African dream

Occupations, Activities, Tools & Objects / Sports, Games & Entertainment / Fauna / Flora / Crops, Fruits & Vegetables / Cuisine / Chididi & Surroundings / Nsanje & Surroundings / Chikwawa / Blantyre & Surroundings / Lilongwe / Around Malawi / People & Friends / Toys & Kids / YEAH Project

Malawi, here I come!
Malawi, here I come!

 Arrival

How should I begin?

I started to experience some changes from the airplane: different faces, different languages, different colours … I was so glad that I could easily go through the documents control and check-in without any problem (after spending more than three months waiting for the visa and wishing ’all the best’ both for the British and Malawian bureaucracy, January from the hosting organization came with the brilliant solution to procure me a document from the Immigration Office which allowed me to enter in Malawi without a pre-arrival visa and to buy one from the airport … Hallelujah! Hard to be a Romanian sometimes. All the other volunteers didn’t need any visa and they easily started the YEAH EVS project on July … me, two month later, but I took advantage of spending some more time with my mother and visiting the nice Italy). I had the departure from Milan with three connections – Rome, Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) and Lilongwe. Just in Ethiopia I had to change the flight, for the others I just waited in the plane not more than one hour. The airport from Addis Ababa wasn’t such a big shock for me (comparing with others’ experience) because I was used with Băneasa Airport from Bucharest … similar to a village railway station. The final destination – Blantyre, the second important city from Malawi. From above I could have seen how rural is everything and how reddish is the soil. The runway is not so far from trees, bushes, huts and … from Nothing. It was just another plane around … everything was looking like an abandoned warehouse. Of course, my enthusiasm is growing and growing … After a guy quickly checked my temperature (I think so) with a strange device (probably for Ebola or Yellow Fever) .. BEEP … he allowed me to go further – vaccinations to be checked, forms to be filled in, visa to be paid, … tip request, stolen pen, reminding for the change, all the luggage safely arrived … January waiting for me … YUHUUU … I have final arrived!

Finally
Finally
Snack
Snack
Snack
Welcome to Ethiopia
04. Ethiopian Airlines
Ethiopian Airlines
Africa!
Africa!
Abobe the clouds
Abobe the clouds
Chileka Airport in Blantyre, Malawi
Chileka Airport in Blantyre, Malawi
with January
with January

The first impact – the wheel on the right side … the cars on the left … many bikes … villages … markets … poverty. In Blantyre I meet the first azungu (white people): Inga from Germany and Marek from Estonia .. they live with us but they are involved in another project just for a couple of months (so bad … they are such great guys). The lunch – at a local ’restaurant’ with not quite traditional food: chicken masala with chips. We spend the night at January’s place in Chikwawa: many kids around, goats, chickens, blackout, we eat on a mat (with hands), we sleep on a mattress, we are bitten by mosquitoes … I almost forgot about the local toilet … outside – it reminded me of the Romanian villages.

 ... on the left side
… on the left side
Mechanic next to 'Rasta Barber Shop' in Blantyre
Mechanic next to ‘Rasta Barber Shop’ in Blantyre
My first lunch in Malawi - Chicken Masala with chips (not quite traditional)
My first lunch in Malawi – Chicken Masala with chips (not quite traditional)
Lunch with January's family, Inga & Marek
Lunch with January’s family, Inga & Marek
Market in Blantyre
Market in Blantyre
Sunset
Sunset
Shire River
Shire River
Local pub in Chikwawa
Local pub in Chikwawa
Dinner at January's place in Chikwawa
Dinner at January’s place in Chikwawa
Morning in Chikwawa
Morning in Chikwawa
Morning in Chikwawa
Goats in Chikwawa
Morning chatting
Morning chatting
Peekaboo!
Peekaboo!
Kid
Kid

We spend the second day at the SURCOD’s office in Nsanje where I’ve seen the first monkey and received my first allowance as a volunteer .. which are quite enough (if you don’t leave the village you can even make some savings). I also had my first traditional meal – nsima (a kind of white mămăligă/polenta made out of maize flour), masamba (Chinese cabbage) and some chicken with sauce and no cutlery. And about meat, I am more vegetarian now. So far, in the village (Chididi) I ate just once chicken (on a visit) and some small-black-hard-salty-smoked fish.

Market in Nchalo
Market in Nchalo
Market in Nchalo
Market in Nchalo
Anyone to Nsanje ?
Anyone to Nsanje ?
Red Cross & SURCOD Offices in Nsanje
Red Cross & SURCOD Offices in Nsanje
My first monkey
My first monkey
Nsanje
Nsanje
My first traditional meal
My first traditional meal
On the way to Nsanje market
On the way to Nsanje market
SURCOD Office
SURCOD Office

Lately in the evening we arrive in Chididi – my new home for one year. Talking about ‘lately’, at 6 P.M., the sun is already gone and around 7:30 is so dark! … I’m going to bed around 10, my colleagues even earlier; we wake up around 6-7 (some of us earlier for yoga) and the villagers around 5.

My room
My room
Kids
Kids
Chididi at last!
Chididi at last!

Life in Chididi

Chididi is a group of villages 15 km far from Nsanje accessible just by motorbike or a 4-w or maybe a Romanian old Dacia. Quite isolated, but pleasant and warm, cooler than Nsanje by some degrees because is a ‘mountainous’ area.

Motorbike - main transport in Chididi
Motorbike – main transport in Chididi

We share the house with the pastor of Africa Evangelical Church and his family (wonderful people!). We have electricity (illegally), water (bathing using the cup is not so bad after all) … we are quite privileged comparing with the majority of people. The houses are made out of local bricks. I share the room with Mathias from France and Marek; Inga is staying with Laura from Italy and Lorena from Spain shares the room with her boyfriend. Everyone is cooking and a guy called Josayah is helping us with the housekeeping. Most of people have biblical names like Joseph, Moses, Aaron, Isaac, Jonah, David, Mary … or others could be called Gift, Blessings, Peace. Everybody is very religious and I could say that the Sunday services are quite nice; it’s so interesting to watch people singing and dancing … UP, UP, JESUS, DOWN, DOWN SATAN! HALLELUJAH!!

Marco & Lorena cooking
Marco & Lorena cooking
Lunch time
Lunch time

Greeting is so important. ‘Muli bwanji?’, ‘Mwazuka bwanji?’, ’Maswera bwanji?’, ‘Ndaswera bwino, kaya inu?’, ‘Zikomo’, ‘Zikomo kwambiri!’ … Everyone is so friendly! Is so funny hearing the women laughing at your pronunciation or the children following you, imitating you, smelling you, asking to take them a picture and calling you azungu or even by name. For some of them I am Rastaman and they are so fascinated by my dreadlock – reggae and gospel are very popular genres.

The perception of time is so different … people is totally relaxed without watches … one hour late is not so bad here. Addresses are interesting. Of course there are no names of streets. I could say, for example, ‘I live in Mchacha village, close to the mill/stream/church/school/ground’.

African sun is wonderful, at sunset and at sunrise. The night sky also – different stars! (I’m in the southern hemisphere).

Elephant cloud
Elephant cloud
Sun
Sun
Sun
Sun
Sun
Sun
Sunset in Chididi
Sunset in Chididi
Sunset
Sunset
Moon in Chididi
Moon in Chididi
Moon
Moon
Moon
Moon
Rainbow
Rainbow

Everyone has short hair, even the women. They wear a kind of coloured scarf called chitenge as skirts and also to carry their babies on the back. You can also see them with a bucket or basket on the head, and, in the same time, it is not unusual to breastfeed.

Home Barber Shop
Home Barber Shop
Do it as the locals
Do it as the locals
Gitala (local guitar)
Gitala (local guitar)
Locals
Locals

Nature, vegetation are so different. Baobab, sugar cane, eucalyptus, sweet potatoes, masamba, koko, a lot of bananas; I’m waiting for the pineapple, mango, avocado and oranges to be ready.

Nature
Nature

People in Chididi use to have goats, pigs (black ones), chickens and sometimes ducks or guinea-fowls. So far I’ve seen a black mamba (the pastor killed in the house), geckos, spiders … The mosquitoes are not so many like the mice, rats and fleas. We have a cat now … actually a kitten; the only ones who eat the rats (and other bush meat) are some locals.

Bimbo's first day
Bimbo’s first day
Bimbo
Bimbo
Bimbo & his mommy
Bimbo & his mommy

Adaptation (if there was such thing) happened so easy and fast. As I said before, everyone is greeting you and they are so kind and friendly.

Till my arrival, the other volunteers didn’t do many things, due to the school holiday. So, starting with my first week, we had meetings and activities – meetings with youth, school committees, village committees, all very formal. We are already involved in many activities. Each Tuesday and Thursday we have the Youth Centre – debating, English classes, computer lessons, games, different projects. On the rest of the days we divide up our duties between the health centre, kindergartens, primary and secondary school. On Mondays and Wednesdays we have debating classes at the Secondary School and Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the Chichewa lessons (the local language). Monday and Thursday we make ourselves useful at the community health centre and on Tuesday we help the ‘village health care caravan’. There are some programmes for mothers, young women and under five kids. We measure and weight, write and calculate data, give pills etc. It’s very interesting. Another thing – each family has between 6 and 11 children. The ‘hospital’ is provided with a good number of supplies thank to different international organisations or governmental programmes. You could see a lot of condoms around the village … it seems that only children use them (as balloons and balls). What could I say – I am medical stuff assistant and an English, P.E., Life Skills and French teacher.

Condom
Condom

All the boys love football. There is also a regional league which has already ended. I was a substitute for the winning team in one game … Maybe I will play in the next edition. The ground is so bad and most players don’t use shoes; and they are in such a good fit. Mathias is playing for another team and he seems not to be so bad (for a white guy 😊).

Recently I started exploring the surroundings. I picked some bananas I tried to cook them – the banana stew was no so bad, but not so great either. Next time I should asks some advice.

Roaming in Chididi
Roaming in Chididi
Long way to Chididi ....
Long way to Chididi ….
Banana man
Banana man

We made our own garden and we make compost. We are trying to implement a project regarding waste management, manure and compost.

My laptop broke down so I spent my time reading. I have just one book left.

I am more than happy and I feel so good!

I have a proof here: –Morning in Chididi

Traditional house in Chididi
Traditional house in Chididi
Seasons
Seasons
Bush fire
Bush fire
Bush fire
Bush fire
John Rambo
John Rambo
Holding hands
Holding hands
Trendy nails
Trendy nails
Fashion
Fashion
Beautifying
Beautifying
Interior of a house
Interior of a house
African classroom
African classroom
Classroom
Classroom
... no desks
… no desks
Morning anthem
Morning anthem
School assembly
School assembly
School break
School break
Water pumping
Water pumping
Local lunch
Local lunch
Hugs
Hugs
Drama performing
Drama performing
Drama performing
Drama performing
Preparing for funeral
Preparing for funeral
Preparing for funeral
Preparing for funeral

 

First mouse cought by our cat
First mouse cought by our cat
Annika's visit
Annika’s visit
Inga's mother birthday
Inga’s mother birthday
Saving day of Nkhwinkwi
Saving day of Nkhwinkwi
Nkhwinkwi & his mommy
Nkhwinkwi & his mommy
Nkhwikwi's house
Nkhwikwi’s house
Nkhwinkwi sleeping
Nkhwinkwi sleeping
Nkhwinkwi & his second mommy
Nkhwinkwi & his second mommy
Searching for fleas
Searching for fleas
Playing time
Playing time
In the jungle, the quiet jungle, Nkhwinkwi sleeps tonight
In the jungle, the quiet jungle, Nkhwinkwi sleeps tonight
with Nkhwinkwi
with Nkhwinkwi
Baby carrying
Baby carrying
What does this button do?
What does this button do?
Breast feeding
Breast feeding
Plumber
Plumber
Go! Go! Romania!
Go! Go! Romania!
Climbing
Climbing
Milk time!
Milk time!
Greetings
Greetings
Women's tailor workshop inauguration
Women’s tailor workshop inauguration
Women's tailor workshop open ceremony
Women’s tailor workshop open ceremony
Farewell dinner of Inga & Marek
Farewell dinner of Inga & Marek
Farewell party of Inga & Marek
Farewell party of Inga & Marek
Farewell party of Inga & Marek
Farewell party of Inga & Marek
Yummy!
Yummy!
It wasn't me!
It wasn’t me!
Feeding
Feeding
''I like fruits!'
”I like fruits!’
Invisible like a chameleon
Invisible like a chameleon
What?
What?
Lunch time!
Lunch time!
Mathias' wound
Mathias’ wound
Visiting the locals
Visiting the locals
Educational films at the Secondary School
Educational films at the Secondary School
Variety show at the Secondary School
Variety show at the Secondary School
Variety show at the Secondary School
Variety show at the Secondary School
Variety show at the Secondary School
Variety show at the Secondary School
Variety show at the Secondary School
Variety show at the Secondary School
Dinner at the restaurant
Dinner at the restaurant
All in the same car
All in the same car
Illegally in Mozambique
Illegally in Mozambique
At the Nthondo market
At the Nthondo market
Happy man
Happy man
Wedding in Chididi
Wedding in Chididi
Wedding cooking
Wedding cooking
Wedding couple
Wedding couple
Wedding party
Wedding party
Money, monet, money ...
Money, money, money …
Rain is coming!
Rain is coming!
Ridges are ready
Ridges are ready
Maize field in the rainy season
Maize field in the rainy season
Comet's first bath
Comet’s first bath
Fleas soon will be gone
Fleas soon will be gone
Cherry's first bath
Cherry’s first bath
Snake in the pastor's house
Snake in the pastor’s house
1.45 m
1.45 m
Dog poo
Dog poo
Pee & paw-paw poo
Pee & paw-paw poo
All you have to do is dream
All you have to do is dream
Nkhoko's sleeping
Nkhoko’s sleeping
Cleaning the poo
Cleaning the poo
Cherry
Cherry
Napping
Napping
Comet & Nkhoko
Comet & Nkhoko
Sleeping all together
Sleeping all together
Free ride
Free ride
Cherry & Nkhoko
Cherry & Nkhoko
More poo!
More poo!
Milk time!
Milk time!
Floods seen from Chididi
Floods seen from Chididi
Parental advisory
Parental advisory
Parental advisory (part 2)
Parental advisory (part 2)
Mathias is leaving
Mathias is leaving
Bye-bye Mathias!
Bye-bye Mathias!
with Nkhoko
with Nkhoko
Baby Nkhoko
Baby Nkhoko
Attending the church service
Attending the church service
Church choir
Church choir
Nkhoko
Nkhoko
Friday Disco at the Secondary School
Friday Disco at the Secondary School
Do you want to be my friend
Do you want to be my friend
Stick the tongue out!
Stick the tongue out!
Acrobat
Acrobat
I will jump!
I will jump!
Good friends
Good friends
Feeding time!
Feeding time!
Ready for the long journey
Ready for the long journey
Crowded Chididi during a match
Crowded Chididi during a match
Outdoor activities at the Primary School
Outdoor activities at the Primary School
Quarantine tent for cholera
Quarantine tent for cholera
Women's day in Chididi
Women’s day in Chididi
Celebrating the Women's Day
Celebrating the Women’s Day
Anthony Suwali performing at 'Choir's Competition'
Anthony Suwali performing at ‘Choir’s Competition’
Africa Evangelical Church Choir
Africa Evangelical Church Choir
School assembly before examinations
School assembly before examinations
Manual work
Manual work
Cold necklace
Cold necklace
Romania on the rope
Romania on the rope
Forza Steaua!
Forza Steaua!
Removing dried grain corn from cob
Removing dried grain corn from cob
Exorcism
Exorcism
New pet
New pet
Church celebration in Luciano
Church celebration in Luciano
IRIS Africa
IRIS Africa
Late night dancing
Late night dancing
Gravedigging
Gravedigging
Cortege
Cortege
Cortege
Cortege
Funeral procession
Funeral procession
Is this really a pastor?
Is this really a pastor?
1.60 m
1.60 m
Farewell party; Goodbye Spain!
Farewell party; Goodbye Spain!
Pastor's birthday
Pastor’s birthday
Blessing procession
Blessing procession
Wating for ...
Waiting for …
... gifts
… gifts
Celebrating
Celebrating
Visiting a local church
Visiting a local church
Local lunch
Local lunch
Beauty competition
Beauty competition
New prefects
New prefects
Graduation ceremony for tailoring workshop
Graduation ceremony for tailoring workshop
New look
New look
My birthday ...
My birthday …
... pancakes ...
… pancakes …
... and bananas with chocolate
… and bananas with chocolate
CCSS graduation ceLemony
CCSS graduation ceLemony
Welcome to 2015 graduation ceremony!
Welcome to 2015 graduation ceremony!
Graduation dance
Graduation dance
at Goba family
at Goba family
Laura's farewell party
Laura’s farewell party
Laura's farewell party
Laura’s farewell party
The last supper
The last supper
Visitor
Visitor
Chididi Health Centre party
Chididi Health Centre party
Road maintainance
Road maintenance
Bimbo's beauty sleep
Bimbo’s beauty sleep
Don Quixote
Don Quixote
Funeral
Funeral
Shooting with the word of God
Shooting with the word of God
New housemates
New housemates
Big family
Big family
'Mafia'
‘Mafia’
Games day
Games day
Fullmoon games
Fullmoon games
Chididi Primary School's last day
Chididi Primary School’s last day
Gifts from Romania
Gifts from Romania
Azungu nsima
Azungu nsima
Smiles!
Smiles!
Papaya with new volunteers
Papaya with new volunteers
After nursery ... primary school!
After nursery … primary school!
My last dinner with the pastor's family
My last dinner with the pastor’s family
Mr. Happy's farewell party
Mr. Happy’s farewell party
Good-bye, teachers!
Good-bye, teachers!
Bye-bye!
Bye-bye!
Adio, Chididi!
Adio, Chididi!

 

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