Wednesday, 7 August 2013

How It Really Was

I am posting this exactly one week since I flew back to Scotland from Malawi. We were warned by Project Trust that often reverse culture shock (‘a sense of unease in relation to a previously familiar environment’) can be more severe than initial culture shock you experience when you arrive in your new country for the first time. When I learned this on training, I whole-heartedly agreed. Surely when the aspects of your life that brought you comfort and security begin to feel alien, that’s when you will feel the most lost and confused. However, in the beginning, I thought that as I was so homesick, it would be fairly easy to go home as there was nothing that I wanted more.

I will confess now, that my first 4 months in Malawi were some of the hardest of my life. I look back on my blog posts from that time and feel a bit like I was deceiving my ‘audience’, trying to sound upbeat; like I was facing every problem with a positive attitude. That definitely wasn’t the case.

It took us well over 4 months before we found our niche at TST, as we were the first volunteers not to live on site with the children. Additionally, for the first couple of months, Nama Simba was our own personal hell on earth. On Sunday evenings we would be filled with anguish knowing that we would have to go there the next morning. Louise ended up buying a motivational poster in town to keep us going. This was when we only went to ‘teach’ there once a week and I still remember once when we were trying to cheer each other up after a horrible Monday by saying: ‘We only have to do that 50 more times!’ If you’d told me then that we’d end up going 2/3 times a week simply because we wanted to, I would have laughed in your face. This was another circumstance where we had to find our niche – and tell Mary that things had to change. We had tried to teach these kids, over and over, for months and we couldn’t do it. Our Chichewa wasn’t good enough, they had trained teachers who could do a much better job and the kids had absolutely no respect for us in order to listen to what we were saying. At first, Mary urged us not to give up and that she would make some changes. The first was to tell the kids to stop being violent towards us and to tell them to address us as ‘aphunzitsi’ (meaning teacher) rather than ‘azungu’. Even after this, and the promise than there would always be caregiver in the room when we were teaching, things did not improve. We decided that we would not teach anymore, it was pointless and no one was gaining anything from it. For the last 6 months or so, we simply interacted with the children; played with them, broke up fights and treated any cuts or bruises that occurred. As our Chichewa had greatly improved, we were able to communicate with the children, teach them the numbers, names of body parts and understand, to some degree, what the children said when they chattered away to us. While I don’t think we changed the world, we at least showed these kids some affection and care. I really grew close to them.

As for TST, we have achieved what we couldn’t have done after spending only a couple of weeks in Malawi; relationships with the children. As well as that, we have become proficient in one-to-one tutoring, mostly in Chichewa. I like to think the children didn’t see us as regular ‘azungu’, people with money, but as friends. When we were in Blantyre, kids who had ran away from TST and who were back living on the streets would seek us out, shouting ‘Louise! Catriona!’ and come over, not to ask for money, but just to have a chat. This was always sad for us, to see kids who have chosen street life over TST, their clothes dirty and ragged, their hair a mess, but I was always glad to see them.

Now, I’ve mentioned at times that living in Baluti can be hard. I would say that this was the hardest aspect of my year. We lived in a village where there were no other azungu around, especially not living like the locals like we are. This meant we were an extreme oddity and we were made to feel it. The village kids gave us a hard time, right up until the end. I feel pretty pathetic writing this, as I’m sure some people would say that they are only children. Well, these kids would siege us in our own home. Hammering on the doors and windows, yelling ’AZUNGU’ through the keyhole over and over and over. They would throw rocks, climb onto the roof, force sticks through the gaps in the windows and move the curtains back. I was always scared that one day one of the doors would give when three of them were throwing their weight against it or one of their stones would smash a window and we’d have to wait days for it to be repaired. When we had a guard that we could rely upon, at least we were comforted by the fact that when he arrived around 6pm, the kids would run away. However, we’ve had so much trouble with guards just not showing up and giving me outright lies when I asked them why they weren’t there the night before. Sometimes, we would come home to find around 30 kids waiting for us. Not with malicious intent, but they would be playing on the swings or the slide, and get very excited when we appeared. A lot of them knew our names by the end, so we’d get shouts of ‘Rueezi! Come and play with us!’ and they’d run at us, holding on to our arms and grabbing our hair and bags. This would be okay, but then we’d have to try to get in our door. All the kids would rush forward when they saw me put the key in the lock. Even kids who were perfectly nice to us when we passed them in the village would get caught up in the excitement and throw themselves at the door after Louise and I rushed in and tried to close it behind us. It took both me and Louise to hold the door shut so we can lock it. On a good day, the kids would bang and knock at the door for a couple of minutes before going back to playing on the climbing frame. However, on a bad day, they’d play a game of ‘Who Can Break into the Azungu’s House?’

By the end of the year, I’d say things definitely weren’t as bad as they used to be, but it always frustrated me that the kids continued to give us hassle. The lowest point was when, 8 months in, our house was graffitied. This was particularly demoralising, because we really thought we were making progress towards being accepted. It was the day we were out in the village with the TST kids as they were doing a drama about HIV/AIDS to educate the locals. 
After this, a lot of the village kids followed us home, and when we got back from work, the walls were covered with letters and skulls and crossbones. I wouldn’t say it was malicious, but it infuriated me that no one else was getting their house graffitied, just the azungu.

The overall treatment of white folk in Blantyre is something I have not missed since coming home. I have mentioned before that most Malawian people, particularly men, see white people as walking ATMs and we were treated as such. People would often shout after us whenever we walk down a street, asking for our names, our hand in marriage, our money. Even children that we had walked past hundreds of times on our way to work still demanded money from us every time they saw us. Though we never gave them anything, it didn’t make a difference because the impression of white people as ‘the people who give’ was too strong in their heads.

I feel like I’ve spent my whole year going on about how people shouldn’t go into poor communities and just ‘give’, so I don’t feel like hammering on about it now. However, I will say that the negative treatment we received during our stay in Malawi is going to keep happening to foreigners – probably indefinitely – as azungu will continue to go to poor countries and throw money at less fortunate people. And though these people are only trying to help, I don’t think this is a great way to improve the lives of those in need.
I don’t claim to have all the answers, or to have spent a mere year in one of the poorest country in the world and become a development expert. I really wish there was an easy answer to the problems so many struggle with, but, to quote John Green, ‘the truth resists simplicity’.

Thank you to everyone who helped me fundraise and donated to get me to Malawi. I would not have gotten there without the generosity of so many people and the hard work of my family, so I am extremely grateful to everyone who helped me. I’ve had an incredible year and could not have done it without the support of my family and so many of my friends. Without my unfaltering Project Trust partner Louise, I would definitely not have made it to the end. I could not have done it without her. Thank you, Louise, for always being there.

So this is the last post on my Catriona in Malawi blog. Thank you to everyone who kept up with my life for the past year – it meant a lot to me. I don’t want to end on a low note – I am still very grateful to have been given this opportunity to experience such an amazing and different culture so intensely. I will always remember my time in Malawi and the people I became close with there. I will definitely go back - despite all the bad times, I feel like Blantyre has become a little home away from home. I’ve made some amazing friends this year and I feel like I’ve come home a better person. No regrets here.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Hakuna Matata!

Where has the time gone?

I swear I blinked and 2 months went by. I have about 2 weeks left in Malawi and it’s really scaring me. So here’s what I’ve been up to recently.

 The first week of June saw Louise and I performing in the Lion King. I said in a previous post that I was Zazu and Timon and Louise was Sarabi. However, because one of the actresses dropped out at the last minute, Louise filled in for Nala instead. It was one of the best weeks I have ever had in Malawi. We got really great feedback and basically had an amazing time. I’ve made some great friends because of it, with some really talented people. For the first time in my year, I really felt that I had been accepted into a community. We did 5 performances, each with its own hiccups, but on one of the nights there was a power cut right before we were meant to start which delayed us by about 30mins. It was so purely Malawi. As the week went on, word began to spread, so that on the last night the audience was the largest ever in Nanzikambe history.
 Julian (co-director and Banzai) and Louise (Nala)
Me as Zazu and the hyenas
Joshua (Simba) and Matilda (co-director and Rafiki)
 I was given the unofficial duty of repairing Chimwemwe's trousers...
 The masks

The aforementioned Matilda, our friend and fellow volunteer, has now gone home. It was really sad to see her go, especially as we’d spent so much time with her at rehearsals over the past 2 months. Matilda is an incredibly talented singer and actor – she’s one of those people that you know you will be a success one day, and you’ll be able to say “She asked me to sing harmony with her once!” A hard part of a temporary volunteer is that you have to say goodbye to a lot of people, without any certainty that you’ll see them again. We had to do this with our friends of the first 4 months (who we went to the Lake with) Walter and Sung, they were both off to university in South Africa. However, we were walking to town a couple of weeks ago, when a car beeped at us as it went by. Now this is really common, as some people know us, or think they know us, or want to give us a lift. Also, minibuses are always beeping their horns to try to get the attention of those walking past – so you usually don’t even look up when you hear a horn. So we look up at the last minute and get a glimpse of a guy in a 4 by 4. So we then go through every guy we know, and who it could possibly be. We both thought he looked a bit like Walter, but dismissed this as he’s in South Africa! Why would he be back in Malawi?
Long story short, I get a call from Walt ten minutes later to say yes, that was him we just saw and yes, he is back in Blantyre to help his parents move. I said my goodbyes to Walt in December, before I went to Dubai, fully aware that I wasn’t likely to ever see him again, so this was amazing! We met up with him at Doogles that night, saw a lot of old faces as everyone is back for the holidays and basically had a really nice night. It goes to show that you really never know when you might see an old friend again.
So something I haven’t been mentioning in these posts is that for about a month, from mid May to the end of June, Louise and I had been staying in an expat area of Blantyre called Namiwawa. This is because Sylvia, the head of the NGO Joshua Orphan and Community Care that helps to fund Nama Simba, went back to England to see her family and go house hunting (among other things). Sylvia kindly let us stay in her lovely house with fellow volunteers Jean and Jessie while she was away – giving us hot water, constant electricity, a fridge and an oven! It was a nice break from the living in the village – which can be really tough at times. No kids following us home and trying to break into our house, no chasing up the guard for not turning up every other day, no finding lizard poop all over the house. While it was a welcome respite from village life, we were glad to get back to our old routine, our old house with all its faults. It was more expensive to travel to and from Nanzikambe and TST from Namiwawa, and would had to do a lot more walking, and it was just nice to be back at home. Nevertheless, we are extremely grateful towards Sylvia for her generosity and kindness towards us.
Work has been pretty regular, after a small break right before the Lion King performances for daily rehearsals, but we have recently been told that Project Trust are not sending any volunteers to TST or Nama Simba next year. This means that there won’t be anyone living in our house next year. This means that we have to get rid of a lot of stuff that we had assumed we could just leave for next year’s vols. A lot of stuff we plan to give to the kids at TST or stuff like matches and salt to Nama Simba, but other things, like books we use to teach or paper, we’ll give to another Project Trust project. We’ve recently starting being a lot more generous with stickers, as we have hundreds to get through before we leave.
 Phillip hard at work...
 Louise and the boys
 Saidi and Me
 Dyna and Me

‘Leaving’ seems really soon now. We have 3 weekends left to do the things we’ve been meaning to do since we got here. We made a resolution to climb the three mountains surrounding Blantyre – Mt. Michiru, Mt. Ndirande and Mt. Soche. About 2 weeks ago, we went to Zomba to climb up to the Zomba Plateau, a week ago we climbed up Mt. Michiru and last weekend we climbed to the top of Mt. Ndirande. With plans to go to the top of Mt. Soche next week, we’ve become the kind of people who go hiking in their spare time, which still baffles us.

 Moon at Zomba
 Found a ginger tree
Me kicking Julian's ass at chess on Zomba Plateau
Mount Michiru

 Louise being Nala in the Hyena Hide
 Wobbly table!
 Found these awesome leaves

A couple of weeks ago, the African Netball Tournament was hosted in Blantyre. I went to see some Nanzikambe Arts dancers perform at the opening ceremony, then went to see the final a couple of days later – South Africa vs. Malawi. Malawi are said to be the best team in Africa and 5thin the world, but unfortunately we lost by two points. It was really close… or so I’m told, because I couldn’t really see what was going on. It was all standing, unless you were a netball official. Louise saw most of it, though, and got some good pictures.

So, that’s about it! I’m working on a mammoth blog post to put up right before I leave, so I promise there will be another one of these before I’m home. It’s coming up to the point that it would be risky to send me anymore mail, as I won’t be here to receive it. So no more letters please! I will see everyone really soon.


Sunday, 19 May 2013

Far over the Misty Mountains cold...


Right, it’s been a month. Soz.                                        
So about a month ago, I went on holiday with Louise and her visiting family. One of the things on my list of Things to Do in Malawi was to climb Mount Mulanje (biggest mountain in Malawi) and so Mary (Louise’s sister), Peter (Louise’s sister’s boyfriend), Louise and I set off for Mulanje. 2 minibuses and 3 hours later we arrived in Mulanje and, after organising our guide and porters and having a quick pizza, we boarded the most cramped minibus Louise and I have ever been on. It was beyond imagination. Here’s how the minibuses are designed to be used:

Here’s how the bus to Likhubula was filled.

And I was the person who had the conductor practically sitting on their lap.

So we finally got to the foot of the mountain, to find our porters and guide waiting for us. We were to stay on the mountain for 2 nights and so each of us had a back pack and hiking rucksack holding our sleeping bags, clothes, cooking equipment and food. The porters took our big rucksacks up and down the mountain for us and thank goodness they did, as we would never have managed it ourselves. So began our first day of climbing. I am not going to lie, it was effing hard. 5ish hours of uphill in the heat, then cold as it got dark. Louise obviously managed absolutely fine because she’s some kind of superhuman, but Peter, Mary and I struggled. The first day was definitely worst. I found I was too busy trying to get my breath back to really enjoy the views or the hike. However, we eventually got to the hut after what felt like forever. The Chambe hut was quaint and cosy, but freezing cold. We cooked dinner over a fire, which took a considerable amount of time, and then crawled into our sleeping bags for the night. As we had arrived at the hut in the dark, the view the next morning was breath-taking.

After an early breakfast, and the experience of using a long drop, we set off for the second hut. This time we had a better idea of what we were in for, but as we were getting higher it started to get wet as we hit the mist. This added the hazard of slipping and cracking your head open on the rock. It is said that J. R. R. Tolkien got his inspiration for the Misty Mountains from the Hobbit when he was in Southern Malawi having scaled Mount Mulanje. It was easy to see why. We couldn’t see any further than 6 feet in front of us in the worst of it; we could have been the only people on earth. We got to Likhubula hut while it was still light, and we endeavoured to explore the surrounding area as our guide had advised us. However, it was so cold and wet (it was raining heavily by this point) that we ended up just spending the afternoon playing Hearts while huddled around the fire. We had another cold night, sleeping in front of the fire this time, before making our descent the next morning. It was even wetter, if possible, and we all had a few falls (except Peter) but we could feel it getting warmer and drier the lower we got. When we got to the main road that afternoon, our guide assured us that there were frequent minibuses that would take us back to Mulanje. However, we needed to get back to Blantyre the same day and, after waiting about an hour for a non-existent minibus, we were getting desperate. In the end, we had to take bicycle taxis back to the town. It was one of the most terrifying things I have ever done. I found that if I tensed all of my muscles and closed my eyes, it made it slightly more bearable. It was exhilarating though, another thing to add to my list of crazy things I’ve done. And we managed to get back to Blantyre that day.
Did I enjoy climbing Mount Mulanje? Not really. But I had a great time with Louise, Mary and Peter and did something I’ve been meaning to do since I got here.

But the adventure didn’t stop there! We were also going to Lake Malawi to spend a night at Cape Maclear and then a night on the picturesque Domwe Island. However, this meant we had to get to Limbe in order to get a bus to Monkey Bay, then another one to Cape Maclear. As we were walking up Blantyre’s highway with all our bags to get our first minibus, a Malawian guy started to tell us that the Polytechnic College students were demonstrating, that they were ‘grabbing things’ and that we should move out the way. It was just then that we to the huge angry mob of students come barrelling up the highway. As soon as they saw us, all of them started chanting AZUNGU at the top of their lungs. A chant that sounds harmless coming out of the village kids’ mouths became absolutely terrifying as we were forced to run up the hill to find refuge from the demonstrators before they grabbed our bags. Many of them were brandishing road signs and bits of bus stands that they had knicked. The guys who had warned us helped us get to a car park and out of sight as the mob passed. There are times that I have felt pretty unsafe in Malawi, but this was one of the worst. Ah well, another experience for me.

We got to Monkey Bay that night (a whole day of travelling) and paid an arm and a leg to get them to take us to Cape Maclear. We were staying at Gecko’s Lounge for only one night, but we’ve vowed that we must go back. It was beautiful, right at the water’s edge; with hammocks and kayaking and boat rides… it’s just such a chilled place.

The next morning we left for Domwe Island. It was amazing. We stayed in tents on little platforms looking out onto the Lake, with hammocks to relax in and a beach for swimming and kayaking. We went up to this rock that is perfect to see the sunset – it was incredible.

We got the boat back to the mainland the next morning, then set off for Lilongwe for Lou, Mary and Peter to head off to Zambia and for me to get a big bus back to Blantyre. I don’t want to go into how we got back to Lilongwe – we basically got ripped off and they refused to give us our money back. It makes me realise how lucky we are in Blantyre to have minibuses everywhere; by the Lake you rely on matolas (pick-up trucks with people in the back) and you never know whether one is going to come along. Anyway, hopefully I’ll never have to rely on them again.
So then I got back to Blantyre and had a week and a half by myself as Louise was on safari. It was actually kind of nice to have the house to myself for a bit. Also I was seeing my other friends a lot as I was at rehearsals most days.
What was that? Rehearsals? What is this? Well, I can finally disclose that for the past month I have been rehearsing for the Lion King. Yes! Fellow PT volunteer Matilda and her roommate Julian work at Nanzikambe Arts and are directing a Chichewan take on the Disney film. I am playing Zazu and Timon and Louise is playing Sarabi. The performance is in 2 weeks so we’re pretty much rehearsing non-stop, but it’s really good fun and I’ve met some really awesome people because of it.
Lots of other stuff has been happening too, but this is already way too long so I’m going to sign off here.
I am past my 8 month mark with about 3 months to go. It’s all seeming really soon, but I am looking forward to seeing everyone again.

Stay well! 

Sunday, 21 April 2013

What's in a title?


Didn’t I say I would do a blog post this week? And I did. YES.

The past 2 weeks have been quite busy: at TST we’ve been doing lots of Maths tutoring. One of the Malawian volunteers was leaving so the kids got sweets and the adults had a party of sorts. Basically, we were all herded to the ICT room, where music was played and everyone started dancing. I was trying to imagine my old teachers at Meldrum doing this, but couldn’t. It was a great example of how different the culture is over here; Lou and I are so used to it that it doesn’t take us by surprise nearly as often, but this certainly did.
That day we also had an Italian woman visiting TST. Mary Cristina’s French was better than her English, so when Edwin asked her to introduce herself to the TST kids, she spoke in French which Louise translated to English which then Edwin translated to Chichewa. I was really cool to witness – it made me ashamed that my French is still miles better than my Chichewa after being immersed in the latter for 7 months.
At home, the water was off again. The entire village was dry for 3 days – the longest we’ve ever had to cope without. While this doesn’t seem like a long time, even with water stored up we all really struggled. We never know whether the water will be off for 2 hours or 2 days, so we are conservative of every drop. Bucket showers are seen as an unnecessary luxury and the toilet only gets flushed once a day (with used dish/clothes washing water). This is hard enough with 2 people, but Georgia was also staying with us. We made it fun however, as it became a bit of a competition to see who could use the fewest dishes in one day. On the bright side, electricity has been really good recently. Although, given the chance, I would definitely swap no water for no power. I hadn’t washed my hair for 6 days when the water finally came back on.
Last week I accompanied Louise for the Street Child Ministry before church. The street children are welcomed into the Pentecostal Church where they all sing together and play some drums. I found it really moving to witness all these children united by their faith. Then Pastor Francis comes through to preach to them in Chichewa, before they receive mandasi and sobo (round doughnuts and fruit squash). When I was briefly around for the Street Child Ministry on Easter Sunday, I had noticed Saidi – a TST child who had run away a few weeks ago – and I had asked him why he wasn’t at TST and whether he wanted to go back. While I couldn’t get a coherent reason out of him, he and fellow TST-runaway Esau said they wanted me to take them back to the centre. I told them to meet me outside KFC the next day at 10am, but they didn’t show. I wasn’t altogether surprised – add the fact that these kids had no way of telling the time to Malawi’s tendency to be late and there was next to no chance of the kids making an appearance. Last week, he looked even worse than before – absolutely miserable and not even joining in the singing and clapping. So I decided to take him back to TST there and then, before I lost sight of him again. Esau also found his own way back the week before. The change in Saidi is almost indescribable. He is always delighted to see us, throwing himself into the work we set him and, most importantly, happier than we’ve ever seen him. If I leave Malawi achieving nothing else, I will be satisfied. All children should have the chance to be happy. That is one of the many things that TST gives these kids.
So yeah, climate change is messing us around. We’ve had far too much rain, way too late, and now we’re ranging from having November-esque heat to nights where we can see our breath in front of us! What is this?
So Georgia left us last week. It was sad, especially because she’d been living with us for the past 2/3 weeks. And with Steph gone home, it’s just Matilda, Louise and I left of the Baluti/Nancholi crew. But we shall prevail! (What we shall prevail, is still unknown.)
I don’t have any pictures! So here’s a picture I took of Steph’s exposed shoulder after I claimed it for Narnia.


We came home from work last week to find three kids playing outside. They had pair of rollerblades and two of them had a skate each, skating one-legged-ly alongside the wall. The third kid looked just as happy as he pretended to skate in his flip-flops.

When washing the dishes after we make nsima or phala, I always poke the dregs down the plug hole. Louise is constantly paranoid that the sink will block and I always wave her away saying ‘Nsima/phala is water-soluble! It’ll be fine.’ Well, I managed to block the sink. However, I simply unscrewed the U-bend and emptied it, feeling like a pro. 

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Apparently I am doing a monthly blog - it's April now


Eeeee, when did I last clock in? 10/3/13? Okay, what’s happened since then?

Well, it’s the school holidays at the moment, so there’s been no Nama Simba for two weeks. This unfortunately coincided with our Project Trust Desk Officer visit. So we couldn’t show her the work we do at the nursery. We did still take Kate to TST, however, and showed her where we live. It was really great to see her again and give her our feedback on our year so far.

Kate’s visit happened to be right after my parents came to Malawi. After I met my Mum and Dad in Lilongwe, we spent two nights in Central Malawi at the Tongole Wilderness Lodge – luxury with a capital L. An entire ‘River Suite’ to myself, complete with a bath the size of a small swimming pool. The lodge was built near an elephant river crossing, so it was not uncommon to see elephants going for a dip. I even got to see a wild leopard tortoise! Since I’ve been fascinated by tortoises for as long as I can remember, it was definitely the highlight of the trip. I then took my parents to Blantyre to show them around, before we went down to spend two nights at a tea estate in an area called Thyolo (Cho-low). It was hard saying goodbye to my family knowing I wouldn’t see them for another 4 months, but my current mantra is ‘less to go than has already been’.

Our friends who we used to refer to as the ‘Nancholi girls’ have all moved out of Nancholi. It is the nearest village to Baluti so we could really easily see them, as they were only a 30 minute walk away. However, as Matilda has moved in with some friends she works with and Steph has gone home to England, Georgia has moved in with Lou and me. It’s really nice to have her around, and she also shows her gratitude towards us by buying us doughnuts and jelly beans. J Georgia will be leaving us soon, however, to go back to the orphanage so volunteers at in Tanzania. It will be really hard to see her go – the ‘Nancholi’ girls have been our closest friends while we’ve been out here and she will be sorely missed.

This Easter Sunday, Georgia and I went with Louise to church. She goes to a Pentecostal Church in Blantyre that also runs a project for street children that Louise helps out with. I’ve always said that I could come along just for that, but when I looked in and saw a tonne of kids who had run away from TST, it was so demoralising. These are children who couldn’t take living in an institution, because of the routine or the rules or any other restriction that they don’t have to deal with on the streets. I tried to convince each of them to come back, but they all had ‘good’ reasons for leaving and couldn’t be swayed. It won’t stop me trying, though.

Speaking of TST, we’ve been pretty busy this week with the kids being off school. The kids just shout ‘MASAMU’ (Maths) as soon as they see us nowadays and we are often swamped from the minute we get there until the minute we leave. It’s such a contrast from the first 6 months – it makes me wish we had had only been spending the afternoons there from the beginning. At least next year’s volunteers will find it a bit easier to find their feet with our advice.

This week has been tough water and security-wise, but we should get it sorted before I next write a blog post. However, this month I did find a chitenje I’ve been looking for since I came to Malawi, which was great. I was so happy, it was unreal. The simple pleasures…

I know I joked that I would hopefully get another video of the house up before April… but I have failed. I apologise. It’s been a busy month etc. etc., but the main reason is that I hate editing and I couldn’t be bothered. HOWEVER, I do have some adorable pictures of our new kittens (well, 7 month old cats) called Lightning and Mantha (Chichewa for cowardly). ENJOY

Okay, I will do a blog post in 2 weeks. I have told you now, so I actually have to follow through with it. Otherwise, you must all berate me and make me feel small.

(Btw, everyone who hasn’t already should watch Pitch Perfect – it’s hilarious. Other films I have watched this month that I recommend are Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Taken (because it’s hysterical) and Amelie. That is all.)

I made my Dad a video for his birthday that we 
intended to feature the kittens wearing party hats. 
They didn't make the cut.
 ^ This is a spikey cucumber
                      Tongole Wilderness Lodge

Huntingdon House on Satemwa Tea Estate