Ndimakonda Malawi (I like Malawi, I think?)
Boy oh boy oh boy. Standing there. Silly, tall uzungu, staring into thirty sets of white eyeballs, curiously looking us from head to toe. Maybe they are hoping we do something silly, or maybe they are just curious about the six white people who drove up with bubbles and plastic disks that they hav e never seen before. Frisbee is only entertaining for about 30 minutes in which at the end of those 30 minutes, we are left once again, standing there, hoping that little girl is crying because the other little boy kicked her or something, not because she is hungry. Ross and I couldn’t have felt more useful, kicking balls away from the children, spilling bubbles, attempting a little football...the usual.
Mchenga is directed by a tall jolly Malawian named Arnold who was more than hospitable with the overwelming portions of pumkin, sweet potatoe, and nsima that he offered. They have progressed immensely since last year, says Nicholas. And I say Pow kabam to that news. The floors in the CCBC are no longer dirt and the volunteers there seem incredibly dedicated to preparing the catchment area’s youth for primary school.
“Tomorrow you do business. Today you eat. Like you are home.” Thank you Arnold.
Ashley and Lauren are kicking butt on the research side of things, interviewing like crazy, something we were all anxious about getting started for them. Alexis shook her booty in the dance circle today, impressively I may add, considering this is the third day we have been pulled into the dance mix, pressured to gyrate and pop it like the Malawian women. Nick looked fitting dancing with that baby in the cheetah dress, grrrrrowl big papa.
Though it was enjoyable to watch the group of 40 or so volunteers share in our donated clothes and shoes, it also left me pondering the scene. I took a picture of the distribution of booty that reflects an image of desperation, of hands reaching and begging for the one or two shirts left in our suitcase. Yes these people are grateful, as acknowledged by the amount of zikomo kwambini’s you hear around the room. But I find it difficult to feel fulfilled...
The children are so cute and excited, it isn’t hard to lose track of time before you realize how tired and exhausted you have become. We hopped into the pick-up truck to make our way over to see the maize mill and the electricity, oh wait, excuse me, malawi electricity company has failed for the third month now to connect the power from the power line about 400 meters from the mill in order for the mill to actually function and serve a purpose. This electricity company does not know what is coming to them. Mzungu magic maybe? Alliteration maybe?
All in all, everything is fine. We are “sef,” thank you Morris. The bugs are a’ bitin, the journals are being written, and SLIM is getting it done. Oh! And I got to wash my underpants by hand wearing a chtenge, which was somewhat awesome.