Posts Tagged With: ESCOM

A to Z: E is for…

When I first arrived in Lilongwe, there was constant load-shedding, which resulted in power cuts every 2-3 days for anything between 1-8 hours! It wasn’t until 6 months in, that I discovered there was a load shedding schedule on the ESCOM website. Disappointingly, it wasn’t exactly accurate and always kept up-to-date! 3 long time windows per day, which significantly overlaps isn’t a great “schedule” in all honesty. And that’s when it was updated, supposedly every Monday morning. Still, it was better than nothing. To be fair to ESCOM, after a big maintenance project (which caused really really long power cuts, especially in some rural districts), there is no more load shedding, at least in Lilongwe. We’ve enjoyed a relatively very stable power supply since around the middle of last year.

Food for thought… according to an article in The Economist:-

The state-owned electricity company struggles to keep the lights on even though only 7% of the population is connected to the grid. Power cuts add to the high cost of doing business (Malawi is ranked 171st out of 189 countries by the World Bank).

Kapichira Power Station on the Shire River - view from Majete Game Reserve.

Kapichira Power Station on the Shire River – view from Majete Game Reserve.

Categories: Malawi, Volunteering, VSO | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Area 11 Kids Club

Breakfast Club is getting bigger and bigger. We’re now feeding around 20 kids every week which is great! But we’re still getting regular power cuts on Saturday morning which is really not helping. Cooking on one mbaula/charcoal stove for 20 kids is not easy. Come on ESCOM!

A couple of weeks ago, we started another micro project – to build a classroom in our carport.

It began very simply… 3 rows or masking tape on the wall, 10 post-it notes on each. First row of numbers (1-10), another of English (one-ten) and Chichewa (modzikhumi). The inspiration, if you can call it that, came when I saw the kids playing skipping/jump rope games. I asked them to count out loud in English instead of Chichewa and they couldn’t quite manage it (coupled with being a bit shy still). Thanks to the masking tape and post-it’s, they’ve now learnt how to count to ten in English and me in Chichewa 🙂

Then we added a poster of the alphabet with pictures, which we picked up at a road junction. Sellers (and beggars) come up to your car and try to sell you all sorts on these junctions! From bananas and dried fish to posters and map globes. We got this poster for MWK 1,250 I seem to remember… it was well spent because the kids love it.

Classroom 2.0

Classroom 2.0

There’s also vertical strip of masking with distance from the floor marked out. We used it to measure their height and the digital scales, which were very generously donated by a couple of VSO volunteers who recently returned home, to record the kids’ weight. Thanks Liz and Barbara!

Name, height and weight...

Name, height and weight…

Tallest to shortest (minus quite a few)

Tallest to shortest (minus quite a few)

The latest improvement is a Countdown style letters and number board. Ingeniously made by Regie! With this, the kids are learning to spell simple words and also their names in English.

Countdown board... from a chitenje

Countdown board… from a chitenje

More improvements to come.

Any ideas welcome!! Please suggest.

Categories: Malawi, Volunteering, VSO | Tags: , , | 8 Comments

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