1+ Week In – Malawi Excitement!

As Jon announced, we’ve arrived! We made it to Malawi on February 28 and it’s been an exciting ride since we got in. Jon wrote about our first trip to Malawi’s Game store (it was *quite* different from the SA one) and the excitement of finding a grocery store that sells everything from fish oil to gummy worms by weight (though they turned out to be stale). We tried to stock the place up with enough stuff to last us until our shipment arrives (date TBD) but not to buy too much so that we have redundancies. So, we got a really cheap pot, a pan, a cutting board, one sharp knife, paper cups and plates, a salt shaker, etc. Jon had the forethought to bring some silverware from SA with him so that was nice to have.
Then came the cleaning. The house we’re renting is really nice and is brand new. But, Malawi is very dusty and because the house is new it was basically a construction site before we moved in. That, along with all of the people coming in and out (repairmen, the realtor, etc.), meant everything had a nice layer of dirt on it. So on my first day, I went around the whole house and cleaned everything. (Even the walls.)  At the end of each day, I almost always have dirt all over the bottoms of my feet because I can’t keep up with the sweeping! It’s very common to hire a local person here to clean (and sometimes cook) every day but we want to make sure we use someone that someone we trust can recommend. (It will be weird to have someone here every day, but it will really help with all the dust, laundry, etc. Plus, it gives someone a job who needs it, which is good.)
We’ve also had a few interesting hiccups along the way. Our landlady has been extremely responsive with everything that’s come up, which has been amazing, but there have been quite a few problems. Small issues like doors that wouldn’t open/close, electrical problems, windows that wouldn’t open/close, bad drains, the fan above the stove top not working (apparently it just wasn’t plugged in, oops!), leaks from the kitchen sink, brown water in the toilets (due to the plumbing not being used for months), etc. But, we worked through those kinks relatively quickly. The biggest issue has been the generator, which is a nice luxury to even have in the first place, and it not working. See, there are daily power outages here, ranging from four to ten hours (that I’ve experienced thus far), so if you have a generator (and the fuel to run it), you can still have power at home. But, ours has been malfunctioning so when the power has gone out, it’s out. In general, it’s been fine – you figure out putting a load of laundry in once the power has come back on because, theoretically, you’re home-free for the rest of the day, or you put something on the stove top for lunch at 10:00 am, when you know you’ll be able to finish it. It’s certainly been interesting. (It also helped to find out that you have to pay power in advance, by adding credits to your account. One day, when the power was out ALL. DAY., we discovered it was because we were out of credit and didn’t know it. You buy them at a grocery store and input the codes into the meter. Woah!) As someone who hates being hot, I’ve had to stretch a bit – Toto, we’re not in dry and cool South Africa anymore! – but I’d like to think I’m becoming a more adaptable person, slowly but surely. (Stop laughing, Jon.)
So, inevitably, we’ll get everything sorted out. We’ve been told our shipment has left SA – we still can’t seem to get an answer on when it’ll actually arrive – so that’s good. And we’re learning good tricks for making things a little easier. (See above for power outage out-maneuvering…) Also, after the loudest rainstorm I’ve ever heard, I discovered that rain blows in from the opening under the door to the porch and creates a little lake in the kitchen. Now that I know that, I’ll put towels down next time it pours! See?! GROWTH. The rest of it, we’ll figure out as we go…

– By Naama


7 thoughts on “1+ Week In – Malawi Excitement!

  1. Open an airtel money account (go to the airtel shop behind foodworths) and put money on it, and pay power that way instead of going to the grocery store. It’s much more convenient (you can top up your airtel money basically anywhere in town — and you can also use airtel money to buy data, phone credit, etc). I’ve somehow already forgotten the code you need to use on your phone once you have airtel money… #211* or #301* I think…

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  2. Wow! A very different world indeed.

    I hope the shipment comes in very soon.

    Love, Ima

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