NBH Sister Schools Reach Out To Primary School in Malawi

For 16 Year 11 students from across our two North Bridge House Senior Schools in Hampstead and Canonbury, the hard graft continued into the summer holidays as they swapped pens for shovels in a bid to transform the Dzalanyama Primary School in Malawi, and thus the lives of its children.

Working alongside local tradesmen to construct teacher houses, paint classrooms and improve the children’s dormitories, students immersed themselves in the Malawian community, organising games and educational activities for the children, as well as exploring the country’s highlands.

Hard work pays off

After the great deal of effort NBH students had put into fundraising for their expedition over the past academic year, they wasted no time in rolling up their sleeves and getting their hands dirty as soon as they arrived at the remote primary school in the south, near Mozambique. Without electricity or windows – until they built them! – our Year 11s got to work building a kitchen for the boys to cook in, painting the school and filling the windows. All materials had been purchased in advance using the money our students had raised through their various charity initiatives, which saw everything from cake sales and non-uniform days to Battle of the Bands and the Winter Fair embellish the school year.

However, as the saying goes, North Bridge House students proved they could work hard and play harder, enjoying somewhat non-traditional games of football and netball with the locals. The boys had a brilliant evening playing with the Malawian boys’ football team, showing off their skills in a 4-2 win. The girls, including Miss Oliver, had just as much fun in their netball match but found the unusual conditions – bare feet and sand, no court, and a tree trunk and metal ring for a goal – and interesting rules a little challenging, losing 19-7. “We had so much fun with the whole village cheering and supporting everyone in the sunshine that the score was irrelevant,” said Miss Oliver.

Safari adventure

After their hard week of labouring, students headed north for some R&R and a weekend of wildlife spotting. Sunday’s safari began with a scenic river cruise in the morning and ended with an exciting game drive at dusk. North Bridge House students were lucky enough to see over 50 elephants drinking from the Shire, Malawi’s largest river, as well as hippos, crocodiles and buffalo.

From the valley, our Year 11 adventurers, Miss Oliver and Mr Dikaros drove on to Cape Mcclear. Here they hired kayaks and made the 5km journey over the lake to an uninhabited island where they explored and spent the night with wild boars, baboons and snakes! Upon their return to the main land, the group enjoyed a lovely BBQ and took on some more locals in a game of volleyball as their trip drew to an end.

Staff and students alike were downbeat to make the six hour drive back to Liongwe in order to fly home but did so having made memories that really will last a lifetime. From seeing the smiles on the faces of the Dzalanyama Primary School children to the country’s beautiful wilderness, North Bridge House students returned having experienced so much, and the school now hopes to launch the trip with Year 10 pupils next term.

Big thanks to North Bridge House Senior Hampstead’s Miss Oliver NBH Canonbury’s Mr Dikaros, who put a great deal of time and effort into arranging the trip with Outlook Expeditions and accompanied our Year 11 students on their adventure.