Friday, May 28, 2010

To make my sister Happy

Almost 3 months ago I landed in beautiful Malawi on a sunny tropical day. We were received by most (probably ) of the PCV's here at 6the airport, introduced to everyone and promptly rushed off to Dedza (an hour South of Lilongwe). We spent a week in Dedza as t a college of forestry learning everything from using a chim to the offensiveness of sniffing food (that one still gets me for those of you who know about the pickle test). After week 0, we were taken to two villages close to t6he college for 5 weeks of home-stay with a family. I was in Chikanda staying with a family of 4. The 2 parents were both 30. I also had 2 younger hose brothers, a 4 year old, Dalandila, who quickly warmed up to me and by the end of my stay refused to leave my side, and a 1 year old who was as scared of me as he was of chickens. I lived in a tiny 1 room mud, thatched-roof house facing my hose families house. Every day, we went to language, culture and/or technical sessions (except Sundays). Those were some of the most interesting 5 weeks ever. I fumbled my way through Chichewa, admired the beauty of Malawi, and danced with some teenage girls every night after sunset to some songs I didn't understand. Homestay, though while it was happening felt like the longest days of my life, went by in a blur in retrospect. T the end of the 5 weeks in Chikanda, there was a going away ceremony..complete with singing, dancing, speeches and the Guli Wankuli (you already know too much).
The next morning we loaded up everything we collected from PC and were taken back to the college for a few days of administrative sessions and debriefing. We spent a few days enjoying each others company, then were dropped off at the Dedza bus stage with direct6ons to our sites and told to go....come back next week.

5.5 hour Minibus ride (bad Idea) one Rockin night in Blantyre, and another few buses later and we were in Mulanje (3 PCV's here) on ashadow visit. My site-mate and I spent a couple days at out other sit6e-mates house seeing the forestry office, boma, ect, then were on our way again to my cie , then Bris, then a Pastoral Center for a week of intensive Language classes. There ,we reconnected with the 7 people in the southern region, I had the greatest shower ever, and we ate like kings for the last time..probably. After a week of getting in trouble for not speaking in Chichewa for a week, we were taken back to the collage for a few more days. We were prepared for swearing in, cleaned up, and taken to Lilongwe where we took an oath to uncle sam and ate until it hurt. We also got to read some lovely letters from families telling (everyone else, at least) how proud they are....mine said that my room is now the sail locker (I love you too, Dad). Late night that night, then early the next morning, we packed up and were dropped at site...alone.
I've now been at site 4 of yesterday. I'm learning Chichewa, getting my house the w3 way I want it, learning to do basic lack of electricity and running water things, and figuring out whats needed most in my area. I've made friends in my village now and am beginning to settle in though some days are still really long an d frustrating, I live in a absolutely beautiful place with wonderful people (who are thoroughly confused by the fact that there is no Nsima in the US.).
I'm learning to love the temperature,although Winter is coming and I find myself wearing long pants and a thermal when its 70F. I can bike to my site-mates house in 1 hour (door to door) which is about 15km (I also switched to SI) so that's comforting if things are frustrating (which happens when you're 7000 miles from your family, little kids think you have candy all the time and you don't speak chichewa. but I'm learning. I get about 10 hours of sleep a night and I get 12 hours of solid daylight. I have 2 turkeys whose main mission in life is to fun in my house and poop on my floor (all the time) and a cat who didn't take well to being given away...she returned. I think that's pretty much it.

Every call, letter, e-mail, facebook message, text, thought, totally makes my day.

P.S. I just tried to post pictures but it was unsucessful because of the speed of the internet...this internet situation, however, is temporary. I'll shrink them down when I'm not paying for internet and try again next week...or you can wait until I get faster internet. I'M TRYING MEGAN! haha. Miss you all!! In the mean time, you can e-mail me pictures if you shink them down a TON and e-mail them :0. Missing you!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Hello again!

I promise one day soon I'll actually sit down and try to upload some pictures....someday. In the mean time, go to peace corps journals and read the blogs of the recently inducted volunteers. Thats pretty much what happened to me :). Also, you could call my mom...or ME! Its free for me to receive calls! 265991950393. I would LOVE to talk to people. I think skype is 17 cents a minute or something. I also receive texts for free so if you want to spend 20 cents to make my can :). Just saying. Things are great here, just feeling out the area to figure out what there is.

Missing you all! I talk to my family all the time so if you REALLY want to know want to know hat I"m doing ask my mom.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Greetings from Mulanje!!

So Wednesday morning the group of 21 of us took an oath to Uncle Sam partied with the current volunteers that night and were shipped off to our sites the very next morning. This is going to be short post because I'm paying for internet at my market as I'm still working out contacts for the free internet I keep hearing rumours of. So I'm in Mulanje now, where I'll be living for the next 2 years. I'm slowly getting to know people in my village and fumbling through enough chichewa to have small spurts of conversation. Sorry, you won't be getting those pictures today that I promised last time I had internet. Someday, you will see pictures. In the mean time, call my parents if you want information on what I'm up to past what I have the capacity to type in the next 5 minutes....I talk to them more than they want to talk to me. To my friends and family, people I've met in random places, the US government (I know you read this), and the friends of family of the other Peace Corps Volunteers here in Malawi who do almost as much blog-stalking as my family, hello. You should visit Malawi, its beautiful!! That's all I really have time to say. I cleaned all the scorpians out of my turkeys are creepy and my chichewa is coming along quickly. There are SO many letters in the mail. I have a new mailing address: Amy Cross, PO Box 119, Mulanje, Malawi, Southern Africa. Mail me letters!!! or better yet, CHOCOLATE.

Thinking of you!

Amy in Mulanje.

P.S. facebook doesn't like that I'm trying to log-on from Africa so there is no facebook contact until next time I'm in my boma. Sorry Sarah.