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!