Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Welcome Letters: Daily Life
The following excerpts are from Volunteers who currently serve or recently served in Malawi.
"In no time you'll be able to use a chimbudzi (pit latrine) with the most accurate aim, master the art of bucket-bathing, and prepare your favorite American dish over a three-stone fire." - Jake Farnum
"I remember hearing this and not believing it, but it's true: You don't need to pack a lot of clothes. You can always get things here (especially if you love the adventure of open-air thift shopping). Also pack tons of underwear, a swimsuit, and that one outfit that makes you feel 100 percent cozy and 100 percent you." - Patricia Wundrow
"The intensity that I experience here on a daily basis is much stronger than anything I could have imagined nine months ago, when I too held a Peace Corps manual in my hands and tried, somehow, to prepare. But there is a lighthearted side to all of this, also.
Malawians, as a whole, are very friendly, happy people. We are always laughing - at and with each other. Everything that I say is listened to and everything I do is observed. Everything. This is part of being a Volunteer in Malawi. Just as I laugh out loud when I pass a muscular young man wearing a frilly pink T-shirt that says 'Mom to be,' I hear people laughing at me. What am I wearing or doing that seems so humerous to these people? Have I become such an odd creature overnight? No. I am just a person from another country that is very, very foreign to my new friends and neighbors. When we discuss 'America' they shake their heads and say: 'Ah, it is a very strange place, madam!'" - Debbie Gordon
"Your life will probably be much more relaxed now. My days revolve around clean laundry and going to buy vegetables. Life is calm and happy in Malawi." - Naomi Bremer
"The people in my community have been my family; we have laughed together and we have cried together. The chiefs and the villagers around Vwaza have been my friends; we have planted maize together, harvested termites and caterpillars together (and then we ate them), and searched for shooting stars together. And the children are my entertainment; some of my best memories are sitting on the stoop outside my hut chatting with 'my Kazuni kids' under a full moon." - Stephanie Jayne