportions.  It was previously a four room house.  The interior walls were taken out, making one large room.  The windows have interior shutters that can be closed at night.  The carpentry work on these and on the doors was done by a very competent craftsman.


There is a sign – a very beautiful one which identifies the building & its use.  Mr. Mkondawire took a picture of the sign, which he will send to you.  I didn’t write down the exact words nor note the arrangement. Sorry.  It said:


Caleb Library

Books Donated by Emerald High School

In Memory of Caleb J. Pulver

Son of Virginia & Mark Pulver


Mr. Mkandawire will send you pictures after they are developed.


Nyika School is now five years old.  The three directors are all former Phwezi teachers {Where Byron/Mawingo once taught}.  There are nine teachers and 450 students.  At first they met in the Assembly of God Church.  In 2001 they build two classrooms at a place 500 yards north of the church.  (You visited that structure.)  Since then the school has purchased and raised quite a number of houses and in this way created an attractive campus.  There are several trees that had been planted by the owners of the houses.  These made the school look less stark.  One of the houses was preserved and is now Caleb Library.  Two more classrooms have been built.


The graduation was held at the New Apostolic Church’s Fellowship Hall – one of the nicer buildings in Rumphi.  The celebration included a meal, entertainment, speeches, & awarding of attendance certificates.  I presented the certificates.  I enjoyed shaking hands with each student and saying congratulations and adding their names.  I also gave the graduation address, which was also fun.


If Emerald High School is sending more books they might consider some of these books: atlas, almanac, encyclopedia, thesaurus, books on journalism, on debate, on parliamentary procedures, world and African history books, & science books would be helpful.  The books that were sent were good selections – all very suitable and in good condition.   


The English teacher, Mr. Kuluwa, has used some of the novels in his classes.  The District Education Officer was quite impressed by the library.  It is the best school library in the Porto Region (northern 6 districts). 


Our adult literacy classes will begin the 13th.  Classes will meet 2-4, Mon-Thurs.  The pupils will learn reading, writing & arithmetic.  We have 20 on the register & expect about 10 more to enroll.  We have gotten some slates, some exercise books, pencils, & chalk.  The Ministry of Education gave us a few books & promise more.


This week we will be putting in a water pipeline to the workers houses, to my house, and maybe to the school if we have time.  We have the materials.


Denis will finish his term tests on the 10th Friday) and will come here…Denis is 20.  He is the son of Jerred’s older sister.  He was born while his mother’s husband was in prison.  He lived with Jerred’s younger sister in Blantyre until she and her husband died.  Then her six children came to live with their grandmother.  When Jerred died, his seven children also came to live with the grandmother.  I give money to Jerred’s mother to help with his children & I have become guardian for Denis.  When Gomezani and Byron get older, I‘ll probably become their guardians. 


…I think I will start a Birth Registry for Uzumara Township.  We’ll keep it in the store.  I am thinking of giving a diaper to each new-born whose name is in the register…


…Solome (the 19 year old daughter of Mr. Msowya) got married last November to Youngson Musukwa.  Her brother-in-law just came to say her baby that was expected at the end of October is coming now.  Samuel will take her to the hospital.  Her parents and Youngson’s parents are at funerals.  No one has money.


…I am helping Nyika to make a Secondary School Hymnal – words only.  I’m doing the English hymns.  It’s a fun project…





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