Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What I have learned so far

So halfway through my stay in Malawi. Felt like I have been here for years, I think that is partly due to all that I have learned in such a short stay here at Kusamala. This is just a short list of some of the many things I am doing/learning here at the centre...

minibuses are crowded and unreliable... and constantly run out of gas.

possibly one of my favorite things...watching the first leaves come out of the seed pod. how cool!

Malawian weddings are far more superior to American ones.. everyone literally throws money everywhere. 

Bee-keeping is a dangerous activity.

Chicks are my new obsession.

The man who sleeps on the couch at the entrance is actually our security guard

I live in the jungle with wild boars.

Branches are key to fighting wild fires.

Lake Malawi is beautiful.

Don't chew on sugarcane with your front teeth (Thank God it only cost 30 dollars to get my tooth fixed!)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Adventures in Mozambique

Well its been a while since I have updated...many of you already know that I decided to extended until December. Doing this meant that I needed to leave the country and renew my visa. A friend here at the centre needed to do the same around the same time so we decided we would make a trip out of it. With Malawi being landlocked and a relatively small country there are many options of countries in which to renew your visa. We were debating between Zambia and Mozambique. We finally decided on the adventurous journey to explore the northern part of Mozambique. The decision was made when the guidebook described it as "undiscovered gem, well off the beaten tourist track and perfect for the adventurous traveller looking for more than just another beach hotel experience"...well this turned out to be exactly right. 

What an adventure... one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. It was one of the best adventures I have had but I probably wouldn't do it again.. to begin with it took us three days to finally make it to the coast.

Transportation summary:

Mini buses: 5
Bike taxi: 2 (one for two hours)
Charter bus: 2
Truck bed: 2 
Taxi: 3
Hitched rides: 9
Train: 12 hours in a train X 2
Boat: 45 mins X 2

Even with the transportation struggles, the food and deserted beaches made it worth it. 

Random swing set in the middle of the deserted beach =]

Beautiful mangroves near Pemba beach. 

One of my favorite aspects... delicious seafood and coconut rice on Ilha de Mozambique!

Pretty sure after this dinner I smelt like a crab for two days. 

Took a dhow (sailboat) to an even more deserted island for a day of swimming and snorkeling in the lagoon. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

It has almost been three weeks since I have been here which is absolutely crazy to think about, I feel like I have been here for at least two months. Malawi is an absolutely beautiful country with beautiful loving people. These first two weeks I have spent my time working mainly with the chickens and the medicine garden which seems to be my focus for the next few months. Work here is flexible no day is the same, and the staff is laid back and fun to hang out with. Since a picture is worth a thousand words I figured I would give you a glimpse into my new life through a few pictures (taken by a friend here...sadly I haven't taken any pictures yet=/)

My simple little room which I love. The windows allow me to hear all the animals noises at night.. especially the hyenas!

The views while running! 

 My walk to church... and to think you have to pay to cross that bridge.. I would almost rather swim.

 This picture is for my brother.. enoooooo

The courtyard, my room is the door on the right=]

 Harvesting Amarynth seeds

 The entertainment of the centre..kittens. 

Early morning chores, making IPM (Pest management spray)

Getting the vegetable boxes ready for the CSA

The commercial garden

Lunch celebration with the staff

Finally a picture of all the staff together!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Lilongwe, Malawi

So a day before leaving the country...it has finally hit me. What in the world have I gotten myself into?!? Is this craziness really happening? I didn't think this would actually come to be. BAH

For the next 3 months...6 months..1 year... who knows?.. I will be calling Lilongwe, Malawi home. 
So where exactly is Malawi?

This is my future home, Nature's Gift permaculture centre

I will be working and learning all about permaculture which is basically
sustainable agriculture and the sustainable design for human settlements. Permaculture encompasses three principles... care of the earth, care of people and fair share. 

So a day before I step on the plane, I am freaking out, wondering what I got myself into...doubting why I am even going. Nervous because I don't know anyone, scared because I am not going with anyone I know, doubting if I can make it for several months taking bucket showers and living with no electricity.

Despite the fear and nerves I can find peace in one thing. I know the same God that I read about in the Bible that rescued the Israelites from Egypt, fed 5,000 and raised people from the dead is the same God that is going with me, walking with me as I arrive in Malawi and find my way 14 km out of the city to my new home. There is a beauty in life when stepping out of your comfort zone and instead trusting and relying on God for all your needs. 

Hopefully I will have enough internet to update about the craziness of life in Malawi. 

Lake Malawi
 Okay seriously who wants to visit me?

Take my heart and let it be all for you and for your glory

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

solar oven

One of the highlights of the summer has been building a solar oven at home with my dad. So although it looks a little sketchy and homemade, it was a lot of fun to make. All you really need is cardboard, aluminum foil, mason jar spray painted black, newspaper, glass and duct tape! 

1st attempt: We decided to try cooking beans first, didn't want to die from cooking any sort of meat, plus we didn't want for it to take 12 weeks to cook. so first attempt left it outside for five + hours..

1st lesson learned: Welp turns out you have to plan ahead when using a solar oven..not too much sun the day we tested so five hours later still didn't have enough confidence slash desire to try it. so decided we would try again tomorrow with a sunnier day predicted! 

2nd attempt: Left it outside on wonderfully sunny day. end of story

2nd lesson learned: Homemade solar ovens don't have built in timers to remind you... out of sight out of mind. remembered the oven three days later. =/

Determined to try again this weekend. Third times a charm right?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Looking back on the past 6 months, I am in awe of the journey that God has brought me on. I cant help but give thanks to God for all the wonderful memories and lifelong friends that I have made during the last semester of college... here is a reflection on just 20.

1. Living in a refugee community...Willow Branch, my home. 

2. the beauty of the little things in life...clothes drying outside

3. Volcano boarding-CNN #2 thing to do before you die

 4. Jonna surviving Nicaragua

5. neighborhood girls bonding nights

 6. weekly outings to the Yogurt tap...especially with sweet Halima =]

 7. spontaneously beginning a garden in the backyard. end result= pile of dirt... but totally worth the memories made.

 8. the joys of staying up throughout the night taking care of the stray kitten- pistol pete
** those who know me during this time, know that this is a complete lie and I am not very thankful at all for little petey, clearly I am not ready to be a mother

 9. the reckless, adventurous spirt of the neighborhood kids

 10. the beauty of friendships, in which you can hardly speak the same language

 11. spending time with friends new and old

12. exchange buddies!


 14. spontaneous model shoots 

 15. KELLY! 

 16. eating so much candy, your ILL...don't miss Nischal on the ground 

 17. the experience of living with 2 Iranian refugees, and not being able to speak the same language

 18. who needs to speak the same language?...dance parties with the roommates

19. the burst of energy from roommates who speak english! JENNA!

 20. picnic's in the park

21. trip with the parents to St. Martins- Graduation celebration!!

 22. dinner dates in Decatur

23. modern technology aka skype so I can talk to my BFF and sitter

24. newfound love for FARMING!

25. laughter and unforgettable memories with friends

26. kids using our window as a door

27. spending time with Bailey reminiscing on college adventures

28. my mothers visit to Clarkston

29. hiking with the family

Okay so I did more than 20...but who likes even numbers anyways!