Today we went with Ivy to visit two villages outside of SAFI. Each of year villages had someone specific that we wanted to meet with. In the first village, we met with a man named sindifulo who is one of the most innovative individuals in the area. He has graduated from SAFI and has implemented many of the changes that SAFI has taught him. He made his own battery powered lamp, sanitary hand washing station, and several different toys for his children. We were amazed to see someone who was so willing to experiment and try new things. Andrew and I were so impressed with Sindifulo that we decided that we are going to meet with him tomorrow to give him our Innovator’s DNA survey.
In the second village we met with a an old lady named Gogo (grandma in Chichewa). She doesn’t know how old she is, but she knows that she is somewhere over 80 years old. She is one of the oldest Malawians I have ever met. Ivy brought her a gift an we spent several minutes with her talking and laughing. The rest of the time was spent taking photos of her and observing her village. Andrew and I have really enjoyed all the villages we have been able to visit during our time in Malawi. We have met some of the most beautiful people in the villages…
We continue to eat our meals with the SAFI girls, and we really enjoy it. They are served local food like rice, nsima, chicken, beans, green vegetables, fruits, and other local crops. Andrew and I have really enjoyed our time and SAFI trying the new foods and talking with the girls. We have learned a lot about village life in Malawi and the dreams of the people.
Andrew and I realized that we will be leaving Malawi exactly 4 weeks from today. When we look back on everything we have experienced over the past 3 months, we are amazed at what we have been able to accomplish. Research in a developing country is never easy, but it sure is rewarding. We know that we have grown in ways that we will never recognize until later.
This morning marks the latest morning Kylie and I have had to date in Malawi! We rise at 7:30, a good 1.5 hours after my normal wake up time. No idea why, but we must’ve been exhausted and just catching up on missing, but much needed sleep.
The morning at SAFI was quite relaxing. I finished entering the data (164 surveys) in time for lunch, and for the adventures of the afternoon!
Kylie and I set off with Ivy to visit a couple of the local villagers she said we had to meet. The first was Chundeehwa (spelling?) a local farmer who participated in SAFI’s development program.
He lived in a very simple brick and mud home, but was incredible. As we chatted with him about the things he’s learned I saw that he truly embodied the lessons of development. In poor economics it talks about how the poor need to invest in fertilizer when they have money to avoid spending it on festivities. In the corner of Chundeehwa’s home… Three large bags of fertilizer for next year’s planting.
Chundeehwa also had crafted his own torch made from batteries, tape, copper wires, a coin, and a little bulb. It was one of the most creative and innovative things I’ve seen someone make in Malawi. It was incredible to see this farmer in his little mud and bunch but, inventing solutions for his day-to-day problems.
After Kylie snapped a few photos of him and his flashlight invention, he took us all out back to see his hand washing station. He’s built a pulley system so after using the restroom you wouldn’t have to use your hands to access water for washing. It was so cool!
After showing us his inventions, Chundeehwa told us that our visit inspired him and that in order to impress future visitors that he would continue to invent new things and items to show people. His desire to innovate strengthened my confidence in the future of Malawi.
Today was another incredible day in Malawi!