Another day out in the village! Andrew and I are becoming quite the backyard gardeners after observing all this training.
A few tangent notes, the women here are much more open with their bodies than in the United States. The women breastfeed the children out in the open, even as they are gardening or speaking with you. This is a little different than the USA.
Just a few minutes ago a pulled out a small tangerine to eat to get me through the lunch hour (or lack of lunch hour). As soon as I pierced the skin with my finger, a young child came up to me asking for the Orange. This just proved my assumption that fruits are not very common in the villages and are definitely not common among the poor (even if they grow them).
Now the drip-irrigation training is over and we are sitting with the lead farmers (who only speak Chichewa) and administering our survey. It is interesting to watch all the men, women, and children gather around the individual taking the survey and try to help them. Their culture is one of selflessness and honesty, you can tell by the way they take their time with each question and genuinely try to help their friends understand the questions. If we had this level of friendship and self-giving service in the USA we would be so much better off.
The employees at CBF are so kind. Ben and Gibson took us by the old town market and main bus station to walk around and to inquire about bus schedules to different places in Malawi. The old town market is one of the most dirty, chaotic, and adventuresome places I have ever been. The market looks like a largely my full of everything from fruits and vegetables, fish, clothing, spare car parts, beauty care, and roaming bankers (what they call Airtel venders). We arrived back to the office around 5:00pm and spent about an hour and a half conducting a few items of business with the Internet at the office.
We arrived home once again just in time for dinner. Tonight we had a very interesting meal of mpunga (rice), chambo (fish), lepu (cooked greens, and offals (goat intestine). After living in Portugal and eating good fish all the time, I am very sensitive to bad fish. Most of the fish in Lilongwe comes from Lake Malawi. Although lake Malawi is only a few hundred kilometers away, the fish in the markets is never fresh. Most of the time they precook or dry the fish to preserve it for longer. I love Africa, but tonight I missed Portugal…
(Below: Andrew’s post)
We had another series of trainings this morning where we went to a small village on the outskirts of Lilongwe to attend. It seems to be the standard that when we arrive at these villages that we are greeted by traditional songs and dances. It made for quite a spectacle when we arrived in a bumpy van to a congregation of women singing to our arrival. It was pretty cool and Kylie even decided to join the ladies in singing and dancing. It’s really quite a spectacle to see them in traditional attire and dancing in the traditional way.
The training went smoothly, and Kylie and I were able to distribute our surveys to collect the needed information.
During the training though, Kylie had pulled out an orange since she was hungry and fatigued. When she did, a young girl next to her walked over and so Kylie out it away. The little girl kept asking Kylie in the local language for her orange. The same happened when eating lunch, the kids went over to Dale and wanted his sandwich. It’s a tough sight to see children begging, but at the same time it seems somewhat culturally embedded in many youth here. As we pass by people in the streets (all throughout Eastern Africa) we hear kids say ‘hey Mzungu, give me money!’ Part of my heart wants to be giving to the needy here, but I also feel that there are times that giving handouts is creating a culture of ‘hands out’ here in Africa. I know that sounds quite harsh, but I’m starting to feel that developed nations give too much, and that it’s not items or food that these people need, but it’s education and training. You need to teach a man to fish seems to be a common theme here.