I have been very busy this month!
A short recap:
At the beginning of April I attended a Malawi Blood Transfusion training in Lilongwe. It ended up being only myself and one other volunteer (Tessa)... A lot of people had come into town for a camp GLOW fundraiser, and therefore did not plan to go to the training. My friend and I thought it would be sooo weird and boring because it was just the two of us (and there were more trainers for the seminar than there actually were trainees, haha) but it turned out being quite informative and fun, and we got free tea and lunch! That Friday we also celebrated Tracey's birthday at Summer Park (a local restaurant that serves good milkshakes, but only decent pizzas in my opinion).
I then returned to site just in time to see Elly off! I was soo sad. Her parents had come to do some traveling with her, so she did not work that week, so everyday after school I went over and sat on her coach while everyone who knew Elly paid their respects and said farewell (Elly's parents don't speak much English - they are Dutch
- so we mostly sat and smiled at each other).
While in Nsanje I had some run-ins with creepy crawlies... First, I have to say that the grasshoppers and moths in Nsanje are enormous. The moths are the size of bats, and the grasshoppers are as long as my fingers. Yuck. But, they are brightly colored and pretty... I still can't handle them 😊 I have become an expert at "throwing shoes". My tactic with gi-normous animals has been 1) Raid them 2) acquire flip flop while creature is stunned 3) aim and throw shoe at the creature. It usually doesn't kill the roaches or larger spiders the first time (even with a direct hit) but I do manage to stop them moving enough that I can beat them senseless and sweep them out the door before they can crawl up my leg. So, this I did quite frequently this month. But, snakes are a different matter. Mostly the children kill the snakes around my house so I don't usually see them, but imagine my surprise when I am walking outside (barefoot - I know, stupid) in my kitchen and I come face-to-face with this black and yellow snake.
We kinda of had this weird moment were we stared at each other for a second, then I turned and ran into the house, and it turned and slithered out into my garden. YUCK.
SO. I spent a lot of my time in Nsanje grading/marking exams for my students. I knew that I was going to leave for a few weeks, so I got all of my work done quickly, wrote all my supplementary exams and left marking guides, and asked forgiveness for my absence while the tutors scrambled to do assessments in the wards for our lazy 3rd year students that didn't get their work done over the last 3 years (long story). I then left 2 weeks ago for Dedza.
My friends and I had a week-long training in Dedza for Anamed (Action for Natural Medicine). It is basically this program set forth to teach people about readily available plants that people can use when they either cannot afford or cannot get medical treatment. It was very interesting. We learned all about plants like Garlic, Aloe, Artemisia, Moringa, Asthma weed...etc. We even made ointments and oils for things ranging from Rhumatism, the common cold, and malaria.
It was a lot of fun, and I learned a lot, and I hope to bring that knowledge back to my site. However, I had a headcold during the training, so the only draw-back of the seminar was that everyone kept making these ointments and teas and had me drinking them. At one point they wanted to put garlic up my nose...
My friends and I got back to Lilongwe on Friday, just in time to say happy birthday to Brian.
Last week I was just trying to fill time for a few days. I decided after the training to go back to Blantyre with CG. I left Saturday morning with her after having breakfast with Brian and meeting Cathy's mom. In Blantyre CG and I hung out for a day or two before I met up with an AVI girl (Hannah) who was working in the outskirts of Blantyre at an SOS orphanage. She had asked Hiram to paint some murals for the children there, but he didn't finish so he told me to go finish his work for him. Of course, my art teachers always got irritated with how long it takes me to do work
(I always liked to have a clear idea of what I wanted to paint/draw before I started, and therefore it takes me a LONG time to get stuff done) so I did not finish. But it was fun to hang out with the kids and paint again.
On Wednesday I traveled over to Zomba to visit D'Lynn like I promised. Her house was really nice, and Zomba is beautiful. I spent the night and she cooked awesome spaghetti. The following day I followed her and her "agogo" (adopted grandmother) to a village. She was interviewing this woman for her work. Her agogo had tons of children that she was taking care of and supporting in Zomba, and along with that she still was managing to pay K100 everyday to visit an aftercare orphanage in the village to teach classes and provide dinner to 32 kids...all this on a pension of about $100 a month!
After visiting D'Lynn's agogo we headed to Liwonde to meet up with Cathy and her mom. We stayed at Mvuu Camp Thursday night and had 2 safaris in the morning! First, after breakfast (which was awesome!) we took a boat safari down the Shire
River. We saw tons of hippos, and even a 4 day-old baby! Then, after lunch we had another safari in a car where we saw even more animals. It was GREAT!
Friday night D'Lynn traveled back home, and Cathy, her mom and I stayed at another volunteer's house. They made us tortillas for dinner and it was also great (yes, I am focusing a lot on food, which you would too if you were used to only eating nsima everyday). Saturday the three of us headed back up to Lilongwe. It was great because I got to stay at Kiboko hotel instead of the transit house, and Cathy's mom took us all out for dinner! (WE LOVE CATHY'S MOM) Unfortunately for Cathy, her mom left yesterday so she, understandably, is really sad now.
Okay, so that a short re-cap of April. I hope you enjoy the pics!
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