So I know I have been slacking on the blog front lately… but I only have internet once in a blue moon. Also, I am depending on solar energy to charge my computer and then must try not use all of that charge on The Office reruns (how are Jim and Pam still so perfect?) leading to a very sorry blog.
Despite all of this, I realize I have been extremely vague when explaining life in Malawi and I apologize. This next blog is dedicated to all of those amazing (and repetitive) questions I am getting from loved ones back home- I dub thee “A day in the Life”.
P.S. This is a fairly exaggerated version of one day so I could give everyone an idea of typical chores and work. What I mean is never would I EVER wash my clothes AND body AND dishes all in the same day. Hell no- not when I am pumping my own water.
WAKE UP, brush teeth, take my malaria prophylaxis and change into running gear
Meet Britney (site mate) at an in-between spot, for a run. We choose between four typical options:
1. Joyce Banda’s house with the hills
2. The secondary school (pretty flat run)
3. The waterfalls
4. The road to Tanzania
Yes, they are all named after the direction they lead to.
Get home, convince myself to add some squats/ab exercises to my morning run and then decide that carrying two buckets of water on my head for 100 yards (twice) works both my quads and my core PLUS gets the water. You know how I love to kill birds.
Get water from the borehole (the pumping also works the back and triceps).
Start the coals in my mbabula and put water on for coffee.
Soak clothes in detergent and water, scrub, rinse and hang to dry.
Take a bucket batha- almost always is it cold enough in the morning to justify warming my water- almost never do I actually take the time to do it. I recently had cement laid in my batha so now I take my baths out of the dirt… this is HUGE news!
Take boiling water off of fire and start some type of breakfast. Usually boiled sweet potatoes with egg or oatmeal with raisins (dried fruit is a novelty to me… hint hint to future care packages out there).
Eat my warm breakfast with a side of French pressed coffee (also a novelty). This might be the happiest part of my day!
This is where you play the “choose your own ending” game.
1. Go to the health center (about 1km away) and help at the ART clinic distributing AIDS medication to the Kameme Community.
2. Go to HS and help at the antenatal clinic monitoring pregnant women.
3. Attend a community mobilization meeting. Since for the first three months of service our main PC responsibility is to assess our community and understand the need, these are extremely important. Sometimes they’re hosted by Red Cross workers, Britney, myself and health center staff . We discuss health disparities in the community such as malaria and proper net usage, AIDS and lack of transport to the clinic for ARVs and sanitation issues because of lack of knowledge and public defecation (to name a few example).
4. Attend a community meeting of one of our local groups (people living with HIV/AIDS, women’s groups, agriculture groups or theatre for development).
5. Sit at home and read.
6. Garden (more on this gem soon).
Noon (or later depending on how long the meeting goes)
Normally I would have made beans in the morning and left them out to cook (about 1.5 hours on coals) then add them to salad. In my village I can buy tomatoes, greens (mustard spinach + cabbage), onions and sometimes avocado. Pretty lucky!
Once my morning responsibilities are done I normally fill my day reading, gardening, doing chores, making bucket wine with Britney or trying to will my computer to charge on the solar panel at Britney’s so I can watch movies that night!
Britney and I cook dinner together often- usually curries, curries and more curries… or whatever idea Britney has.
Watering garden. This is a pain in the ass and will continue to be until the rains come in October. It entails me strapping two huge jugs to the back of my bike (like a true Malawian) and riding down to a nearby creek to fill them, then riding up a hill to water. I am hoping all of this ridiculousness will lead to some amazing summer salads in a few months.
Reading or watching a movie if the computer is charged.
Chatting with friends and family back home via Viber (there is a 10-hour time difference here so we can only really talk before I sleep or right when I wake up).
P.S. if anyone wants to chat download Viber and shoot me a text or email Isabel.firstname.lastname@example.org!
Lights out grandma!