A delegation of 35 school ambassadors spent ten days (and £15,000) helping to renovate a school for a village in Malawi in south east Africa.
Some 30 pupils and two teachers from Williamwood high school joined two chaplains and Queen’s Park FC coach George Watson to make the trunkated journey from Glasgow via London, Nairobi and Lilongue to Kimbali cultural village to help spruce up the school and join the kids at school and at play whilst coach George gave the kids some lessons in the beautiful game and handed out strips and footballs as a leaving gift.
“We do this every two years to visit Williamwood’s partner school,” explains Margaux Durand-Watson, one of the pupils who made the trip. “And every other year, the head teacher, depute and two of the girls from the village school come to Williamwood.
“Before we left, to fundraise as a group for the projects, we had a Burns Supper, a Fashion Show, a football tournament and cake sales to name a few. Altogether, we raised about £15,000.
“After a long journey, we stayed one night in Kumbali Cultural Village in the south then drove north in two minibuses to Ekwendeni.
“We spent 10 days in Ekwenedeni doing most of our activities; meeting the girls from Ekwendeni Girl’s Secondary School, our partner school, coaching football to the primary school kids, the girls at the partner school, and the visually impaired school.
The young kids were all always really excited and the young boys would always show off and do backflips.
“They were all really interested and would gather round us and, at the end of the trip, we left them the footballs and strips.
Some of the meals included goat and nsima – a sort of mushed up rice – that’s a speciality from that part of the world. I really loved the food and a lot of it was not actually that different from food at home.
“At Ekwendeni, we stayed in the town hall residence which was basically dorms with bunk beds.
“They had four showers between 30 of us so mornings were always busy.
“The hot water lasted about two showers then everyone else got a cold one so it was always a race to the bathrooms.
“We managed to renovate four classrooms and begin rebuilding a nursery that had been destroyed in a storm.
The kids were learning outside when we visited as their previous building had been destroyed in a storm. We all took part in painting the classrooms but the windows and doors had been replaced by locals.
“The overall trip was amazing and as a group we bonded a lot and have memories that’ll last a lifetime.”