Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Travel Journalism and Global Studies updates

Over the past few weeks of Travel Journalism, students have  worked hard on their writing, interviewing and photography skills. They recently handed in articles showcasing some familiar faces of TTS, as well as some of the people we met along the way on our travels. Students are beginning to improve their interviewing skills and have started to learn what hard hitting questions they should ask during their interviews to help shape their articles.

In photography workshops, we have focused on scene composition, aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. Students have added these 'how to' set of skills to their camera manuals and have been visiting some spectacular places to practices these new tools. They learned how to set a high shutter speed to freeze the fast action of the speedy impala running through the grass, and practiced changing the aperture to limit the depth of field in portraits of our fellow classmates. However, the class favorite has been a photo shoot with classmates jumping in the air with the African sun setting over the river...just an average day in the life of a TTS student!

Enjoy Claudia's article on Chifundo and stay tuned for an upcoming special interest post on Mt. Mulanje's Cedar Trees coming from two of our TJ students. Additionally we're currently writing a series of 'Who Am I?' articles and we'd love you to guess who our writers are personifying in their writing!


By Claudia, Panama, Sophomore

It's amazing how someone can inspire you so much to follow your dreams with just one conversation. This happened to me at Fishermen's Rest one night when I decided to talk to the shy face hidden in the kitchen. Chifundo was her name.

Growing up in Malawi, one of the poorest countries of the world, Chifundo rarely had enough to eat and school was always a challenge. Her mother, just like the majority of women in Chifundo's village, had no job apart from taking care of the house and the kids, and since Chifundo was the oldest, she always had to help clean or take care of her little brothers. However, she always had bigger plans in mind. She always dreamed if going to college to become a doctor. "I noticed that out of the twenty children in my village, twelve had Malaria, and all I wanted was to cure them". Chifundo dreamed big, but college was too expensive, and therefore, at age sixteen she was already working at a school. Here she met the love of her life and became pregnant. Although her heart was filled with joy an happiness, college seemed ever farther away now.

When she was seventeen, while she was teaching him French, her love got on his knees to propose. She said yes with a smile and moved to his village to raise their daughter together. Her daughter was the joy of her life, but little did she know the hardest was yet to come.

At age two, her daughter got diagnosed with Malaria. Chifundo et as if everything was crashing, she felt extremely guilty. "If only I had bought her mosquito nets...". Years went on and her daughter still has to get injections twice a week to keep her healthy. She is happy that her daughter can get treatment although this means having to pay extra money each week.

This awful event however made her more dedicated to pursuing her passion for medicine. She decided to let go of her ideas about staying home, asked her mother-in-law to take care of the house and found  job at Fishermen's Rest. There, she created a budget to save money every week. This is how little by little, her dream of becoming the doctor who will heal her daughter is coming true. Just as Chifundo follows her dream no matter the barriers, I hope to be able to follow mine.

Varied in nature as it is, Global Studies class has cast a wide focus on our experiences in Lake Malawi and South Luangwa. In preparation for completing writing assignments in this course throughout the rest of the semester, the students participated in writing workshops. Topics included formal language and strategies for “exploding a moment” (detailed writing).

We also learned the format of the famous TTS RRQ (we're FFA: famous for acronyms). A bit of background: through the assignment of weekly reflections, students are given the opportunity to process their experiences; the homework rotates between RRQs and creative global reflections. In the biweekly RRQ, students write paragraphs that consider a specific moment during the week: their immediate reaction, and a thoughtful reflection. Peers trade papers and respond to each other's thoughts by writing probing questions, and each author answers the questions. Complicated as it may sound, this format gives the students a forum in which they can exchange ideas and opinions, and express emotions and perspectives. This is a crucial piece of experiential learning! In the most recent round, we read papers that addressed observations from truck rides, conversations with Ngwena, and realizations originating from TTS conversations and classes.

Designed to accomodate multiple forms of expression and thought, the biweekly creative global reflections are more artistic in nature and ask for a more creative response from the students' understanding of their travels. This week, we asked students to write a postcard (addressee and sender to be determined), and explain something they learned on a game drive or at Project Luangwa. We're looking forward to seeing what they come up with!

Speaking of Project Luangwa, part of our Global Class took place in conjunction with this education-based non-profit. A local elementary school allowed us to observe and participate in classes; TTS students interacted with children and taught classes ranging from fractions to world religions. We were very fortunate to receive an invitation from the student-run all-girls Leadership Club. Our students were pleased to interact with girls their own age: chatting about similarities and differences in their lives while they braided friendship bracelets for each other.

In addition to these experiences, we have attacked some complicated subject material: an introduction to the idea of privilege, the terminology of “tribes,” and defining globalization. Last but not least, Ngwena and Samukange are vigilant in continuing to reinforce our studies of the Shona language!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing all those beautiful details about the day to day of our girls.
    I also wanted to share with other parents my impressions from our talk last Friday: so much deepness on the themes they are studying, the level of the conversation with teachers and peers and the trascendence of the reflexions they are doing!
    They will come back much, but far more matures and clear on what they want to pursue in life. Htey will only benefit from that self-knowledge and respect to others.
    Good work ladies, and thank you again