CHRISTMAS CHEERY IN CHICHIRI

Although the festive period of 2012 seems in the distant past, it is still in the minds of St. Margaret’s’ pupils.
On the 21st of March 2013, an email was sent from Sister Anna explaining how we could visit Chichiri prison in June, so we could provide more meals for this Christmas, 2013.

Last year the St Margaret’s Girls Go For Health group and the Baobab group raised money by bagpacking, quiz nights, hillwalking and St. Margaret’s Got Talent Showcase to provide a decent meal on Christmas day for the prisoners of Chichiri prison.
The prisoners only get a small portion of beans each day if lucky, and live in terrible sleeping conditions which are cramped and confined with no sanitation where disease is rife.

The prisoners of Chichiri prison enjoying their meal.

The prisoners of Chichiri prison enjoying their meal.

We interviewed Mr McKay, the English teacher and Mrs McNee, classroom assistant and asked them about their time out in Malawi.
We asked them:

What was the prison like?

They replied with, `It looks like a dirty old building, no home comforts, the living conditions are terrible and that it is the worst thing to imagine ever, although Sister Anna had built a nice clean room with tables and chairs.’’

How did you first feel when you visited the prison?

Mr McKay said “I was very frightened, there were armed guards everywhere and then we were taken downstairs into a dark place and we were taken into a room and when we walked in the women started singing in harmony.’’ Mrs McNee then added “ It gave me goose bumps and made me think that everything we do is worthwhile.’’

Fiona interviewing Mr McKay about his Malawian experience.

Fiona interviewing Mr McKay about his Malawian experience.

How do you think the prisoners felt on Christmas day?

Mrs McNee replied with “The prisoners would have been overjoyed, that giving them hope that you care, that’s the thing keeping them alive.’’
How do you think we could change the prison for the better?

Mr McKay said “That we would build better facilities, help a small amount at a time. We would buy more mosquito nets and more medicines.’’
What upset you the most?

Mrs McNee replied with “A couple of things really, but most of all the toilet was tiny, disgusting and the walls were black.’’

Lucy asking Mrs McNee what it was like in the prisons.

Lucy asking Mrs McNee what it was like in the prisons.

All the prisoners appreciated the meals and gifts and would love to have that privilege again next year.
Also, the Malawian president, Joyce Banda arrived in Scotland this week, to celebrate the link between Scotland and Malawi. She started her tour in the David Livingstone centre in Blantyre.
We are planning to fundraise more money to help the prisoners of Chichiri prison by bagpacking, quiz nights and the buy a brick project.

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