“I don’t speak Chichewa…”
We landed 24 hours ago in this beautiful country and we finally got our dongle to work (by the way, a “dongle” is a really big thumb drive that allows us to access the internet). After 26 hours and 3 planes, our driver, Chipondi, from St. Gabriel’s picked us up from the airport and drove us to the village of Namitete, which is going to be our home for the next 2 weeks. With a brief stop at the grocery store in Lilongwe, where we experienced our first power outage and thunderstorm, we practiced our very broken Chichewa in the back of the van with our new friend Noah as we flew past red earth fields, colorful marketplaces, and goats grazing by the side of the road.
Today will be a day of rest, restoration, and exploring the hospital and village. We have already met so many welcoming and friendly people. The weather is gorgeous: balmy breezes with enough humidity and sunshine to make you really appreciate them. We are grateful to have arrived safely and excited to begin our work at St. Gabriel’s tomorrow.
A personal note from CJ: Clearly Abigail is the writer in the group. Hence – she wrote the note above. To be somewhat vague and etherial, Malawi is amazing. Plain and simple. The people are so incredibly friendly. Noah – my new best friend had his arm around me the entire drive from the airport to the hospital despite me feeling quite sick from presumably a combination of sleep deprivation, just having finished finals, my anti-malarial that I took on an empty stomach, jet lag and strange airplane food. Waking up, however I was greeted by many geckos who made a home in my room and some sort of bird whose call was louder than a fire engine siren. I still have yet to see the beast. So it might not be a bird at all. Also ants. Like HUG ANTS. Also blue and black lizards that are just monstrous, they just chill and look at you with a wild eye. Anyway – today we just rest and explore.
A side note from Sarah: “Mvula, mvula!” This is what the children outside were exclaiming as the sky started to pour. Expecting a moderate drizzle, the three of us west-coasters were completely amazed at the downpour that followed the children’s warning. Needless to say, we are currently taking refuge inside our house listening to the rain and thunder as we enjoy fresh mangos and papayas we picked from the trees in our yard. There is a certain sense of relaxation accompanied by being in this beautiful country. Whether it be the welcoming people, breathtaking scenery, or even a magnificent storm, we are completely at peace and grateful to be here. We are excited for the adventure to come…its only begun!
Abby, CJ, and Sarah
(Photos are taking a VERY long time to upload so stay tuned…)