The day started off super early with a 5:30 am flight from Winnipeg to Toronto where I met up with fellow Pro-Fellow Eric who will also be working on the WatSan team in Malawi with me. After 24 hours of painless travel we made it safely and happily to Lilongwe Malawi to meet our new supervisor and friend Kristina!
The first afternoon we dropped our bags and went straight into a scavenger hunt. This hunt has us going through the market to find the pharmacy, clinic, buying an emergency malaria treatment, getting fruit, local cloth and even trying out the ‘sketchy bridges’ which link the flea market and the fruit and veggie markets. For a small fee (and a lot of courage) I made it across. For my safety and mental health I think that will be my last crossing! (see below for pics of the bridge, us on the bridge and the view from the bridge!)
The following couple of days included in country training which meant better understanding the people and the culture of Malawi as well as understanding the WatSan team and my role within it. The government of Malawi is working to decentralize the WatSan services within the country. This means there are a lot of players involved the photo below is the organizational chart of the sector in Malawi all the way from the very local levels to the international levels. I also threw in a picture that has the main focuses of the WatSan team.
So a few things I have learned about Malawi so far. The people are very friendly and welcoming and they want you to find them friendly and their country beautiful (which both are true so that is easy). The other thing is Nisema. This is a staple food in Malawi that most people eat every single day. It is made by boiling ground maize flour and stirring to form ‘lumps’. See below for a picture of some cooking Nisema and the final product! It actually has very little taste and so is just as good as what Nidyo or sauce/curry you eat it with.
Next up, a trip to Mangochi and Liwonde!