As temperatures drop, the promise of phala at school gives learners something warm to look forward to.

Mary Stokes
Mary Stokes
Communications officer, Malawi

As I was packing for Malawi, I had to decide whether or not I needed to bring a coat. I was under no illusion that just because I was moving to Africa, it was going to be t-shirt and shorts weather all year round. But nonetheless, the question remained; how cold would it get? 
Let me tell you now, it gets cold!  
And yet, over these cooler months, it’s far from unusual to see learners running to school with their friends in just their school uniforms – short-sleeved shirt and shorts for boys, short sleeved-shirt and pinafore for girls. If they’re lucky, they’ll have tied one of their mum’s chitenjes (traditional piece of cloth) round their shoulders like a cape to protect them from the coldest and mistiest mornings. 
So, it’s heart-warming to know that they can be sure they’ll be greeted at school by piping hot pots of phala. 

What’s more, each cup of this vitamin-enriched maize porridge offers learners the best possible start to the day. Whichever school I visit, they are always eager to tell me how phala gives them energy and helps them to concentrate in class. And after seeing how they run around in the playground, I can certainly confirm that to be true! 
So, take another look now at the steam rising from this boy’s mug. See how he is dressed in just a thin t-shirt, and imagine how this hot cup of porridge will warm him from the inside out, truly setting him up for another day at school. That is the power of phala.