Arrived in Lilongwe, capital of Malawi, on Thursday!
Richard, a driver from Save the Children (the organization I’ll be working for here) was waiting for me at the airport and we drove through the rural outskirts of the city. Many of the sights reminded me of Tanzania: vast tracks of open land, people riding bikes loaded with 25kg bags of rice, vendors selling oranges or sugarcane (or baskets, or tires, or MICE kabobs! How on earth did they catch those things?) on the side of the road… The newness of those sights for me has been replaced by a greater awareness of the material challenges they represent.
The place I’m staying is a small house in the same complex as Ajeeba, another Save the Children staff member. It’s quite nice and has all the amenities: electricity, hot water, etc. The complex is surrounded by a tall wall and to get in you have to buzz a security guard to open the gate! I’m grateful to have access to these things because it’s safer and makes things easier for my diabetes. Being so literally cut off from the outside world, though, still feels strange. I hope in the future I can find a way to balance safety and connectedness.
But as with any situation, it’s the people who make a house a home, and I’m incredibly lucky to be living next door to a truly beautiful family! Ajeeba and her husband Aslam (who are originally from Pakistan) have the world’s most ADORABLE 7-year old twin girls! Since we met, Haya and Hana have proceeded to talk non-stop about their passion for animals 🙂 They’re just amazing and I feel so lucky to be living near them! Ajeeba’s niece, Shaynaz, also lives with them. Examples of the twins’ cuteness:
Me, as we were looking at a book with pictures of desserts: “What kind of desserts do they have in Pakistan?”
Hana: “They have ice cream, and cakes, and cupcakes, and burgers…”
Me: “Once I got to hold a koala bear and it smelled like eucalyptus leaves.”
Haya: “I would never hold a koala that smelled like broccoli!”
Oh kids… 🙂