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Mr Henry Wane's visit to The Priors School

On 17th September 2015 Henry Wane, the head teacher at our partner school in Malawi, came to the Priors School. He was with us until September 28th, working alongside us in classrooms, and stayed with host families in the village.
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He also had the opportunity to visit London with the other exchange teachers.
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Henry's stay with the Wilson family

 

Henry arrived with us on Sunday lunch time and enjoyed roast lamb with the family, after which we took him to Boddington Steam Rally, where saw lots of old tractors and farm machinery which he found fascinating and asked for lots of photos to be taken.  He was particularly amazed that the efforts to preserve our history, not just as a museum but as working

machinery.   Henry was treated to some good old fashioned Morris

Dancing, which was quite nostalgic for us all!   Huw and Henry ventured

inside an old Horse drawn Gypsy Caravan, and also saw an old working mechanical musical steam organ play beautifully without a person anywhere near by.

 

We showed Henry around our farm, showed him our sheep, calves and cattle as well as all the modern farm machinery.  He was very interested in all the crops in store (Wheat, Oats, Barley, Beans) following our recent harvest.  He took samples of all these, as well as livestock feedstuffs back to Malawi with him for the school to help them educate the school

children of farming in England.   He was a little nervous of the cattle,

but insisted on being photographed with Geoff and the beef cattle destined for McDonalds. He'd no knowledge of McDonalds, but later in the week he did get the chance to find out more!

 

We enjoyed home made cake in the farmhouse with Huw and Thomas's Grand parents before returning to Priors Hardwick for supper.  We all had so many questions for one another and we learned so much about his country and the struggles he and his school face as well as his wonderful country and their culture.  We felt very humbled by having Henry stay with us, we are so very fortunate and it has made us all think and encourage us not to take this quite so much for granted.

 

On Monday we dropped Henry to school for the day, and on pick up we took him to Southam Library and Southam Swimming Pool, it was here we realised that whilst most of his school children can swim most wouldn't

even try until their mid to late teens.   We stopped off at the lock at

Marston Doles  on the Oxford Canal, to watch the boats lift and be lowered, Henry was mesmerised by the simple but clever engineering and was surprised when I said there were no pumps involved.  It turned out that Henry turned 40 at our house, although it was not until quite late we found out it was his birthday, but he was pleased to receive a small gift and birthday card from us.

 

Henry enjoyed supper and decided to watch the television whilst the boys went to bed....after the bed time stories,  I was embarrassed to find Henry enjoying an episode of EastEnders.. which was eye opening for him, but we reassured him that it was fiction....hopefully he didn't take too much of Eastenders life as a true reflection of England!!

 

After school on Tuesday we took Henry to Fenny Compton Colts Football training session, where he asked for more photos to be taken.  He commented that no wonder English children had the chance to improve in football with coaches available at such a young age. and I beleive that his school has very limited sports equipment with just one or two

footballs for 800 or so children.   We also showed him round

Wormleighton village and explained the connection to the school, Earl Spencer and Lady Diana.

 

We really enjoyed having Henry, he was fascinated by our every day things, as no doubt would we if we were visiting Malawi. Subsistence farming is the back bone of life and survival in his country, so the farming connection and our plants were very interesting to him, as indeed how we serviced our houses and sourced our energy.  He enjoyed plums from the garden and took the stones back with him together with some other seeds, which he has plans to start a school garden to see if they could establish some plants.  I do hope to hear he has some success, but even if not, it will be educational to his school children.

 

We returned Henry to school on Wednesday, we were sad to let him go as he had been a lovely guest. He claimed not to know how to play Chess, Draughts or even foot ball, but Huw soon found out that he was very good at all three!  Thomas was a little dubious at first of having a house guest and took a little time to adjust, but on Henry's last night he was heard to say "...but I don't want him to go, I like having him staying here"

 

Sadly we were unable to make Henry's farewell luncheon as Thomas was ill and Geoff was working, but we hope Henry had a wonderful time in England and has benefited greatly from the experience.

 

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The Bond family...

 

It was a great pleasure to host Henry Wane at Eve Wood Barn. On his first afternoon we gave him a whirlwind tour of Stratford Upon Avon. Accompanied by Jacob, the designated cameraman, we visited the Bancroft Gardens, the RSC, Holy Trinity Church, Old Town, KES Grammar School and ended up at Shakespeare's Birth place. The following evening Henry visited Southam College as there was an open evening being held there. We enjoyed taking part in the science experiments, walking around the school and chatting to a lot of the teachers in many different departments.

 

In the evenings we took Henry out in the wood on the buggy, we picked apples, fed the swans and fish. From Henry's stay we gained a greater insight into the culture, education and life in Malawi which made us realise how we take a lot of our daily comforts for granted and how privileged we really are.

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and the Willoughby/Meloy family....

 

We had the privilege of hosting Henry Wane for a few days.  Henry came with a sense of adventure and we had a fun-filled weekend with him.  After a stroll around the village on Friday afternoon,  we went to Staverton Park and hit some practice balls.  Mr Wane proved to be quite a good golfer, hitting every shot including a 200 yard drive.  He assured me, however, that he had never played before.  Saturday we explored Oxford, visiting the Ashmolean, Pitts Rivers and Natural History museums; which he found awe-inspiring.

 

The experience was very positive, yet humbling.  Henry openly discussed his school and home life in Malawi.  His school serves its pupils fortified maize porridge, provided through the World Food Programme.  Often this is their only meal.   He has no electricity or running water at home or school.  Malawians lack many of the very basic essentials.  It has made our family reflect on how privileged we are and think carefully about the waste and excesses in our daily lives.  We are keen to provide further assistance to Chimsolo School and look forward to further developing the current links with Henry’s school.

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