Off to Malawi !

or What happens when you don’t read your emails properly

So after stopping as a Head Teacher (I refuse to use the “R” word !) and working for a few companies with schools, I was idly looking through my 1,350 unanswered emails when I came across an email from VSO ( Voluntary Services Overseas ) . Well – why not I thought. Good idea! I have to say it was Christmas and I was feeling ‘Good will to all men !’ Possibly a few Christmas drinks ….And ……..And so began my adventure to Malawi !

In about 8 weeks time I will be off to Mangochi in Malawi as an ‘Unlocking Talent’ Educational Specialist , supported by VSO, working on a Unicef project called “Child Friendly Schools’ incorporating DET (Digital Educational Technology) into the classroom teachers’ practice.

Following discussions with Julia, whose support for my mad idea was amazing, the next step was to inform our 3 daughters. How to  approach the subject that you may be going away for 12 months ……………

“I’m just going away for a few months, well 12 possibly ………..”
“You know I’ve always said I’d like to go and work abroad, well…………”
“May not be around for a little while but………”
in the end I decided to just say:
“I’m off to Malawi for a year, on my own, to work with schools!”  …………………………..And their reaction ………..

“Go for it !”

The support of the 4 ladies of the Barnes’ household has been brilliant. Without their positive reactions I couldn’t have even thought about going.

So decision made ! Interviews successfully undertaken ! Preparations underway.

Medical and Inoculations were the next hurdle. Now who is my doctor? …………Fortunately my medical examination proved I was fit – contrary to how I feel after completing fitness training every Tuesday and Saturday ! My medical history was roughly the thickness of a very small pamphlet . So after a life of drinking copious mugs of coffee, and I mean copious, eating on a very sporadic basis and generally not looking after my health at all, I was passed A1 fit !  Who’d have thought it ? Now I’m half way through my injections I feel a bit like a pin cushion.

The next part of my journey  is to fundraise for VSO and the great work it undertakes.  And that is where you come in ! You didn’t really think you were going to get away with it did you ?  I’m taking part in the Blackpool 10k Fun Run on May 7th (as part of my pre-birthday celebrations!)  It would be fantastic if you could sponsor me either pre or post the event.  Just click on any of the buttons below and Id be really really appreciative and so would he ………..

Hopefully I will get better at working out how this all works in time for when I go to Malawi. Please do follow me or leave a comment by clicking on ‘Comment’ at the top of the page   Thanks

(Oh and thanks to @87History and the @ICTevangelist, without whose help I wouldn’t even have got this far with this blog !)

Watch a short video by clicking on ‘Continue reading’.

6 thoughts on “Off to Malawi !

    1. It’s an honor to be able to call you and Julia friends, there is nothing in this life that is more gratifying than the gift of giving, and the gift of education is priceless. Good wishes in you new endeavor. May God over see you though your journey

  1. Wow what an amazing adventure Mike. You will be making a big difference to so many people’s lives. Good on ya!. I will definitely be waiting to hear all about it. Xx

  2. The Chester grapevine informed me you were off to Malawi, so I googled Mike Barnes Malawi, and here you are. You were never going to sit in slippers reading a newspaper, were you? The better travelled members of the clan are asking exactly where in Malawi you are. Lesley x

  3. Hi Lovely to hear from you No – slippers and newspaper is not really me ! I’m currently in Lilongwe, but moving to Mangochi soon which is where the schools are that I’m supporting. Do pass on my blog to your girls – be great to hear from them
    Hope youre well.

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