5 Short Updates and 2 Random Facts
1) I leave Malawi on Wednesday (and drive from Chilumba to Lilongwe tomorrow morning). I have mixed feelings about this but a big part of me is looking forward to some serious vacation time in Germany (a week) and then to my big Vancouver – Calgary road trip at the end of August.
2) We have not had power all day. This seems to suggest that the government is done trying to placate its irate citizens with a basic service that is taken for granted in every developing country in the world. Someone should probably remind ESCOM that 24/7 electricity is not a bargaining chip and certainly should not become a tool for the manipulation of people paying for it.
3) I cannot seem to sleep later than 4am. Malarone is making me sensitive to the sun (15 minutes does not a 5 day sunburn make) and insomniacal (okay, that’s probably not a word). I look forward to 5 days from now when I can stop taking this cursed drug.
4) I spent yesterday at a gorgeous beach lodge with a collection of expats from the area. We drank G&Ts, ate yummy food, chatted with visitors to the lodge, and generally unwound. If you ever make it to Malawi and then come as far north as Chilumba (in Karonga District) or if you are visiting Malawi from Tanzania, I HIGHLY recommend the Sangillo Sanctuary Lodge (signs off the tarmac road). The hospitality was warm, it is very private and peaceful, and the place is cleaner and better organized than any place I have been in Malawi to date (and prices are not arm-and-a-leg either!)
5) Malawi has apparently calmed down after the chaos of last week. I will be stopping briefly in Mzuzu to buy a piece of pottery for the family friends with whom I will be staying in Germany. I feel very safe and secure despite the recent wave of civil disturbances there. If anything, the tragic news from Oslo has reminded me that safety is often an illusion. I have no desire to recklessly expose myself to harm but I also acknowledge the foolishness of spending my life in hiding. If anyone has family or friends in Norway, my thoughts are with you.
A. Last month, the hotel that my field work team stays in was being used as a sort of seedy motel/brothel. That is to say, the outer rooms (where our supervisors stay, I am in the main house which was a prostitute free-zone) were being rented by the hour. I don’t really know how to react to this news except to say that it should surprise me more than it does.
B. It is possible to name your children the following things: Alone, Area, Welcome, Happy, Chimwemwe (which translates to happy but apparently can also mean something a bit more salacious), Fuckless (immaculate conception?), Peaceman… the list goes on. In addition to ad-hoc Malawian spelling, names are one of my favorite things to giggle over here. It just makes me doubly glad that my mom didn’t get her way when she told my dad she wanted to call me Hlynn.