Innovation in Blantyre

Kylie’s post – accidently eaten by old iPhone 4

(Below: Andrew’s post)

Both Kylie and I, while comfortable at Chris’s home, had trouble sleeping. Unfortunately a gnat had found its way into the house and incessantly flew around our heads all evening. But all things considered I was just happy it wasn’t a mosquito!

After an early morning wake up Kylie and I spent some time reading from Chris’s vast library. I started into a book about china foreign investment in Africa while Kylie thumbed her way through Africa Rising (discussed the development of the nation). Both are very interesting and insightful given the context we’re in now!

After a brief breakfast, Kylie and I set out to get our bus situation sorted. We had hopes of finding the ZUPCO bus as I knew that one left for Harare, but we didn’t have any luck finding it. Thankfully, by a stroke of luck (and a bit of heavenly help), we found the premier bus office. Although we knew they didn’t run buses on Wednesday we decided to ask anyways. Turns out they decided to run a Wednesday bus after all! 

We quickly booked our tickets at the discounted rate and considered ourselves lucky!

With our bus situation sorted, Kylie and I enjoyed wandering around the various spice shops in the city. 

I find that city wandering is one of my favorite things to do with Kylie. Wandering, by nature of the activity, enables us to get a flavor for a city and its people. The many people we encountered in the local spice markets and shops were very friendly. Both Kylie and I felt that had we been based in Blantyre instead of Lilongwe we would’ve loved the product diversity available to us. 

It didn’t take us long to walk most of the city and to see most everything Blantyre has to offer… Guess that’s just the nature of Malawi, small, quaint cities. 

As we wandered the streets of Blantyre we ran into a group of 8 missionaries! They had just finished district meeting and were setting out to continue working. As a result, we even saw the church building and were able to stop in to speak with a couple members there. Something about visiting the church buildings in the various cities we go to is comforting and reminds me of home. 

Hard to believe that in a little over 3 weeks we will be in the U.S. Job hunting! Hopefully the process isn’t too crazy for us!

After our shopping and much walking, Kylie and I made our way back to Chris’s place where we cooked Indian curry for everyone 🙂 it was delicious and as usual, dinner conversation with everyone was fantastic.

One thing I’ve come to realize is the more ‘borders’ you cross (mental borders in conversation), the more you learn. In chatting with Andy (couchsurfer from the UK) I came to realize the things that I thought were easy or convenient in the U.S. Are a double edged sword. His biggest complaint (and that’s saying something) was that in the U.S. We don’t have top-up for phones that are easily accessible (we run a contract based system which is good for locals but bad for travelers), our ATMs have high charges for any bank card not from a particular banking branch, and our grocery stores aren’t clustered nearby one another (nor are they stocked with specialty goods). 

While I disagreed on some aspects of his views, largely I found the frustrations of his U.S. Travel experience to be entirely true. That said, mostly true of the central United States and less so of the coastal region. 

Anyways, some interesting lessons! 

Tomorrow… We are Zimbabwe bound! 


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