Little by little we are becoming more and more comfortable here in Malawi. I even heard Alexis say over a cold Carlsberg last night, “It feels like home.” But still, waking up and seeing the Malawian bright blue sky overhead each morning does not feel real quite yet.
Ross, Lauren, and I got to see our little block in Lilongwe by foot today with a quick jog in the morning which only begged for the locals to shout “azunga” a little louder. We didn’t mind.
After our delicious breakfast of freshly (but not so fresh) percolated coffee we joined Paradiso’s driver Botifa in the CBO’s brandnew white pick up truck on our first journey to the Paradiso office. Lauren and Ross braved the bed of the truck, and I assure you, once exiting the cities, the roads actually make Pittsburgh’s cracked and holed streets look like sheets of perfect pavement. But no bother, their bums remain unscathed from the bumpy, wild ride.
Once arriving, Miriam, the director of Paradiso, invited us into the main office where we were quickly offered the most delicious Coke and Fanta the world may have. Miriam turned out to be all of the amazing SUPER WOMAN that we heard she was. While feeding her year old neice in her arms, she explained all the relevant news that Paradiso had for us. Things are going great! Interestingly, she made a comment about the organization’s possible shift towards focusing more on TB in their catchment area.
“To be a happy Malawi, it needs to be TB free.” ~Miriam.
We caught the most breathtaking view of Area 24 today, where the children were more than happy to inundate around Lauren, literally howling at the sight of themselves on her digital camera. And even with the wind blowing, Alexis decided to climb a fairly daunting peak in order to capture the perfect picture, it was pretty perfect. Lauren tried as well, and uh, well let’s just say she tried.
The girls (even though Ross and Nick surely would have looked extra fancy with a baby on their backs) got to hold Miriam’s niece Malawian style in a Tchenge. Imagine a 15 pound baby on your back, a fifty pound basket of bananas on your head, another bucket of something or other in your left hand, and a 4 year old child holding the right. These women are incredible.
Once returning to Lilongwe from Paradiso, this time Alexis and Nick in the bed of the truck, naturally we wanted Nisima. “No can do,” said Ali Baba’s Restaurant, so we had pizza with plenty of hot sauce instead.
Osmalawi, Maurice, and Alan were quick to get our attention when they gave us each our first Malawian bracelets as presents and then took us to the closest pub to enjoy a much earned beer. What a treat.
All and all, the day was wonderful, like always. Should we begin to look at airplane prices for next May? (just kidding mom…kinda)
Emily “Still looking for a Chechewa nickname”