A Traveler’s Tales from Malawi

An endearing Malawi moment
October 30, 2008, 10:26 am
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So when you finish a meal at a restaurant, one shouldn’t be surprised when no mint comes with the bill. However, when one does, it’s a moment of true excitement and giddiness. Then, look a little bit closer as you unwrap this sweet, minty candy and you discover a Halls cough drop. WHAT?!?! Seriously…and then you look at your Malawian friends who haven’t registered how surprising and quite disappointing this discovery is for you as they pop the throat losenger into their mouth. Just another moment in which I have to smile to myself 🙂


Culture collision
October 20, 2008, 12:05 pm
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Last week, I was in one of my favorite cities…well, more like a really small town…in the South for another research training. It’s a beautiful place with limited but decent food options. Unfortunately, my stomach was not up for it. So I experienced a few questionable days but hung in. The training went relatively well. The research assistants all seem quite competent and I was at first impressed with the consultants until I later experience firsthand the one’s sexist attitudes.  His way of thinking was not a surprise per say. Let’s be honest and real, I’m living in sub-Saharan Africa. But here is a man who is well educated, saying all sorts of nonsense about women and how “Malawi will never develop if we keep on trying to educate women.” WHAT?!?! For those of you who know me well, you will be surprised to learn that I remained calm and actually debated him effectively. Because I remained cool and calm, I was able to find all the right words and arguments without tripping over my rage 🙂 It was a great moment! Even the Hopkins professor who was with us said to the consultant, “I think that she has gotten you.” Oh the sweetness of seeing this grown macho adult male fumble over himself. The kicker is that he has a daughter and believes that she can become whatever that she wants. But yet, he is putting down more than half of the Malawian population with the language that he was/is using.

Favorite photos
October 10, 2008, 12:20 pm
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Okay, so it has been a while and to be honest I probably have a lot to say but at the moment can’t really think of anything. I have been really busy with work and traveling back and forth to the South for our Radio Diaries program which is basically a reality radio program in which people living with HIV tell their story, interviews for the positive prevention tool that I’m developing, and a research training seminar. I would be happy to share more about any and all of these activities with you some time soon, but I can’t talk for long today. So I just wanted to share with you some great photos.

September 24, 2008, 6:15 am
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So some of you have noticed that I have been posting pictures more and writing less. I didn’t realize that many of you actually read this, so this post is just for you 🙂

I am almost through with another month. Kinda crazy how fast time flies by! I had a meeting with my boss to discuss my strategy for wrapping everything up in 11 weeks. To be honest, I’m a bit overwhelmed. However, things are going well! I have started to develop a positive prevention toolkit with the feedback and involvement with a number of HIV-positive support group members. It has been a very insightful and humbling experience and I can’t wait to see the final product, which hopefully will be ready by the end of November. My goodness, that is soon! So that is keeping me very busy.

I also helped out some of my teacher friends conduct a sports day with their secondary students last Saturday. It was so fun – like old school St. William’s field days! Of course, what was really nice was the fact that I was simply teaching the games and then cheering them on so I didn’t have the pressure of competing and making too much of a fool of myself 🙂 I swear I saw some future long jump Olympians – really quite amazing. I was going to wait to post you some pictures but experiencing some technical difficulties lately.

Speaking of random difficulties, I woke up this morning to what I assumed during the night would be my garbage torn up by some really big animals but in fact my water pipes bursted in the middle of the night and what I thought was drizzling outside is actually water coming from my ceiling into my living room, bedroom, and bathroom. Good morning, Lisa! Needless to say, my plumbering skills are not good enough at this point to manage this problem. So currently, I’m waiting for the plumber who, in theory, should be coming in 15 minutes but based on African estimates my guess would be that I would be lucky to see him in 2 hours. What’s great about this experience is that I’m not surprised at all and almost amused by the fact that at least the ceiling is holding up 🙂

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

South Luangwa, Zambia, Safari
September 17, 2008, 12:29 pm
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Lake Malawi
August 25, 2008, 6:42 pm
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Visit at the crisis nursery
August 25, 2008, 6:33 pm
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This weekend I spent some quality time with some of my favorite people here, Heather, Mike, Sydney and Sam. They left to head back to the US on Sunday. But, before going, we had a barbeque and then I went with them to volunteer for an hour at the crisis nursey. It’s a home in which around 18 babies live, as young as one month old to almost 2 years old. We arrived between nap time and feeding time so we took about 6 babies outside and played with them. It was a lot of fun! Granted, it was also so nice that as soon as they got fussy, I just needed to tell one of the women who work there 🙂

Here are some photos.