Parkside Elementary School Atlanta, Georgia – May 12th, 2016 Visit
Each year, Parkside Elementary School of the Atlanta Public Schools District celebrates Multicultural Week. With her experience from the Fulbright-Hayes Project in Malawi, Ms. Larnetrra Dennard expressed that she would use Malawi as a long term place to share with her students the experience she had while on the Fulbright GPA Project in Malawi in summer of 2013.
Since Ms. Dennard traveled on a field research trip to Malawi 3 years ago, she and her colleagues at Parkside Elementary School decided to invite Dr. Vokhiwa (The Fulbright GPA Project Director from Mercer University) to come to their school for the first time to share his first hand information about Malawi – the country where he was born. A total of 106 learners/students and five (5) teachers participated in the presentation on Malawi by Dr. Vokhiwa.
Prior to Dr. Vokhiwa’s visit to Parkside Elementary, the whole student group was taught the K-W-L Chart. During Dr. Vokhiwa’s visit, the learners/students asked a number of questions that Dr. Vokhiwa answered and explained in response. Some of the questions were: …. “Where is Malawi? What kind of clothes do they wear? What foods do they eat? What does the National Flag look like and/or does Malawi have a flag? What do the schools look like and do they ride a school bus? Do the students in Malawi have cell phones? Does Malawi have stores or supermarkets?
Things that students knew before Dr. Vokhiwa was invited to speak to the classes were that: Ms. Dennard had travelled to Malawi and it is a country in Africa. Also that one has to use an airplane to get there.
As a result of Ms. Dennard’s trip to Malawi in 2013, the students in her class have created their own flag after they saw a sample that Ms. Dennard showed them. The learners/students had a slideshow of pictures of Malawi and the money that Malawians use.
The vocabulary that the students were taught by Ms. Dennard was Chitenje (a cloth that Malawian women wear/wrapped around their body); Kwacha (the Malawi currency), Nsima (Malawi’s staple meal/food), Suzi (broth for eating one’s nsima with) and Zikomo (thank you).
In addition to the vocabulary, the students/learners had the opportunity to play the local musical instruments, tried on the clothing/Chitenje that Ms. Dennard bought while in Malawi) and they also listened to stories from children’s books, music, and tasted some food recipes from Malawi.
During his school visit on May 12tth, Dr. Vokhiwa shared with the learners/students his Love for his country. He spoke about people and the culture of Malawians and showed a map of Lake Malawi and how the lake is VERY IMPORTANT to the Malawians’ source of protein. He also answered all the questions that the students asked about Malawi. The students were very excited to meet a person from Malawi who is a professor at a university in the USA.
It was very exciting to the learners/students and teachers at Parkside Elementary School to hear about Malawi. Dr. Vokhiwa was very enthused and impressed about the questions that the students asked him. He was amazed to hear the learners tell him, “Zikomo!” Malawi’s language to say, “Thank You!” at the end of his presentation. Fulbright Hays GPA Area Studies on Multiculturism bearing fruit at Parkview Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia!!