Saturday, March 31, 2012

Does anyone still check this?

Once again, apologies for my erratic and far apart blog posts. Thanks to those who are still trying. Sooooo I'm still in Malawi. I recently reached the tipping point actually which means that I have been in country longer than I have left in my service. That kind of blows my mind. It's been 13 months now but it's gone really fast for me. Malawi is hard and Peace Corps is difficult but I am really glad I still have a year left; I'm not ready to leave yet. It's rainy season. Rainy season is also avocado, mushroom, and citrus fruit season which I am enjoying a lot. I was working quite a bit in January and February but it's slowed down lately. I taught all the classes of secondary school (high school) basic HIV and we did some HIV focused activities and games. After class, I stuck around for questions and got a lot more questions about masturbation, homosexuality, and condoms than I did about HIV. So next term, I'll be teaching family planning, reproductive health, and healthy sexuality. I really, really enjoy it. It's what I love to learn and teach about and the kids aren't getting the information from anywhere else so they're really engaged and eager to learn.

I also did a soap making training with an HIV group in February. They're planning to sell the soap for money to support people living with HIV. It turned out really well.

My other big project right now is a borehole project. Uff. My health center doesn't have a water source (much less electricity) and clearly that's a problem so I'm working with the medical assistant to build a borehole at the health center with the help of a grant I'll be writing and a 25% community contribution. We just got the quote so we'll see how it goes.
As you may know, I'm now 24, woot woot! I had bacon and eggs at the beach which was truly delightful. Then I went home and killed a chicken which my neighbor/best friend cajun fried (love that spice Emily!) with rice. It was phenomenal. She also made me an enormous pancake which we covered in sprinkles and actually did put 24 candles on. Thatokowza and the two girls who help me out, Mode and Memory, and Jay all sang me an extended happy birthday song and my cheeks hurt from smiling so much.

Also, I have recently crossed scuba diving off of my bucket list!! I got certified about three weeks ago to help a an American researcher count the cichlidae in Lake Malawi. The cichlids in Malawi account for something ridiculous like 90% of the world's aquarium fish. They're small and colorful and pretty. So every six weeks, imma go sit on the bottom of the lake for 45 minutes and count fish. I'm psyched!

Towa had 5 puppies at the beginning of January when she was only ten months old herself (teenage pregnancy is a big problem in Malawi). I'm keeping the largest black male for myself, his name is Kuba (which means thief but I'm hoping he won't be). Towa isn't with me anymore now. She'd been stealing fish and eggs and killing chickens from many people in my village and my neighbors and some of the villagers wanted to poison her (which is how a problem like this is handled in Malawi). I didn't feel like she was safe anymore and it was damaging my relationship with my community so I've given her away to another volunteer who lives in Lilongwe, has a huge enclosed yard where she can eat all the food she wants all day long and not get in trouble. It was sad for me, I've had her for a year but she's happy and comfortable and safe at her new house.
Kuba is on the left, Towa is the big one, and the little girl on top of her is Bwezi (friend) who is still in need of a home.

We just had a new group of health and environment trainees arrive three weeks ago. I haven't met most of them but I'm excited for some new blood around here. Unfortunately this also means I'm losing my sitemate Sol. He has been the nearest volunteer to me for the last year and we've had a lot of fun. He stayed in a rural village about 7 km off of the paved road and I stay at the nearest trading center to that village. So our typical MO had been to buy some sort of bird (turkey, chicken, guinea fowl), cook it up in some delicious amazing way that only Sol knows how to do and we'd split it and pass out....except the turkey which we shared with several people. So Sol is leaving and I'm very sad. I will get a new sitemate in May and I'm really REALLY excited for him to come but Sol will always have a special albeit smelly place in my heart. In fact, I'm almost positive that my sleeping bag will forever reek faintly of odor de Sol.
Well this is a long blog post and I hope you all thoroughly enjoyed because I'm sure it'll be at least another six months before I get around to updating again. In the meantime, I've got an iphone so you can facebook me or get whatsapp for texting via internet.
Sending out love and good vibes

........i'm such a freaking hippie

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


I am so absolutely terrible at journaling but it's only partially my fault! Immediately upon creating this blog, I forgot my password and the internet in the entirety of Malawi is way too slow to figure out that sort of thing. Anyway, I got it all sorted out since I've been back in America for Christmas. I sincerely apologize to all of my adoring fans (aka family, a few friends, and a couple of randos). I'll consider trying harder....
I go back to Malawi tomorrow after being in MN and TX for the last two weeks. I miss Malawi and my friends and my pets and my solitude but being in the U.S. where I so clearly fit in was very nice and comforting. I'm happy in Malawi and that is definitely where I want to be right now but.......I very obviously stick a white person living in Africa.
Things in Kasitu (my village) are going slowly. But I like it. I have found amazing friends in the Peace Corps and I have two absolutely fabulous friends in my village. I really like my village and they really like me! They all know me (only white person thing helps) and greet me and I feel safe and comfortable. I'm a first generation volunteer so starting projects has proved to be the most daunting. It's extremely difficult to know where to start and how to motivate the community but slowly slowly I believe things will fall into place, I'm pretty sure. And while they're doing that, I'm getting better and better at the language and strengthening my relationships with the community. And I count that as work also. Mostly what I've been doing so far is teaching around the country and in my village about HIV and family planning and a couple weeks ago I did healthy sexual practices at Women2Women which was soooo much fun and I got to be very frank! :-D
I'm looking forward to going back to my slow and simple life in Malawi. America moves so fast all the time. Everyone is in a hurry and if there is one thing I have learned in the last ten months it is definitely patience. But electricity is freaking fantastic and I do really miss it and all the convenience that comes with it. It's all give and take though. And now I have my solar lantern so see ya candles!!! Yessss. Any newbs reading this should get one at It's gonna save me a lot of money so I can eat more eggs. :-)
Well computer's about to die, I really will try harder to update now that I've got this password figured out.
Love and chikhondi to my friends and family. I miss you guys.

Friday, February 25, 2011

T-1.5 hours

All right everybody, here it is. I'm leaving in an hour and half for JFK. That means 2 AM for those of you who haven't checked the time stamp. No need for sleeping. Just one loooong shower and hopefully an episode or two of some choice television.
Everything is feeling real now. I got my yellow fever vaccine and had 7 hours of orientation today. I also almost fell asleep standing up. Yaaayy. I don't really have too much to say at the moment, this is just the ultimate countdown.

I do want to extend a very sincere thank you to my family and friends. Grandma and Grandpa, Sally, Emily, Laura, Mom, and Dad; you've all been so supportive and very generous with dinners and gifts and I really, really appreciate it. I have an amazing family and I will miss you all dearly. Hopefully I'll see you all soon, maybe for Christmas, but in the meantime I'll write you letters! :-)
Taylor, Kimi, Dan, Leah, Lexy, Mike, Karly, Blair, Dani B, Ellie, Mae, and Laura; thank you all so much. You've all been there for me and I know that I can count on every one of you to have my back. I love you and you're wonderful friends that I feel so, so lucky to have. Please write to me, I will write you back I promise.

Well, off to have my last hot and pressurized shower. And then my next big adventure begins!!!!

I love you
Thank you


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Bieber got the Herman

He totally looks like a girl
and i'm so glad i don't totally look like a boy
hahaha phew! You dodged that bullet

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Look another blog post! Whoa!

My going away party was last night. I do love my friends. They're so supportive and endlessly fun. I laughed so uncontrollably hard last night. I am very grateful. It was sad to say goodbye but I sent everyone away with pre-addressed envelopes and plenty of hugs. My heart just feels a lot of love at the moment, but I've only got this macbook for expression.

Everyone keeps asking me if I'm excited and I never know how to respond. I am walking into the unknown here. I have no idea what to expect, absolutely none. I am excited to have a new adventure, but other than that, I'm much more curious and pensive than excited. But I think that's all right.

Packing commenced today. Earlier than I thought but mostly I just needed to get some shit organized because IT IS EVERYWHERE. Me and my stuff have taken over the house and it is not okay. Despite having to say goodbye to my best friends, I was actually very productive today. Got my immunization records and deferment forms printed; FINALLY finished my press release (haha we'll see about that); did 3 loads of laundry; and literally started putting items into luggage, aka packing. But then me and my dad watched Boondock Saints 2 and ate two bowls of popcorn. So my clothing that I thought would be in my backpack by tonight is strewn about and I don't even care.

Cut ten inches off of my hair and dyed it red. I love it. I look pixie-ish and it is wonderful. Showered today and only used a nickel sized amount for shampoo!! Are you kidding me?? Amazing. I've gotten absolutely terrific reviews and it feels good. So happy I did it instead of leaving it long as suggested by all. I will post a picture asap. Or more like asaigati (as soon as I get around to it). Remember that acronym because it will probably come up often.

Well, I'm starting to drift off on top of my computer, that means time to peace out.
So thank you everyone that came to my dinner and party, it was absolutely wonderful and I had a lot of fun.

tty asaigati

p.s. Credit to Taylor Lyons for this incredible blog layout. It was all her ladies and gentleman, she is a genius, and it is awesome. Feed the fish at the bottom, it's fun!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Here we go again!

Well kids I've officially accepted my invitation and am leaving on February 24th to start my Malawian adventure.
This is where I will try, really, really, really hard to keep everyone updated with pictures and tales of my ongoings.
Wish me luck!