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Zoe & Mia are returning to Scotland. Their plane arrives at Glasgow Airport on Wednesday 7th August at 10.10 am.


Zoe's sister Mia is on her way to visit Zoe. Her plane left today from Glasgow. She is visiting for 5 weeks and then returning with Zoe on Wednesday 7 August.


Phone call from Leonie's Mum:
There are photos of Zoe and Leonie and the Orphanage on the way... watch this space!
There is a page on the Web showing the twins Phyllis and Wema when they were 2 years old at the Open Arms Orphanage, They then moved to Yamikani Orphanage where they have been adopted by Zoe!!


Phone call from Zoe:
I have just returned from a great weeks holiday with my friend Leonie. Leonie is from Harrogate in Yorkshire has worked for 3 months in the Open Arms Orphanage and another 3 months at a Cheshire Home here in Blantyre. Her parents have just come to visit her and we all went to Lake Malawi, to Cape Maclear and Mangochi. We stayed at Nkopola Lodge. One day we hired a catamaran and spent the whole day on the lake. It was beautiful. We snorkled with flippers etc.. I saw Hippos, was right next to giraffes, surrounded by monkeys. We stayed in tents (£2 per night) with two beds and electricity and warned not to leave things outside at night or the monkeys would steal them! We also stayed on a sugar plantation where there was a wonderfully sweet smell in the air.. Unfortunately driving back to Blantyre we ended up driving in the dark at night. Leonie's Dad said it was the most difficulty journey he'd ever driven on. There are very large potholes which can't be seen at night, and black faces cannot be seen either!! A dangerous and scary experience. However the sunsets over Cape Maclear are gorgeous. Amazing memories.


Phone call:
I have been writing my report for Project Trust and visiting different orphanages in Blantyre to compare their different approaches, I particularly liked one that was modelled on an African village. This had several houses with a house mother in each looking after around 10 children. Recently a woman arrived with two very ill children at our Orphanage. Theresa took them to one of the state hospitals in Blantyre. The next day I went with Theresa to the hospital but we could not find them. The hospital conditions were shocking with severe overcrowding etc. A parcel arrived from Scotland with some glove puppets. My class had never seen puppets before and when I produced them they got such a fright that some were nearly in tears! I do baking with my class once a week for their Friday treat. I have finally managed to tell which twin is which. Up until now I could never tell Phyllis and Wema apart. I had avocado, rice and tomato for lunch. The avocado season is now nearly over and I am going to miss them. The children still sing Christmas songs when they are happy. They are reliving the christmas party. I went on a shopping spree with my friend Leonie last Saturday. We took the bus to Zomba. We were stocking up with clothes for next year from the amazing street markets. We were returning on what is called the "Chicken Bus". Anything can happen on one of these, doors fall off etc. Half way through the journey back from Zomba the exhaust fell off. The driver quite calmly got out the bus, lifted up the exhaust and brought it onto the bus. Off we went. Never mind.


I am going to Cape Maclear today with Leonie and Laura which should be good fun. Then on the 1st June I plan to go to Nhkata Bay with the girls from Bambino school. I am going off to the photo shop now to develop my next film. I received an Easter package from home today and shared the eggs with
the kids they loved them. I am planning to get my hair all in braids again at the lake.


Phone call:
I have been baking scones with my class. Most of them have never baked before. My friend Sara from Lilongwe stayed with me for 1 week at the Orphanage. Went to see 'Lord of the Rings' film in Blantyre. Got a hair cut and eyebrows threaded!! (all for the equivalent of 50p). Shopping in Blantyre is like going to the world's biggest car boot sale. It is such fun. Piles of clothes on the street etc. Bought an avocado for 5p (equivalent). There was a spell of torrential rain at the market and we had to shelter for one and a half hours in a shop. When we got out the road was flooded and we could not cross. These three guys offered to carry us. We declined. Next thing we knew they had returned with a load of benches and built a bridge over the road for us to cross!
Unfortunately I couldn't take the children swimming at Doogles at the weekend as the pool was GREEN! Been reading a lot of books lately. Haven't missed TV at all. Thought I would. I'm organising and planning the building of an adventure playground. We have fixed some swings recently but the playground will allow the children to have a play time. All possible from a kind donation from Scotland. I love the life here. It does get stressful but it it so laid back and less hectic. My class understand a lot more English and are now well behaved! Back in the first week that I got them I thought: "What have I let myself in for?" It was a nightmare. But it is great now.
Finally, I've eaten flying ants! You catch them, fry them in salt and they taste like popcorn!!


Phone call:
Zoe has now recovered from Bilharzia. This last week has been camping at Zomba with some of the children. Scenery amazing. Had a great time apart from the biting ants. It got quite cold at night. Took some of the children swimming today at Doogles.


Hi everyone. I had the worst kind of Bilharzia that you can get: the one that mimics malaria and typhoid....i do not know what it is called but hey I am dandy now. I have taken the pills and those damn bugs are getting the hell out of my body!! I am going to be teaching the older girls at yamikani how to cook soup as that's what they are going to be eating from now on. Me too, I will join them most nights. Yesterday I joined them for dinner. We had egg, chips and bread. It was yummy!
In my class today we made nice colourful hats and necklaces and played with playdough....they love it. The twins are now in my class and thoroughly enjoying learning, but I have to say they are definitely the class rebels!! And I can not seem to get through to them. Every time I tell them off they just giggle..... some serious action needs to be taken I
tell you!!


I went out partying last night and will be celebrating all weekend as it is my birthday! Leonie, my friend who works at the Open Arms Orphanage, made me a cake and bought me loads of gifts. It was so nice of her. She will hopefully be moving into the Yamakani Orphanage with me soon, maybe at the beginning of April as Open Arms at present has too many volunteers and she is not really needed.That should be good since we get on so well. It was nice last night as Billy, the owner of Doogles in Blantyre, did my make up for me as it was my birthday celebration. He can do makeup so well ... I looked good. I wore a morgan dress that I bought at the market for MK200 which is like £2. It is a gorgeous dress. Everything at the Orphanage is going really well. I managed the other day to keep control of my class for a whole 2 hours by myself. I was very chuffed. I really love having my own class and seeing them progress is so rewarding. At the beginning they found the names of colours really hard but now they totally know them and they are also getting very good with numbers. It was so funny the other day the twins were doing their usual "waddle run" but their trousers kept on falling down. Since they had no pants on because they are potty training there were two wee bare bums toddling about....they were laughing their wee heads off. They are the sweetest! I am really going to miss them. Well my honeys the rain here at the moment as I write this e-mail is pelting down. I am very glad I am not outside. At the moment I have a very bad cough.


Well I went out dancing last night and had a fab fab night. I am taking a group of the children to Doogles to swim tomorrow which should be a lot of fun. We are going to make a day of it. I am going to pack a picnic....I am really looking forward to it. I spent the afternoon at the Open Arms Orphanage yesterday which was a lot of fun.


I received a christmas card from everybody: Rachel, James etc all signed it. It was so so nice it made me really happy. Can you send me loads and loads of letters as I am on my own now at bedtime - I need lots of letters to keep me company as when I read them it is like I am back home!!


I sent off the lake photos today. My class for the first couple of days last week had about 40 pupils in it. It was a NIGHTMARE again. But now we have three desks in the room and 15 pupils it is working very well. I could not cope without the other malawian teacher though. She can keep control of the class so well. When ever she leaves the room the children stand on the chairs, hit each other and me!! Jump on the tables......And they do not understand a word I say to them and just laugh and mimic me when I show that I am getting annoyed....I hope it gets better. I think I have exaggerated the situation a bit!


My class is going to be about 60-70 pupils. Tomorrow me and Theresa are cleaning out the extra rooms and on Monday I will have my own class with a Chichewan interpreter


I moved into the Orphanage a day late but my room looks really nice. At the moment the new class rooms have not been sorted out but we plan to complete that this week so I am helping to teach a class of 160 pupils with only one other teacher it is a nightmare. The children think it is really funny to pull my clothes and hair all the time. If I seem to them to be getting annoyed they laugh and do it again and again. It is very hard especially because I do not speak their language!! I am looking forward to having my own class of about 60 pupils I think that will be more managable.


Various phone calls:

Zoe has now recovered from a bout of Malaria which she got between Christmas and new Year. She is very excited as Project Trust has agreed that she spends the second half of her placement at the Yamikani Orphanage. She has now moved into a room in the Orphanage.


Hallo everyone. Thank you all for your messages it really cheers me up to hear from you all. Christmas day was so so nice. I decorated my kitchen for the kids with balloons, streamers and a big banner saying Merry Christmas. I moved the big table so there was dancing room. Me and the kids just partied all day. We played pass the parcel, musical bumps and dancing comps. Just seeing how happy they were made me so happy. I do not know how I would have coped if I was not around them all, I would have got very homesick. But I have to say it was one of the most magical Christmas I have ever had. New Year was ok but I fell very ill which was not very nice but I am slowly recovering which is good. Ok I best be off I hope you all had a lovely festive season. Bye from Malawi. Zoe


Phone call:

Zoe has started teaching some of the children at the Orphanage the recorder. She has made chocolate truffles for them (the cooking continues!). She bought skipping ropes and plans to buy a real football since at present they play with rolled up plastic bags for the football. From Monday to Wednesday this week Zoe will be helping with a Christmas trip to Mingoche, on Lake Malawi, with the children. Some of them have never been to the Lake before. They are very excited. This trip was only possible due to a recent donation to the Orphanage. The older children are getting their hair specially braided for the trip by Zoe's friend Taps. Zoe is now staying at the Orphanage during her holidays and will spend Christmas there. She has a big double bed (it's the guest room!) and an inside shower. There were student riots recently in Blantyre last Tuesday and one student was shot. Zoe said she saw the police out in force the next day when she was in Blantyre. Read the BBC World Service Report. At the Orphanage one dark evening Zoe was sitting in the veranda with some of the children and there was a power-cut. Suddenly in the pitch black they saw hundreds of glow-flies flying around. Zoe said it was beautiful.


Letter, christmas cards and photographs arrived today:

At the moment I am in Lilongwe with Peter, Tim and 'Sweet and Innocent'. Jess is staying with the Bambino girls. I am planning to spend New Year at Cape McLear with the 3 boys and possibly the 4 new volunteers that have been sent to Lilongwe. We are going to camp, it should be fun!


Phone call:
Rainy season has really begun and the insects are out in force. Picture Zoe inside her house trying to eat at her table with her hood up because very large hard flying insects keep banging into her head! One evening she came back from the Orphanage to find swarms of very large biting ants all over her bed.
She is really liking the work at the orphanage and is helping one of the older girls, Angela (14 years old) to read. The younger pupils love working with the "show-me" cards that Zoe got them to make. It was a sad day yesterday when a woman arrived with her two grandchildren aged 5 and 3, begging the orphanage to look after them. They were badly undernourished. Last week the Orphanage director took Zoe on a visit to one of the state schools in Blantyre. It was built to accomodate 400 pupils and is now catering for 4000 with for example 137 pupils in one of the classrooms. No desks, broken windows, no paper pencils etc. The Headteacher showed her around followed by a huge crowd of about 300 pupils, she said she felt like some sort of pop-star! Last sunday Zoe was entertained at Chris Walker's house. He is Project Trust's representative in the area. She did hair wraps for his 8 year old daughter. More pictures are on their way.

There is alsa a new message from Zoe in her GuestBook


E-mail: I am sending this e-mail from the orphanage which is called the Yamikani House. I am having a lot of fun here teaching in small groups. We have started making christmas cards and snowflakes. Anyway I was wondering if there was any way we could raise some money for the orphanage. They are lacking money badly and anything would be a big help. The address is

P.O BOX 51

I have to dash at the moment as I have to eat my lunch of Nsema and beans!

Note: If you wish to contribute towards the Yamikani Children's Fund you may contact them direct at for information.


Letter: I decided to stay in my wee house in Limbe and work at the Orphanage just down the road. I felt it would be a lot better as I will get more integrated into the community. Have a merry merry christmas everyone.

A bunch of photographs came with the letter.


Phone call: Zoe is now on holiday for 11 weeks. Jess (Zoe's Project Trust partner) has gone to Mozambique for a few weeks. Zoe has decided to stay in Limbe and is now helping out in a local orphanage. Most days she starts at 6.30am and helps until 12 then returns later in the afternoon. She has classes of 60! Play dough went down a treat ... they're making puppets. and 'show-me' cards etc. She is making lots of friends among the local youngsters in Limbe. Her hair has been done in the local fashion with hair extensions ... "It's heavy!". Visited a local maize mill. Planning a camping expedition next weekend to Zomba. Hates the howling guard dogs at night!! Has been baking lots (does she ever stop!) making banana pancakes for her neighbours. More photographs are on their way


Phone call: Jess & Zoe last Sunday were passing a church service and decided to go in. They were immediately ushered down to the front row as honoured guests and allocated a translator for the 2 hour sermon! Afterwards they were invited for nsima and beans. Zoe's bar of soap was stolen ... also was locked out of her kitchen for 2 days due to the enterprising exploits of the local children who decided to hide her keys under a tree ... she had to live on buns and bananas. She's getting used to eating meals with her hands: the tactile experience is much more fun. Discovered a luxury type of banana (expensive ones at 3 for 5 Kwatcha = 5p usually bananas cost 1 Kwatcha = 1p each) also some exotic fruit with six stones and no name. At the Ladybird School Zoe & Jess decided to take a photo of their own classes. This proved so popular they were comissioned to photograph all 14 classes in the school which went down a treat. Zoe hopes to start extra reading classes after school.


(Message in GuestBook from Zoe)


A bunch of Photographs arrived today.


Phone call: Zoe is having an amazing time... loves Malawi. School day from 7am to 3pm sometimes 4pm. Very very tiring. Teaching Year 4 and Year 5. Year 5's are great but the year 4's are so cheeky and badly behaved (some of them). "Children anywhere in the world just want to rebel" Zoe says she is so sorry to all her teachers at school for talking so much in class... she did not realise! She's having second thoughts about wanting to be a teacher!! Starting a Gold Star system for best behaved pupil each day ... 10 Gold Stars get a prize. (let's hope it works) Planning to get a group that cannot read together after school to help them. After school clubs are going great: Jess and Zoe are running a "singing & dancing club" teaching Scottish Country Dance and modern dance. There is an Open Day for parents in four weeks so they are working towards a presentation. 10 Recorders are on their way to Zoe thanks to the kind generosity of Madras College Music Department (Zoe's old school). She is starting a Recorder group. The pupils are very keen to learn to read music, something that they do not learn.. Also involved in Netball training after school. At lunchtimes she has a large group she is teaching how to do hair wraps and how to make friendship bracelets. The teachers at the school are great but all consume enormous amounts of sugar in their tea etc so Jess and Zoe are attempting to introduce 'healthy eating' to the staffroom! The pupils have a habit of bringing live chickens to class to sell to the teachers. Zoe got the fright of her life one day in the staffroom when one suddenly erupted out of a box. A year 3 pupil a few days ago collapsed at school. He was seriously ill with Malaria and was taken to hospital. Last weekend visited Lake Malawi..went swimming ... it is the most beautiful place... getting very brown. A room by the lake cost equivalent of £1.10 per night (mosquito net provided)....eating Chambo ... played bongo drums on the beach... an unbelievable number of stars in the night sky...


A Photograph of Zoe & Jess at Heathrow just before leaving for Malawi (thanks to Jess' Mum for this)


Phone call: Currently teaching 8-10 year olds, about 30 in the class, very much enjoying teaching. Zoe & Jess(Zoe's Project Trust partner) have been playing games/ teaching songs at lunchtimes in the playground with around 70 pupils. also teaching them the Scottish country dance "The Gay Gordons". Took a trip to the Zomba Plateau, (link to photo1/photo2/photo3/photo4) saw a baboon at side of road, plenty large insects, no mosquitoes(!!), gets very dark very suddenly at 6 o'clock, amazing sunsets, is learning to juggle in the evenings, at time of phonecall was camping in Blantyre at Doogles. Zoe has sent some photos home (not arrived yet) , they will be posted here a.s.a.p so Watch this Space!!


Phone call from Zoe: She has been teaching english and music this week. Her house, which is in Limbe, is very basic ... outside cold shower, tiny toilet etc. Sharing house with a lizard which cannot be got rid of! It is very hot. She has Wed, Thur and Fri off next week as there are exams on at the school


Zoe Nisbet
C/OLady Bird Private School
PO Box 30439
Blantyre 3
Central Africa


The Project Trust staff finally managed to contact their Rep in Malawi. Zoe has been reunited with her missing luggage and is happy again!! No direct news from Zoe yet... watch this space.


Brief phonecall from Lilongwe from Zoe: the airline has lost the most important half of her luggage. No more details as yet


Left Glasgow Airport at midday. All my family saw me off including my friend Ewan. Emotional time!!


Almost ready to go! I'm doing hair-braiding at the Edinburgh Festival with my sister Mia just now. Here's a Picture. I also had a farewell dinner with my family. Here's another Picture.
My parents visited Blantyre, Scotland and took some photographs for me to take to my school in Blantyre, Malawi. David Livingstone, the famous scottish explorer was born in Blantyre, Scotland. He explored Malawi (Nyasaland it was called then) and that is why a city in Malawi is named Blantyre. Here are some of the Photographs that I am taking with me. Photo1 / Photo2 / Photo3. I have added some David Livingstone Web Links to my Site.


I have been in Dundee today and bought my rucksack, tent, sleeping bag and loads of pants!!! It was a cracker of a day believe me. Also got my flight to London booked. All going to plan so far. Watch this space......


I am leaving for Blantyre, Malawi on 23rd August. The countdown has begun. One more jag to get (for Hepatitis A) and I start taking my Malaria tablets on Monday. . . Lots of things still to get: rucksack, clothes etc. The flight to London needs booking. At Heathrow I will meet up with the other 7 volunteers that are also going to Malawi. My partner who will be working with me in the Ladybird School in Blantyre is Jess from Aberdeen.



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