Saturday, 22 September 2012

Two Azungu, an Amputee and an Albino walk into a Pharmacy . . .

Hi All!

This week had been pretty good:

Last Saturday, Mary, who's kind of our landlady and head of Nama Simba Nursery School, brought us a plate of Samosas! It made me so unbelievebly happy! They were super tasty and it meant we didn't have to cook dinner that night or lunch the next day.

Monday was our first day volunteering at Nama Simba Nursery School. Trying to control around 60 pre-school aged children is hard enough, but throw in a language barrier and a lack of toilets (and an apparent lack of knowledge of the latrine), and it's nice to know that they go home at one o'clock in the afternoon and you can relax for the rest of the day.

On Wednesday we went to Steph, Matilda and Georgie's house in Nancholi for lunch. We got a bit lost on the way there but it was so worth the wait, the chocolate banana cake (cooked on a hotplate!) was amazing! We've just bought the ingredients and plan to try out the recipe very soon! Afterwards we sat in on one of their projects, which is a women's group for the local community, and helped to make necklaces from lovely Malawian chitenje cloth.

On Thursday we taught an IT class in the Samaritan Trust's new computer suite. The students' task was to type up the following:

Dear Sir (or) Hospital,
My name is . . . . . . . . . . .  and I am looking for a job as a nurse. Are you hiring?
Thank You
Kind Regards

It made me realise just how much I take being able to use a computer for granted! Some of the students in the class were the same age as me and yet it took them half the lesson to find Microsoft Word! It was really nice to be teaching them something that will be really useful to them in the future though, hopefully by the time I leave they'll be typing like pros!

Yesterday one of the older boys at Samaritan's got a deep cut in his finger and one of the younger boys had a pre-existing infected cut on his knee, so Catriona and I went along to the hopsital to help speed things up and find out where to go and what to do if we ever needed to take someone to the hospital by ourselves. Now Catriona and I already get stared at a lot because white people aren't very common around where we live, and the boy with the boy with the sceptic cut on his knee was hit by a car a while back and lost his other leg. So when the three of us walked into the busy hospital pharmacy and then an albino man (who was actually very nice and helped us when we got lost) came and stood behind us in the queue, I don't think there was one person in that room that didn't try to get a good look at us all.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Quotes and Diary Extracts

Muli Bwanji!

I'm in an internet cafe in Blantyre so I can't spend too much time writing this blog post (living on a budget and all) but according to Catriona I'm pretty good with one-liners that sum up our life at the moment, so I've been recording some of the good'uns and promised to but them on the blog:

"Now I get why clowns wear white make-up! Apparently, white faces are hilarious."
(When we first arrived in our village, a group of children saw us inside the minibus and started pointing and laughing. There's also a playground right outside our house and whenever we return home the kids there wave, laugh and chant "Azungu", which means "white person")

Catriona: I hate you!
Louise: I'm not too keen on you either.
Catriona: What?
Louise: I was talking to the roof too, but I'm not as forceful as you are, and I don't like to say I hate people, even when people are roofs.

(When the wind blows (which it does a lot) our tin roof makes an awful screechy metal noise, which it turns out is the sound of part of the roof being lifted up and then dropping down again, I wrote about our solution to this in my diary:)

"As I stood there, gaffer-taping the roof down, I thought to myself, 'It's student night in Ormskirk. My friends will probably be in a club right now, and I'm here, trying to tape the roof onto my house'"

I'm sure there's more, but I don't have my diary with me at the moment! As for the volunteer work, we're still getting into the swing of things at the moment, but the orphanage and the children there are all amazing! They have such good manners and I was so impressed when we went to watch them doing a street performance about HIV. I'm really looking forward to getting stuck into work at the Samaritan Trust.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Last Days

So, I've checked in for my flight online, had my goodbye celebrations featuring lots of cuddles, a few tears and a lot of laughs and I've finally managed to pack my bags. Looks like I'm all set to leave tomorrow morning (my flight isn't until 8pm but it'll take most of the day to drive down to Heathrow). I'm still a little bit confused with regards to where I'll actually be living, but I have the address for my project, so if anybody wants to send me a letter, a Christmas card (it doesn't have to be December to get festive, as I discovered last night when we celebrated Christmas and New Year, complete with amazing presents, tinsel, gingerbread and, of course, plenty of singing) or a melted chocolate bar, here's where to send it to:

Miss Louise Roche
The Samaritan Trust
PO Box 2835

Or if you prefer the more economical method of contacting me, drop me an email at

Unless I get massively delayed at Heathrow, have something interesting to say and can find and afford internet access, this will be my last post from the UK. Hopefully I'll be able to keep posting fairly regularly whilst I'm in Malawi but I'll just have to wait and see what internet access is like over there, so if I don't post for ages, don't panic and presume I've been eaten by a crocodile, okay?

Jonny (the Malawi Desk Officer at Project Trust) sent us some photos of our accommodation, and the guys who helped to renovate it!

Maybe we're living in a school now? I always thought it would be fun to go into the school at night time when there was nobody else there, but Malawian schools are pretty different.