Friday, 21 December 2012

Meanwhile, in Baluti . . .

Sorry I haven’t posted for so long! A while back the power went off for about a week, then was back for a few days before it was off again for about two weeks, so I haven’t been able to write any blog posts from home for a while. Although it caused a few problems with communicating with people via the internet, we actually got quite accustomed to life without power once we got our gas stove. We spent many an evening singing along to Catriona’s ukulele by candlelight, it was very romantic.

Lake Trip!
Last week we left Blantyre for the first time since we arrived here, for a holiday to Lake Malawi. It was absolutely amazing, we had so much fun. The beach and its surroundings were beautiful and the water was warm, even in the evening. There were kingfishers and fish eagles, a tiny praying mantis and a not so tiny scorpion spider, and we went snorkelling and saw tropical fish. The food was delicious, especially the chambo, a type of fish caught in the lake, and it was so lovely having air conditioning and hot showers for a week!

The Cockermouse is a Bat!
A while back when we were both in bed we heard a noise in the bedroom and Catriona said she felt something land on her net. She saw the shadow of something too big to be a normal cockroach fly past her but it was too dark to see what the thing actually was. I concluded that it was a cockermouse, and then we didn’t hear it for a while, so we kind of forgot about it. But a couple of weeks ago, when we were still without power, I was standing in the main room and a little bat landed on my foot! I think maybe I stunned it a bit when I shone the torch on it because it didn’t seem to be able to fly; it just crawled along the floor into the bathroom. We later realised that the thing in the bedroom was probably a bat, not a cockermouse.

At the end of November we went to the home of Nanzikambe Drama Company to watch a Malawian adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. It was really entertaining, there was traditional Malawian dancing and tribal masks, a ‘Gule Wamkulu’ spirit dancer at Juliet’s funeral and a ‘Sing’anga’ (witch doctor) selling poison. The audience also taught me something about Malawian people; they like to laugh. It seems that laughing is quite a normal reaction to almost any situation, and it’s not a sign of disrespect or mockery, which makes me feel a lot easier about the way people laugh at me when I walk past them in the street.
We went back to Nanzikambe a couple of weeks later to see a play about prostitution, which reminded me of how important it is to keep girls in particular off the streets and in places like the Samaritan Trust. It was also great to see a contemporary dance piece performed before the play, I haven’t watched any contemporary dance since I left college and I’d forgotten how much I love it.

‘Chlistmas Celeblations’
The schools have all broken up for Christmas now so lessons at The Samaritan Trust have stopped too. We’ve still been going to spend time with the kids though, playing football, volleyball and card games, reading books with them, praising their drawings and letting them test our Chichewa. The Samaritan Trust Choir has recorded a Christmas song and I got to watch them filming some nativity scenes to use as the music video. The kids are such enthusiastic actors, they all really enjoyed watching each other.

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