Today was our third day in Lilongwe. We woke up early to get a ride to the CBF office where we could connect to the Internet and begin our work. This summer I am conducting 15 credits worth of research for BYU here in Africa. This means that I will be very busy (and so will Andrew) over the next 12 plus weeks. While I am here in Africa specifically I am conducting research on the characteristics of successful agricultural leaders and assessing innovative ideas for agriculture and business in the area. This is the main purpose of Andrew and I’s time here in Africa, to improve the agriculture and business positions of people in Malawi and respectively increase their wealth.
If you know me, you know that I do not stop after project one or two. I have many other purposes of being here at this time. I am documenting recipes and stories of women for aCanela, I am taking a sociology of development class, and I am learning Chichewa.
We spent the morning at the CBF office preparing for the outing that we will have tomorrow in a nearby village observing a drip irrigation training. This training is the first of many held during module 1 of 3, the gardening module, for agricultural leaders throughout Malawi (the other two modules include livestock and crop rotation). Andrew and I are going to return expert gardeners…
When we finished our work in the later afternoon, our driver Mike agreed to take us around the new town center and drop us off at the library so that we could check out some books to help us learn more about Malawi.
The library took some time to navigate. Unlike US libraries, the books are not organized in a similar manner. After about an hour I had found the books I was looking for, a 1994 guide book to Malawi, a 1976 cookbook, and a copy of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (about a young Malawian boy). All of the books in the city library are donated and are therefore usually very old. We paid our 200 kwacha member fee and walked away with our max limit of the books.
Mike came and picked us up from the library and dropped us off in the old town centre where we could once again shop in the markets and orient ourselves with the city. We went to all three of the supermarkets first to get a good idea of what the prices of food products should be. We bought a few snacks and walked a little ways to the local outdoors market where we planned on buying most of our groceries. We love bargaining and after an hour in the market we quickly discovered that purchasing groceries in the outdoors market is a much better deal! We walked away with a bag of bananas, a bag of apples, and a bag of oranges for under $2.
We decided to talk home from the market, which took us about an hour and we arrived just before dark. Andrew and I have discovered that when we walk around the city early on we will better understand how to navigate the city later.
We arrived home to the house maid anaphili cooking a delicious local meal of nsima, mpunga, nkhuku, and ndiwo. Let me just say that dinner was delicious. We ended the evening with a cup of tea, or Milo.
Our home in Lilongwe…
The newest memebr of the Lilongwe City Library…
Dinner of corn, chicken, beans, and relish…
(Below: Andrew’s Post)
Today held some interesting adventures. We left home early (at 7) so we could catch a ride with Manis to the CBF office to begin work for the day. Once we arrived we spent a fair bit of time getting ourselves situated, downloading files, and enjoying the fact that we were finally connected with the outside world!
We spent a vast majority of our day working, but decided that in the afternoon it would be a good idea to check out the local library and to acquaint ourselves with the city. We caught a ride with mike to the local library, the biggest library in Malawi. Despite being the ‘biggest’ library, it was little more than a collection of donated books from various organizations. Despite the size, and the age of the books Kylie and I enjoyed pursuing the shelves for various books of interest. As I scanned the shelves I couldn’t help but think of the freedom offered by reading. For many of the people in the library books provided portals of knowledge that are locked to them when they are at home. Pretty incredible to think of knowledge as enabling and empowering and yet we take it for granted.
After the library, and some shopping in the local market, Kylie and I decided to walk home from the city. We knew we were committing to a long walk, but we felt it was the best way to acquaint ourselves with our surroundings. We stopped into a local tourist office, snapped a photo of a local area map to orient ourselves, and we’re on our way. We were slow going at first as we determined the right street and area, but quickly found ourselves on the right path home. We walked for nearly an hour before we rounded the final corner to our place. Tired and hungry, we were relieved to arrive in time for dinner with professor George and his family. Today wreak it was incredible in so many ways but for me, the highlight was the quiet reflective time I had in the local library.