Friday, July 23, 2010

Amy, Mukuvala dresi?

"Amy, you're wearing a dress?"

Look at the first picture. On the right is President Bingu. In the back with the brown dress (that I sowed out of a sheet last week) is ME! The President promised us he would dance so I took my opportunity and boogied close to him. When I was close enough I shook his hand. Sneak-attach presidential greeting! Anyway, the luncheon was wonderful and the entire affair was a lot of fun. There was a band so of course there was dancing (which is pretty much what happens whenever peace corps -Malawi gets together). It was a really fun trip and I'll update more when I have more than 3 minutes left on my internet. So excited!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Amy, Chifukwa??

"Amy, because?" There isn't really anything interesting about this...I just hear it a bajillion times a as you can see my life hasn't changed too much, Mom.

Ok, so I came upon and interesting discovery this week...mostly due to my ever-increasing chichewa skills:

I'm always, ALWAYS followed by a small (sometimes large) gaggle of children. What I didn't realize until a few weeks ago, however, is that they're not just playing in the same direction as I am going...whenever I go anywhere within my village. They're following me. I walked to the post office this week and noticed two of my little neighbour (I decided to give into the European spell check- hence the u) boys (who basically live at my house) following me closely and stopping whenever I stopped under the (false) pretence that they were playing (that's what they said when I asked them what they were doing). They were just pusing a tire around with a stick (that's what little kids do for fun...when they're not spying on me). I send some letters (yeah!) and headed back to my house only stopping a few times to talk to some friends and do this and that. Keep in mind that I walked over a mile there and back. When I got back to my house a group of maybe 15 little boys (about 8 year-olds) gathered together outside my fence and listened as the two who followed me gave a VERY detailed description of where I went, what I did, how long I was gone, who I stopped to talk to, where, what we talked about, ect. I would find it creepy or annoying if it wasn't so adorable. Since my discovery I've been more aware and I realized that of the group of 20 little kids who normally hang around, 2-5 are always sent to tale me. Weird. I don't think I'll ever get used to it. Oh well.

In other news, since there is such an issue with gender rolls here, I decided to start teaching little kids about "my culture" when they're at my house (I tell them that inside my fence, we're in America so they have to follow my culture). Whenever there are boys and girls at my house (every day) the little girls always get pushed to the ground while boys sit on my bench. I started telling them that in my culture if a woman wants to sit, out of respect, a man offers his seat and HE sits on the ground. Now I have little boys asking nicely for girls to sit on the bench and they sit on the ground or stand around. It's only funny because women aren't treated well here.

Oh yeah, and Wednesday I'm going to eat lunch at the President (of Malawi)'s house. I guess I'm headed to Lilongwe again next week. I won't promise pictures because I don't want to jinx it.

Until next wrist is cramping (my typing muscles don't get a lot of use here). Also, I had another marriage proposal this morning for the driver of the car I got a hitch in, so I'm up to 20!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Tikufuna kucheza koma tikuwopa a makuketembos!

"We want to chat but we're scared of the turkey's!"-some little kids peeping inside my fence.

Hello! Lilongwe was a blast but I'm happy to return to beautiful Mulanje. The trip back was significantly less exciting than the trip there. We left the hostile we were staying in right as the sun was coming up and grabbed a minibus to the big bus depot. From there we hopped on a big bus which left quickly. 5 hours later, we were in Blantyre. We stopped at the bank and to grab some food, then were on the road again. Minibus to Limbe, then another minibus to the Mulanje boma where we had to switch buses twice. Made it back Mimosa and walked the 2km to my house. Walked in right as the sun was setting. Such is traveling to my house from long distances. Sun up to Sun down...but worth it. I have the most beautiful site in all of Malawi. I made it back to my house just before dark, with barely enough time to visit some people in my village, tell them I was back and have them jump up and down (which was a really nice reception after 13 hours of travel). I slept well that night. it was really nice to see people who told me they missed me while I was gone. It was also nice to hear that a few people noticed one of my turkey's was missing and were worried...until I told them I ate it. Then they laughed at me.

Yesterday was the Malawian Independence day (but the 46ths); I spent the day restocking my water supply, watching soccer, cleaning my house, and re-settling in after being gone for a couple days, and hanging out with my neighbor (spellcheck is angry that I don't want to put a 'u' in neihbor...stupid ex-brittish colony...sorry Kristen). Today, I rode my bike to the boma to check mail. THANKS AUNT SUZIE!! You're amazing. Also, halla to Abby C. for the letter. As for the rest of the letters being held hostage in Lilongwe, maybe in a couple weeks. I'm going to return sometime this month for a large event that I will explain better when I have more details...but you should be excited for me!

In other news, I saw about 20 monkey's today riding my back in the same place I saw the one last week on the way to Lilongwe! So that's awesome!

There isn't really anything else to report but its beautiful here, I still have diarrhea and my chichewa is getting better every day. This afternoon I'll go to a women's group meeting for people who make jam...or grow mushrooms, I can't remember. There's still hope for pictures, I know I keep promising. Be patient; they're coming.

Aside from the diarrhea that just won't quit, I'm doing really well here! Thinking of you!

P.S. Cross family: don't think for a second I'm unaware of the fact that our weekly conversation was about 2 minutes long. You owe me 58 more minutes! I have SO much to tell you!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

I came with the intention of putting up pictures (sorry to taunt you) but the computer at the internet cafe isn't recognizing my thumb drive so you might have to wait longer. In the mean time, please forgive me for my rediculously horrible blogging. I know- fail. On the bright side, story:

So, yesterday morning I headed out of my house at about 6am when the sun was rising. I walked to the road and caught a hitch (two in a row, actually) to my boma. From the boma I took a minibus to Limbe, then another to Blantyre where I got on a big bus headed toward Lilongwe. After being assured that the bus was leaving in the next 10 minutes (so I expected to wait a long time) I sat on the bus and waiting for an hour and a half. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Because, naturally, the bus won't pull out until its full. Finally, we pulled out. Right when we pulled out a man stands up and stars praying for a safe journey and the top of his lungs. He finished, with a hoarse voice, then started reading passages (in Chechewa) from the bible and preaching to us walking up and down the isles. Meanwhile, I'm trying to help the women next to me defend her week and a half old baby from all the luggage that was trying to fall down on them. The preacher got off the bus and we were off and running. A half hour outiside of Blantyre, the bus breaks down. The conductor refused to refund so I could try to hitch or take other transportation so I waiting another hour and a half on the side of the road with a ton of angry Malawians for a new bus to come. It did, eventually and we were on out way again. We (my cite-mate and I) arrived in Blantyre, waiting for a friend who was 20 minutes behind us on a different bus, took a taxi to the hostile we are staying in and proceeded to see and hang out with all the people we haven't seen for 2 months. Also, pizza.

Today-bagels. also, we did things like headed to the office, walked around the city, charged electronics, blah blah blah. This afternoon we'll go to the embassadors house for hamburgers and good things that represent the 4th of July. I'm not sure how long I'm sticking around here but I find myself missing my site (which I'm taking as a good sign this early in the game (2 months). I've officially been in Malawi for over 4 months!! Chichewa is coming along quickly. My counterparts whife has started telling me that its a problem that I understand so much because I shouldn't be able to know what people are saying most of the time when I've only been here 4 months. I take it as a compliment.

In other news, I received a phone call from a really good friend, it made my week (which is big since I ate pizza yesterday). I'm recovering from about 2 solid weeks of diahrea (I know you want to know-especially the Ebenezer crue) so now I have to deal with my counterpart and his whife telling me (in a very conserned way) that I'm shrinking and I need to eat more...try Amy, try (they keep saying). ha. Anyway: Major family, I like anything chocolate and most candy. Reallly, anything you wouldn't pawn off on your younger sibling after trick or treating sounds great to me!

The letters have stated to ROLL IN so a big thanks to everyone who decides to make me happy. I promise to be a better blogger!!! PROMISE! Someday you'll see pictures. Worse case scenario, I deal with the postal system and have someone there post them. We'll see what happens. Aren't you excited?

OH. I SAW A MONKEY YESTERDAY! On the way out of Mulanje, I was in the back of a pick-up truck (very safely buckled in, Mom) and my cite-mate, Bri, pointed it out. So there. I'm in Africa and I saw a monkey.

Also, on top of learning chichewa, I've picked up basic greetings in another local tribal language, Chilomwe. People think its HILARIOUS.

2 weeks ago I fell off my bike because I was looking at a bird. I scraped up my leg but its healing nicely (no thanks to the honey my counterpart insisted on smearing on the cut...that just made my leg sticky like a child).

I killed a turkey. I feel liberated as an ex-vegitarian. I cut its head off then brought it to my counterparts house to share. It was just too creapy...pooping on my floor and looking me in the eye and all. You'd do the same thing. I feel more rugged now...Bear would be so proud!

Anyway, life is great here, its frustrating at times but then I realize how rediculous some situations are and I think its funny again. I miss you all and love you lots! I think about you all the time, send more chocolate!