Today was a wonderful day. I am slowly getting back into the “school/work” routine of having assignments and deadlines. I feel like I am studying at Cambridge or in Portugal once again, and that makes me smile.
We woke up early and headed to the CBF office where we were hoping to have Internet access to catch up on emails, conduct secondary research, and finish up a handful of assignments. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the Internet connection was “broken” and we were left struggling through our tasks “internetless.” In the USA an internet shutdown would mean a day of wasted work because we rely so much on Internet. In Africa, the day (or days) just go on like normal. We are still getting used to this.
We left the office during lunch to walk to the new city center of Lilongwe, find some Internet, and purchase some fruit. The fruit purchase was successful but we our internet endeavors were unsuccessful. We will just have to wait until tomorrow and see if we are lucky enough to have a connection. On our walk back to the office we stopped by the memorial gravesite of president Banda, the first president of Malawi. We didn’t even realize it was Memorial Day! We also made a stop at Manet, an organization that builds a network for victims of HIV and AIDS. I am working on writing a National Georgraphic type article about a woman in Malawi that had contracted HIV through tribal customs… I will give more information as I strengthen my leads for women who would allow me to speak with them.
We finished our work at the office (our surveys were translated into Chichewa, I finished my paper of sociology of development, and I started on my Malawi Country analysis) around 6pm and we headed home for the evening.
Surprise! We were greeted by Mrs. Flossy, professor George’s wife who operates the bakery in Kasungu in northern Malawi. She is home in Lilongwe for the next several weeks before she heads back to the bakery. We joined her (but not professor George) for a dinner of mpunga (rice), nkhuku (chicken), lepu (greens), and mbatata (cooked sweet potato leaves). This is a very common Malawian dinner… As are all our dinners!
(Below: Andrew’s post)
Kylie and I spent the day at the office getting our surveys translated by the interns… And I have to say, the two interns are great, but there is a very different work pace here than in the US or Hong Kong or even in Australia. The survey wasn’t very long but it took the two of them nearly the entire day to translate just a few questions. It’s one thing we’ll have to learn while we’re here… Patience is key.
For a break Kylie and I went to the city center to see what the busiest area in Lilongwe would be like. The city center was tiny! I think we walked the whole thing in just 10 minutes.
On our way back we stopped by the presidents monument (the one who liberated Malawi from British rule). According to what we’ve read, although the president ‘liberated the people’ he was a fierce ruler. He banned the holding of hands, imprisoned a lot of people, and generally was quite harsh with his punishments. It was a good history lesson.