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!