Sunday, 24 July 2016

Day 9: The wisdom tree

Day 9 - Hannah & Rachel

The day started at 430am with a brisk moonlit trek up a mountain in search of the 'wisdom tree'. After giving up and settling to watch the sun rise from a field, one of the local youth group members spotted from the bottom that we hadn't quite made our destination and speedily caught us up to inform us we were a mere 10 meters away from the tree.

After finally finding the tree, we sat and appreciated the magnificent landscape acclaimed by the sounds of countless cockerels surrounding us from the hills.

Being a Sunday, the morning finished with a hour at church in an extremely incomplete brick building with the walls at half height and no roof (church is currently being rebuilt following a battering from the floods). The service consisted of energetic traditional music and dance along with speeches and a performance from our very own motet! Despite some questionable tuning, the performance must have had a great impact as a young boy from the village was even heard singing it by the village bore hole.

Throughout the afternoon we were treated to dance and drumming lessons, hair braiding and another 'Pop up' craft market (a bit of retail therapy never goes amiss with us girls).

The team have thoroughly enjoyed the community day, after learning more about themselves and community, although we could use more help with the dancing skills!

Looking forward to continuing our progress within the village projects tomorrow. See you all in a week!

Love team Malawi!

P.s Mrs Twinham has finally held a baby African style (on her back) - Mr Twinham be scared!


  1. Typed a version of this earlier, and seems to have disappeared. So...

    Wow! What a view! Just showed my mum all of your posts and photos. It turns out that she (and me apparently) has been to the wisdom tree. She got all misty eyed! But also wanted me to tell you all that what you're doing is amazing, and that the people you are helping are so special and loving.

    Hope you're all ok and surviving living without our western comforts! Did you all enjoy your 'downtime' today? You really are making very special memories.

    Final push now girls! Not long until you get some comfort...... And Nutella, unlimited showers, your phone, chocolate, squash, junk food, chocolate, snapchat, Netflix, chocolate, trash tv.... You get the idea?!

    Can we have some dancing in assembly please?

    Lots of love to you all. Stay safe.
    Mrs D xx

  2. hey team malawi! looks like you're having an amazing time, I'm even more jealous now than I was the last time I commented because I have done literally nothing since we broke up from school lol! Keep up the good work, you should all be v proud xx

    niamh mcs - i'm still missing you buddy:( not much has happened in the land of e-j, aside from the sad news that i cannot take any more time off work so will probs be turning up to your party in my waitrose uniform (basically a disney princess right???) talking of waitrose, please please please come back because my only friend who has not either left the country or gone "off-grid" is Ben and I'm not actually sure I can bare anymore waitrose anecdotes (SOS!) anyways hope you're having a fab time, miss u!!xx

    robyn - i miss u harlem :(((( when u get back I'll have a bucket full of ice waiting for u (good luck explaining this one) xx

    have a fantastic week guys!xx

    1. ps. Niamh mcs I see you're rocking the classic "thick plait" ;)x

    2. Scandalous! Have not shared a single Waitrose anecdote... Although to be fair there hasn't been much material out in France and you did get an E.Leclerc vignette

    3. oh I'm so sorry I lost track of which supermarket you were ranting about this time 🙄 I do recall you went on about m&s for quite a while tho lol

    4. P.S well done all, am especially intrigued by the poo chart but could expect nothing less from TGS.

    5. Shh your bickering you two

    6. alright pipe down i thought you were "off-the-grid" ?! have I been forced to converse with Ben for no reason !!

    7. Shh nothing can keep me from reading the Malawi blog daily, no 1 fan

  3. wow girls ... what an experience you are all having. I am sure you will remember this for the rest of your lives with new things tried & new friendships made . Niamh mcs jerp up the good work & we can have a lovely roast dinner next week xxxxx love mum

  4. Niamh C
    So lovely to see a photo of you Niamh !!!loving the plaits girls so neat ! What an amazing day you have all had ! Days in Kent don't quite compare ! Well done team Malawi xx

  5. Hello , g dog here, firstly SAM , don't bring any locals back , girls pls check her bag !
    I am glad you all had some down time and views look lovely.
    I have just had something from the magic wok , a few more days and you will be home xx dag

  6. Niamh C
    Looks like your having a fab time, mum will be glad that you went to church even if you're in Africa. Mum, ed and I are off to Ireland tomorrow so dad is by himself this week (don't expect a tidy house when you get back) miss you loads, 1 week to go!!
    Lots of love Erin xox
    Ps Justin biebers new song is good

  7. Well done Niamh C. I'm on my cookery course now so will probably be eating worse food than you. Try not to miss my charm and hilarious jokes too much. Love from Matt
    Ps and my good looks

  8. Day 9. Sunday. Went to work at 7:30 turned on the 4x4 to get through the snow. I had my hair braided too but might cut it off by the time you get back. Matthew in the West mum and the other two off tomorrow to the Emerald Isle. Dad will be all alone. Surely I will see Vicky and Abby though!!!!!
    Lots of love Father Rowan

  9. Niamh C
    Surprised you managed to wake up that early! Hoping you didn't make anyone miss the bus or anything? Looks like its fun over there, hope its challenging


  10. Hi Niamh C
    so so great to see a photo of you,you look gorgeous,it's just amazing all the hard work you guys are doing,you should be so proud of yourselves.It is great reading about your day,have tried so many times to send a message but for some reason it doesn't seem to send so hopefully this time you will get it.We had a great week here with Matthew,Grainne was in her element,she was so happy and tried to stop Matthew from getting the plane home by trying to run away with his suitcase at the airport .She now wants to know when you are coming over again.I think you will deserve a trip over after all your hard work,we would love to see you Niamh,thinking of you lots,keep up the hard work,lots of love from Ireland Xxxxxx

  11. Hi did you wake up at 4.30 Am??? That calls for s lifetime achievement award Gudiya. Saw the pics...looking good. 1 more week to go...3 days of safari... Nearly there. Well done all of you.
    Btw we went to Rishi's wedding today. All missed you there and were asking about you. Can't wait to see you back. Dadi and Dadu send their love. Tanay sends you lots of hugs and kisses. Take care bitiya. Love you lots.

  12. Hi Robyn,
    hooray atlast there is a picture of you on the blog! Thanks cameraperson. I am so relieved to see you there in one piece - and of course having your hair done. Gemma will be impressed. Hope you are OK and didn't find the early morning start too exhausting. The views from the top looks great.Good to hear that Motet are sharing the music, hope this helped keep everyone's spirits up. Singing, dancing and shopping - way to go! You have just a couple more days to complete your projects. It will be really lovely to leave something which the community can make use of for years to come. I am very very proud of you and all of the girls - I am sure it is really hard some days, but this is such a worthwhile thing to do so soldier on and be brave. I am back to work today but will be thinking about you and willing you on. Love you loads Robz and can't wait to hear all of your stories. Big kiss and cuddles. Mum (also Dad and Tom). xxxxxx P.S GPR sends his love .

    1. be brave? it's malawi, not afghanistan

    2. Dear Anonymous. Thank you for bravely replying to Teresa's comment with no name!
      It may not be Afghanistan (which has a capital letter by the way), but the girls are away from home in a very strange environment for them without their parents there for support, possible for the first time. Also posting sarcastic comments on here is not really in the spirit of the blog. Teresa posted a lovely, supportive message to Robyn so come on.... as every child has been told by their mum.. it takes just as much effort to be nice!

    3. Sorry - possibly not possible!!

    4. Just to say, the Anonymous comment above is not from Victoria's Grandparents.

  13. Hi Lauren
    Looks like you all had a fun day yesterday albeit an early start, we are looking forward to seeing you on Sunday as missing you loads.
    Enjoy the rest of your adventure you are all doing a great job and we are very proud of you all.
    Lots of love Mum, Dad and Sophie xxx

  14. Tabbi I have done something very stupid today.

    I was thinking about the time when you were little (about 7 I guess) and as usual you either couldn't or wouldn't go to sleep. I had left you listening to music and came back in to see if you had drifted off. Of course you hadn't and you turned to me and with a deep, extremely and contented sigh you looked at me and said "I love........" and I thought "oh she is going to tell me how much she loves me and my heart swelled, but NO! At the end of that deep, contented sigh you said, stretching out the words "I love Abba".
    Well, that made me think of that song of theirs, the one I love so much but I can't listen to without it making me cry and I'm afraid I did it. I listened to it. Slipping Through my Fingers!!!!!

    I think I excelled myself in the crying this time. I was positively a sobbing, chest heaving, nose running, blubbering mess (almost as bad as the time I was at the cinema watching 'In America' and was crying so hard the woman next to me asked if I wanted to leave)! I do not recommend other mums listening to this song although this morning it could be seen as cathartic. I have woken up to a very red nose and eyes and a puffy face but have just read today's blog about the early start and the wishing tree and it sounds such a beautiful, once in a lifetime experience that how can I be sad about what you are doing and where you are? I hope any wish you made at the tree comes true sweetie.

    Make the most of these last days. You know on every holiday you start by thinking, 'we have ages, we still have ages, we have loads of days left' and then, suddenly, you wake one morning and the voice inside your head is saying 'it's nearly over, only a few days left, we are leaving soon' - enjoy every moment!

    I love you.

    Mummy xxx

    PS Just read that back (to check for typos of course) and you can see a good cry has made me very thoughtful/philosophical about things this morning - so not such a bad thing! xxx

    1. I can recommend a trip to see Mamma Mia it never fails to give you a lift. (Oh such a non-essential thing to say!)Anyway I enjoyed it on Saturday and am living our daughters' experience with you Dolina, thank you for the lovely blogs. Maybe you could teach the children some of ABBA's songs girls? (did I get apostrophe in correct place Lauren? xxx

    2. oops forgot bracket xx

  15. Hi Issy, I am so impressed by the early start to see the Wisdom Tree and then going to Church. It's just like a normal Sunday in twells ! I am expecting great things when you get back of Sunday morning family walks to see the sunrise and you braiding your mothers hair while we all sing. It will be like a Malawi/twells mashup of the Sound of Music. Am really chuffed at what you are all doing and keep up a good work next week. Love Dad and Mum

  16. Hi Team Malawi! Are you all more the wiser for early morning trip to the Wisdom Tree? Or all the more tired?! The photos are stunning so it must have definitely been worth the early rise. Church looks very different to back home! Claudia, your father was singing in church yesterday in his long red robe - not sure there was any dancing! Looking forward to hearing some African church music when you get home. Not sure what was meant by questionable tuning from Motet? Surely not. Looking forward to more photos - perhaps one of all the girls with their newly braided hair? On a personal note, Claudia, Uncle Biggles popped round yesterday as he had an early flight from Gatwick today. Ivo is off at Italia Conti and Saskia is sailing the Solent with Fran - lucky thing. Hope you manage to finish your projects and keep well. xx

  17. Hi Lou - back at work on a Monday morning but at least the train was on time today! What a fantastic day you must have had yesterday - I'm sure it was worth the early start. And at last I've seen you in a photo - albeit the back of you but better than nothing! Only a few more days of work and then you'll be off on safari - a well-earned treat for you all if ever there was one! You're well and truly on the homeward stretch now and should all feel very proud of your achievements. Hope today has been a good one too. Love and hugs as always, Mum x x x

  18. Hi Beth P - Looks like you are having an amazing experience (although I can imagine you weren't exactly feeling it at 4.30 this morning). We are all extremely proud of you. Tasha is home from Australia so we must all get together to hear about both your adventures when you get back. Love you lots Lyn, Paul, Hannah and Tasha XXX

  19. Hannah's G'pa B25 July 2016 at 01:47

    Hannah - 2 things I just do not believe, one is that you got plastered in a Boyz Loo and two, that you got up at 4.30 in the morning ! All is well in Ide Hill and Esher- Heather and Mum are now in Great Yarmouth where little sister is set to defend her sailing title. With all good wishes to The Malawi Teams, keep working and playing hard. We are looking forward to seeing all of you TOGS home safe and sound.

  20. Hi Mrs Twinam,

    It looks amazing out there and we all really hope your enjoying every moment. HOWEVER we are all really missing you here at home. Wine and Spagbol ready for when your back.

    Love Jack, Graham, Luke & Cheryl.

  21. Hi Gorgeous Girl I love the team Malawi heart wraps and you've even managed to colour coordinate (life is similar in Malawi). You an also rig up a phone with two plastic cups and some string (it's in your emergency bag!) Dad is on First Aid this week so it'll be the recovery position instead of quadcopters - never a dull moment! What do you think about going to Malta next year? I know.... but daddy's started looking already! Charlie is off to see Ghostbusters today under duress but as there are a few boys going I think he'll survive (OMG he might discover girls!! woe is me!). I can see you are in camera heaven some of the views look incredible. Auntie Cathie walked me into the ground on Saturday around London. The South bank was so busy - with sunbathers! even a mini beach. Toss up between Bodyguard and Mamma Mia, the latter won. More when you are home. love you buckets full (heavier than your sand!!) Mum, Dad, Charlie xx

  22. Good Morning, Victoria,

    What adventures you are having! Now, did the Wisdom tree work its magic? (No worries, as you are a wise girl anyway.)

    We are now wondering what kind of tree is it? Is it indigenous, deciduous, evergreen? Is it, or was it, a place of worship or for special ceremonies as the Mango tree is on the shores of Lake Malawi? The name "Wisdom" suggests it might be where important decisions are made by the local Malawians. You will have to enlighten us when you get back.

    I've been surfing the net and found out that there are big plantations of trees being cultivated in Malawi for many reasons, one being to help with rainfall. Apparently, research has shown that trees increase rainfall and help to prevent flooding.

    The church service sounds fascinating and the activities that followed a welcome break from the building project.

    Nothing much to report from here apart from enjoying the fruits of our labours in the garden with ripening cucumbers, tomatoes, runner beans, raspberries, rhubarb and a few strawberries which just sprang up from previous years.

  23. Hi Martha
    Yesterday looked amazing - some time for reflection on your early morning walk?! As you know Granny is always cutting out newspaper articles for us but this week's was a feature on Liwonde National Park and the Mvuu lodge so we have a real idea of where you are off to at the end of the week. The article says how the wildlife and the reintroduction of big cats into the park will help build the financial future for Malawi through safaris there. When you're old you'll be able to say that you were there first before it became "trendy"!! I hope you've enjoyed the past week and know you'll come back with lifelong memories. Were you able to compete with the locals on the hair braiding front?? Still missing you and can't wait to see you on Sunday.....before we send you off to work! Sorry - I know you're going to hate us for that. Lots of love, mum xxx

  24. Hi Rachel not sure how good you were at getting up so early, but it looks like it was worth the effort. You have all made a big difference and should be very proud of youselves. Looking forward to hearing all about it!
    Ps charley looking very cute with her new haircut!

  25. Hi darling girl, I'm really enjoying following your exploits and seeing the pictures.Two of you today! Well I think they are you but with all you pretty girls I might be wrong! The trek to the Wisdom tree seems amazing( is this the same as the Toothbrush tree, ..ha ha ! Lots of love Gandma Xxx

  26. Message to Niamh C from Claire.
    Hi Niamh, it sounds like your having a great time in Malawi. We're in dingle for a week and it very cold! Dylan, Grainne, Kevin and I went to the beach with scruffy yesterday after we arrived. Scruffy went around digging holes and eating sand. Then she started coughing and sneezing because there was sand in her nose and mouth!
    Hope you can come to Ireland to visit us soon.


  27. Hi Tori
    Love Island update....your cousins have photographs with Scott & Kady in Ibiza.
    Katie and Katie are here sending their love to Mrs T, remind her to stay close to the tents when you go camping.
    The work looks hard but very rewarding - looking forward to seeing all your photos of the finished work.
    Loads of love as always

  28. Wow, what an amazing day it must have been and beautiful pictures. Enjoy every moment.
    Sanah, can't believe you were up and about at 4.30 am ( sleepyhead)
    It was a treat to see you in 3 photos. Looking gorgeous with your curly hair and the new bracelets. Have never examined your photos in so much detail and so closely. Can't wait to see how you look in African plaits.

    Everyone was asking for you at Rishi's wedding last night. Loads of medical students there too having fun for a change.
    Missed you lots.
    Lots of luv from all of us.
    Mum xxxxx

  29. Dear team Malawi. Apologise if Issy was a bit grumpy today, she and early mornings are not usually friends, but hopefully the team spirit and your valuable work will have buoyed everyone up after your 4.30 rise yesterday. Hoping you all really enjoy your final few days and hold the memories dear. Love to you. Mum xx

  30. Hi Lou, I trust the wisdom tree has inspired you and maybe rubbed off a smidgen. You all appear to be having a great time and I'm sure plenty of stories to tell which we look forward to hearing with great anticipation (Poo chart apart). Could you take a few lessons on photo bombing, I believe the trick is to face the camera!! Lots of love Dad XXX