Catching Up!

Days Pass Like Trees Seen Through Car Windows

I’ve been starting a bunch of different writing pieces and haven’t finished a damn one of them in over three weeks. **NOTE really want to add photos to this blog but the internet is just not cooperating, pepani! (sorry)**

The kindness of my friends and family, sending me loving “miss you” messages has got me feeling like I should really blog. Nothing life shattering, just something from the heart about how my life has really been going here.

I spent my Christmas on Likoma Island not far from the shores of Mozambique. With an only slightly overpacked bag I toted along my journal with every good intention to pour my heart into its pages. Instead, I ended up meeting some amazing travellers from all over the world.

My Christmas on the beach was bizarre but beautiful. The water in Lake Malawi was warmer than most of the showers I’ve had here but more than that, the laughter I shared with my roommate and our new Finnish friend Jason and German sidekick Sandra really lit a fire in my soul. I enjoyed the company of some American Peace Corps volunteers, the US Ambassador and her husband, a great couple from Australia who met in Africa, the list goes on.

We all traveled back to the mainland together on the same local boat, well all of us except the ambassador who obviously took an expensive private flight. After blowing an engine an hour into the trip, we spun for a painfully slow hour in the same spot over the rocky waves in the middle of the massive lake. With understanding and sick, sarcastic humour we survived the smelly nine hour sea-sick passengers back to Nkhata Bay.

I was fortunate enough to spend that night in a local guest house, sharing a room with the hilarious dream team that became Jason, Kelly, Sandra and of course myself. We each chipped in $1 for the total cost of the room and went to get some fanta and coke for Jason’s bottle of Malawi Vodka (cringe). After the first two showered, I ran out of water mid-shampoo and Sandra ran to ask the staff for a bucket of water.

While Sandra saved me big time, she just didn’t have it in her to join us on the beach after not having a proper wash up and so she went to bed defeated. Kelly and I got some Carlsbergs and joined Jason and the vodka in the sand under the stars and talked life and played ‘never have I ever’ until all hours of the morning. The next day we all went our separate ways to continue on our own journey for New Years which lead to Kelly and I taking a ridiculous 11 hours ‘direct’ bus to Lilongwe from Mzuzu (a regularly 4.5 hour drive).

Once arriving in Lilongwe late at night we tracked down her boyfriend who had flown in that day from Canada. After stopping at numerous hostels and worrying her sick we finally found a friend known as Drunk Sam who confirmed that yes indeed a bearded ginger from Canada had arrived earlier that day and was sleeping in a tent.

We met up with Nate the ginger the following day and despite our best efforts to make it to Cape Maclear for New Years we ended up celebrating with local friends with a nice dinner out and then a few drinks at home.

Before heading back to work from our vacation, Kelly and I moved out of our tarantula and cockroach infested flat and into a beautiful mansion by Malawian standards. Two other Canadians, Chris and Samantha along with Q a tall Dutch guy welcomed us to the new 5 bedroom house that offered a full garden in the back, a kindhearted housekeeper and believe it or not cheaper rent.

Since moving in, I have been spending a lot of time getting to know the roommates and following them to new restaurants and night clubs. I’ve been staying up too late talking about development with Chris, which usually turns into us talking about the energy out in the universe, appreciating the little things and me listening to him pick at the guitar.

I recently bought a great bongo drum and have been learning to play. While I’m feeling comfortable alone in the confines of my room, when Gift comes over to give me a lesson I usually get embarrassed and give up pretty quickly. I’m working on it, trying to take my own advice that practicing is the only way to get better, pushing myself out of my comfort zone will allow me to grow in ways I can only dream of… but when he picks it up and rattles off a rhythm so beautiful I just want to listen for hours but after 2 minutes hands it back to me for my basic 4-2-2 beat I just don’t feel like I’ll ever get better.

Sunday’s have become a regular jam session for us. Usually led by Moses and Gift, we head to the outside of Area 3 Market, pull over some benches and buy some sachets and settle down with two or three drums. The crowd always gets larger as the afternoon goes on and we usually play until the sun goes down. The guys get super creative, turning glass bottles into symbols and everyone’s clapping on one or two different beats, it’s magical!

This weekend I’m away. I came to the northern region of the country last Wednesday and have been traveling to different SACCOs helping them enhance their business plans and create marketing plans for the upcoming year. It’s been amazing and I have met so many managers who are really committed to the growth of their members and have been very receptive to everything I tell them.

I had planned a trip to Livingstonia after these meetings but plans changed and my work became heavier than anticipated so I just took a 45 minute ride to Nkhata Bay for the weekend. Still hoping to make it up there on Monday afternoon.

I know it’s crazy but I will kind of miss ‘dorm life’, living out of a bag for a week or two at a time. This morning I woke up to the sounds of so many different languages. Lodge staff laughing in Tonga while hand-washing laundry outside, some German travelers making plans for the day, birds singing and a Spanish couple bickering. It’s kind of fabulous to be in a place you can picture before you even open your eyes. I’m sure if the ants could make noise they would be the loudest, they are everywhere! You learn to get used to it because there is just absolutely nothing you can do to get rid of them. Right now there are some on my laptop, there are a lot all over this table and a few on the rim of my coffee mug, I slept with them in my bed and anywhere you sit they crawl on you, ahh this is Africa.

Sorry for the delay in posting updates! I have been so busy trying to finish all my postcards and actually experiencing life here that electronics and internet are only a passing thought and whenever time does permit the power usually goes out or the wifi stops working. Thinking of you often!

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