It looks like internet access will be inconsistent and limited from here on out...so less pictures for a while.
On Wednesday Winnie and I were all packed and ready to head to Blantyre! I will miss the Korean Garden Lodge, and the staff have already come to know that I like eating omelettes.
We headed to the WUSC office as we would be leaving with Phil and Jacob. Tendai noticed my Kindle and mentioned they were much more expensive in Malawi, about $250 CAD. She also really wants a BlackBerry torch, apparently BlackBerry is pretty popular in Malawi.
The drive to Blantyre is 4-5 hours long and is very scenic with mountains, fields, and villages. We drove by a large market where on one side of the road is Malawi and the other is Mozambique. Jacob told us a truck driving and flashing its hazard lights means it is carrying a dead body - we saw two of those. At a pit stop Winnie and I decided to take a look around. We saw an area with lots mini-buses and buses. By now we expect that we'll get shouted at and asked if we want to board a mini-bus or buy something. A crowd of fruit vendors realized we were there, and we ran away as they began to move towards us shout (and laugh as we rushed away).
The fruit vendors at the bus started noticing Winnie and I...we ran away
Awww yeaa party time. A night club in a small village on the way to Blantyre.
The drive over was very scenic
When we finally arrived at Blantyre we noticed some differences - Blantyre is far more dense with taller buildings. Apparently it is the commercial city of Malawi and a fun place to be. Within 30 minutes of arriving at our new accommodations, Kabula Lodge which is situated on a hill with a view of Blantyre, we met Sameer, Kristina, and Pippa who are all Canadian volunteers. Sameer will be working with me at MANASO and I met Kristina in September training. We headed with them to a birthday party at Bombay Palace, yes the same restaurant as the night before. There were at least 20 other people in their 20s or early 30s there - most of whom seemed to be medical students from the UK, though there were also people from Germany and the Netherlands. The names are all escaping me...
View from Kabula Lodge
On Thursday Sameer and I walked to the MANASO office and met with their Executive Director, and three other employees who are part of senior management. They want me to work with them to develop a 3 year strategic plan (mission, vision, goals, etc.) and organize a 2 day workshop for ~20 people. As part of this Sameer and I will be travelling across the country next week to Blalaka, Salima, Nkotcota, and Lilongwe. It's intimidating for a number of reasons (especially being female and young) but just have to do my best...luckily they don't expect content knowledge from me but just approaches and compilation of deliverables.
Sameer and Pippa took us around the city which was very nice. Winnie, Pippa and I arranged to go on a safari this weekend to Majete National Park - we might be able to see the big 5! It is very expensive, $650 USD + credit card service charge, and apparently MasterCard is barely accepted here so my money situation worries me.
The Canadian volunteers, and a number of WUSC employees had lunch at a Chinese restaurant - who knew so many varieties of food were available here!
I'm scratching myself a lot and there are a number of small bumps on my arms and legs. I'm hoping its just due to sweating a lot and not due to mosquitos...I am quite paranoid about malaria even though people who have been here for a while aren't.