Finally arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi!
Malawi — Uniterra
After experiencing the longest flight of my life, and escaping our brutal winter, I finally arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi (a total of 18 hours flight and I’m ignoring the layoff time.) I will be staying in Korea Lodge for the next 3 weeks which is in Area 3 of Lilongwe. Lilongwe is the capital of Malawi and is segmented in different areas called by number. The first night was great; I was more tired than I thought even if I slept on the plane.
Malawians are early risers, and some of them start working between 7:30 to 8:00 in the morning and would be gone for the day before sunset between 4:30 and 5 in the afternoon. The sun sleeps at 6:30PM and it gets dark quickly. I am an early riser myself and to be able to wake up with the sunrise is a great feeling which I couldn’t afford back in Canada (I’m constantly thinking of you guys, with our current winter!) However, I’m experiencing the extreme opposite weather (29°C but feels like 34°C), and believe me, it’s quite a challenge to my body – I get tired quickly.
With the sun up, my first full day in Malawi was at the WUSC office where I was getting my orientation training on Malawi. I learn some basic Chichewa (official Malawian language): Muli bwanji (How are you), mzungu (foreigner), and the most important of all: zikomo (thank you). I learnt that in Malawian culture, it is important to end a conversation with zikomo for whatever reason (even if, as a Canadian, it doesn’t make sense) which I took note. I guess this is the same when Canadians always “excuse” themselves or says “sorry”.
The morning went by fast and lunchtime was right around the corner. I was able to taste a typical Malawian plate: nsima (made from maize flour, the white “bun” which is not a bun!) with beans, legumes, and chambo (the fish name which can only be fish in Malawi lake!). Not too fan of nsima because its taste is really plain, but the chambo was delicious!
Already in the afternoon and after experiencing 3 power outages (which it’s quite typical in Malawi), I went around Lilongwe with Grace, one of the WUSC employee. We took a cab to go to the Game Center which is not too far from Korea Lodge. She also shows me around the market next to the Game Center. The market is separated in two parts and we had to cross a bridge that links to the other part of the market. The bridge was quite dangerous: I had to constantly watch my next step! In the second market part, I shop for a chitenge: a typical tissue wrap around Malawian women (women who are working in the field will mostly wear a chitenge).
So before I experienced my 4th power outage (knowing on wood) – I will end my first post here. As power outage is quite common in Malawi, I hope I will be able to post soon. Stay tuned! Zikomo!