Huntersville, North Carolina is a long way from Thondwe, Malawi, but the girls of Brownie Troop 2525 in Huntersville have bridged the gap of knowledge, and turned what they have learned into action. Each year Girl Scouts of America does a project for “National World Thinking Day.” This year five nations were offered. Lonnie Serdinsky, one of the Girl Scout leaders for Troop 2525 picks up the story.
“Since Malawi was one of the countries we could study I went to the Malawi Project web site. After looking at the wealth of information available on the site, I wrote and received literature that gave us additional insight. I became so enamored with the children of Malawi that I decided Malawi would be the perfect project for our Brownie Troop.”
“At our first meeting we printed pictures from the web site, and told the girls stories about them. We showed them huts, and the girls were amazed. They could not believe what they were seeing. We then discussed washing clothes, and they looked at a small boy washing clothes in a blue plastic bucket. We showed a hospital, describing the condition of health care. They were especially amazed at seeing children excitedly holding up pencils that had been donated to them, and with the fact the children there walk miles in order to gain an education. After each question we asked what they thought the people needed. We wrote down their answers; pencils, band aids, clothing, notebooks, shoes, soap, toys and even a car.”
Lonnie continues, as she describes their next step, “During our study of Malawi I set up a mock village, taping off the space for a village hut. All 8 of our girls sat in this space to learn what it would be like to live in such a small space. The girls were all given Chitenje’s I had made for them. They collected firewood (twigs), washed clothes in a plastic bucket, went to the market for potatoes they carried on their heads, swept the hut, and ground maize using a wooden mortar and pestle. They tasted the porridge we made from ears of corn donated by a local farm store. Later we danced around in a circle to a Malawi dance for girls we had downloaded from iTunes. Then we asked parents to contact the school where their daughters attend, and get permission for them to bring a poster about the Malawi project. The girls decorated the posters with drawings of things they needed to collect. They asked their classmates to help. It was a great opportunity for them to feel comfortable presenting their ideas to their classmates.”
Lonnie concludes, “It all helped the girls understand how lucky they are to live in this country, and how wonderful it is to help others who are in desperate need. They were very proud of the things they gathered to send to help in Malawi.”