Monthly Archives: June 2012

Culture Shock…

My total travel time tops up over 30 hours! Yesterday, I was in three African countries in one day….whew! Lots of airport hoping and exhaustion.

Taking my first steps out of JFK Airport in NYC today, I was greeted by the warm early morning sun. My body felt confused on what time it was and what season we are in. I left Malawi during ‘winter,’ and entered NYC during a heat wave. I got more sleep on the plane than expected, and was more rested when I reunited with my sister, Meghan today.

17 Floors in one building…. to see that while entering an elevator, or to notice the steering wheel on the left side instead of the right, were just little ways my eyes have readjusted to the cultural norms in the U.S, and specifically, NYC.
I rested a lot today, and tonight, put on a dress, shorter than anything I had worn in Malawi, and went out to get ICECREAM. sister bonding of course. Colliding with trendy people, and loud streets, I am encountering a bit of culture shock…
I think when I wake up tomorrow I will be awoken by the sounds of sirens, construction, loud residents, and the zipping of cars…
I will miss the morning sounds of a rooster, the sun beaming through my net and the sounds of morning chores. (sweeping and mopping)
I guess I will still sip some Chombe Tea. ❤

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Stay on the Journey with Me

Yesterday I was not feeling quite ready to leave Malawi….
Today, I was able to at least get more things done, say a few more goodbyes and actually come to terms with the journey here ending. I know the journey will continue, as I want to keep bloggin, and post photos, so you can really connect.
By 8am my time, I will be leaving the house, off to the 1st of 4 airports and leaving the door to this chapter ajar, as I keep relationships going, as I advocate for these children and as I keep learning from the Warm Heart of Africa.

zikomo kambiri for the prayers, comments, likes, emails, and phone calls. continue to journey with me.

ps. ideas for new blog names, are welcome.

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Uncertain Headspace

This weekend was perfect.
*Shannon, a friend from the states has been preparing to come serve in Malawi, we I got to help greet her at the airport.
*At the airport, I ran into 3 PC Volunteers, one who I had already met months before, that was a cool connection!
*Traveling to Senga Bay, again, this time with new/old friends! It was so much fun. I played leader with the most experience, and speaking the most chichewa. 😀
*Laying in the hot sun in my bikini, yes, Bikini in Malawi.
*Talking culture, life, and stories with Germans, canadians & locals.
*Dancing, chatting, laughing and picture taking of kids! Especially those ones saying, “Azungu!! How are you?!”
*Talking to the coolest fisherman, and learning how they work.
*Watching them start their work as the sunset & welcoming them back at 5am/to see the sunrise.


*The numbers of fish, the sound of water on shore, chichewa spoken quickly to sell fish, and neon colors as the sun arose.
*Making friends in the market, simply due to eating/knowing the local pastries.
*Trading goods for goods
*Owning a hand crafted Jembe!!
*Riding in the back of a truck with about 20 people; clinging to each other for support.
*Sharing stories in the minibus back to Lilongwe.
*Meeting Clara & Rike, my German sisters from Madisi in Lilongwe.
*Meeting Malawian Tennis players, at the Black Missionaries Concert.
*Dancing and soaking in all the goodness of the

I am trying to taste and see all that I can, and I cannot believe all this ends here in few days…
Feeling somekind of way…

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Feeling Like Oprah!

You get a new pair of shoes, you get a new pair of shoes, you get a new pair of shoes!!”

Knowing how Oprah spoils grown adults with new things, this will be an even better way to give to people in need. I am not Oprah, however I do feel lucky knowing how great of a feeling a good surprise feels!  Today is a bittersweet day, my last day with my kids at RiseMalawi Ministries, but also a day for a sweet surprise.
On Meghan and I’s 26th Birthday, this last March, our parents gifted us with a new pair of shoes for the youth here. Thanks to the work of Za, Mavuto, and Tinashe our staff here at Rise, the youth will receive a pair of new shoes.  Although, bittersweet, I know God is shaping me for the next part of my life.
Id say thank you to Rise Malawi, Staff/friends, youth, My parents, Meghan and to all those friends and family supporting me in prayer.

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Do You Know Where You are Going?

Death, yeah its inevitable. Everyone will die. That is the harsh reality of this world. I only hope people die with dignity, and know they were loved on earth, and eternally by the Creator. Everyday we see examples that remind us a death. Death can even be like a metaphor; dying to something, and changing your old habits into new, healthy habits.

As a child of God, and someone who believes wholeheartedly in Jesus, I too want the lost to return home. To know Christ fully, and to walk with the faith knowing that their fate, is only in their Father’s hands.

Today I heard of some physical deaths here and at home, and how heartbreaking. An ended life and unanswered questions… however what stings for me the most is thinking, ugh, I wonder if they knew God? I wondered where they ended up? Did I ask the hard questions? Did I show Christ’s love? Did I lay down my life for others…

I guess, I can only do better. There is nothing I can do but pray, and be more like Him. We all can. Truly, that is life’s purpose; to Glorify God, and to share that news.

In this conversation about death, it is also about love and community, family and growth. Everyone knows someone who has died. Close to them, or a distant relative but we all have that in common. Death as my friend Kim said tonight, brings family together. When a loved one leaves us, many come together, here in Malawi, communities come together, and share in the mourning. Sharing this time, is an act of love, and through this, growth happens.(These also apply when you are changing old habits to new ones in your life. What can you die to today?)

What in you life is worth dying, so you can live more fully?

Brrrr…. It’s Chilly!!

Senga Bay was beautiful and chilly! Yes, friends, Malawi is winter season now, and COLD! Senga Bay was fun to see, and much like the ocean. Waves and all, but too cold to fully submerge my entire body in. Thanks for keeping up with my posts, I will try to keep you posted for my final two weeks!

Cant wait to be warm in the hot humid sun in the states….but enjoying my final days…

I’m drinking my tea, in my sweatshirt, socks and sleeping soon…..

Adventure Time!

Just before I sleep, I wanted you all to know about the ADVENTURE ill be on in the hours creeping up on me… As per advice from some friends back home, Kate and Jarrod Schafer, who used to live in Malawi– I am headed to LAKE MALAWI, SENGA BAY! Google image this!  The Lake is a great attraction of Malawi, and tomorrow is the day I will see it! Senga Bay, here I come! Isaac, a good friend of mine who I got to know from Blantyre (both times I’ve come to Malawi) and I are going to find the Jem that Senga Bay is! We will start by taking some minibuses and possibly jump into the back of a truck for the second part of the trip.

The first trip to Malawi, my group was unable to see Lake Malawi, but this time, with only 16 days remaining, its on my bucketlist of things to do before I leave. Not to mention, we will check out the restaurant, Cool Running’s, since EVERYONE says its also a must! I will try to post pictures when I return in the evening!

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With 20 days remaining with no particular order, my top highlights from my journey here in Malawi: 

  • Hearing P-square(look them up) from my bed, in my net, down the hall from Tinashe Saka’s room
  • Laughing everyday!! Seriously, I think I’m a happier person, since I laugh everyday, thanks to friends, like Tinashe, Za, Movuti, Willie, John, Arthur, Isaac, Mwai, Malason, Mike, Maclean, Michael, Sarah, Rike, Clara and my kids
  • Walking or riding a bike to get around! Also, the custom of using Minibuses!
  • Speaking confidently in another language and getting respect for it.
  • Eating amazingly tasting dinners especially when the power has gone out
  • The Sunsets here in the Warm Heart Of Africa
  • Teaching English, at the same time as discovering a HUGE passion of mine!
  • Visiting families and villages to our youth. Today, we came with openness, and left with sugarcane, sweet potatoes, and groundnuts.
  • Learning the fruits of the spirit, through the lives of the humble hearted people here.
  • Being bolder than ever before! Making new friends with fellow volunteers!
  • Dancing with “Uncle Bruce” and the Rise Malawi staff!! (video to share)
  • Spontaneously meeting the German Ambassadors Family, and spending time at the house with his family, all on his birthday! Bonus, meeting Emma, the coolest 7 year old; daughter to the American Ambassador.
  • Lake Malawi, what a sight!
  • Interacting with monkeys without a cage!
  • With slower paced life, I have been able to really rediscover myself,
  • A birthday party in the dark, with all my favorite foods cooked with love over charcoal stove inside, due to the intense rain; not to mention the bike taxi’s that got us to the destination without us falling in puddles and a birthday surprise that can not just change my life, but almost 100!
  • Growing deeper with God as well as friends
  • Experiencing a major political change, due to the death of a president. Now the 1st woman president; my first experience with such kind of event.
  • Learning to appreciate the finer things in life
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I Write to Remember

longing for
familiar faces and
happy places,
a spot to rest my head.
people I know and
ways I can grow,
a spot to rest my head.
direction and light
bringing me to new heights,
a spot to rest my head.
“longing for a home” says this
Earth wanderin’ soul, wanting to be planted, yet
uprooted again,
longing for
familiar places and
happy faces
a spot to rest my head.

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Maize for Days, Yet Wishing for Water

Upon arriving back to Madisi, my lovely little village community, I’ve noted what is going on. People are greeting me, and amazed by the new confidence I have in speaking Chichewa, but there are so many more things to note.
It’s no longer the rainy season which is very evident due to the high grass and maize fields that have been burned down and observing creative african reuse the cobs from the maize for firewood.
Upon leaving Peoples, the local “grocery” store, where I have the employees as friends, and often buy my bottled water; I stopped to notice what was happening on a neighbors porch. Id say it was 10 women or so, practically drowning in maize kernels that were removed by hand to prepare for their families for maize flour, for the upcoming months. Not only the sight, but the sound; boy these women were having a blast! I mean, I was literally 20 steps to my house, but could not resist; I stopped, dropped my bag, and joined in. I wanted to laugh too(and help). Despite not knowing much chichewa beyond my 4 months of knowledge, I tried to communicate, and allowed the community to happen. Love & laughter were in the air, as we worked on burying ourselves deeper into the maize.
***The Maize here is the staple food, made for making nsima.

So to me it seems as if there is maize for days, yet I know many people will still suffer. In addition to these findings, I knew something else was different…
Tinashe’s kitchen is quaint and tidy, however, very different that what I am used to. There are at least 3 large drums of water, stored in the kitchen. Yes, we have a sink with a tap in the kitchen, but as of lately, its run dry. Now, if you do not already know, water usually comes 2-3 times a week to the tap. It is not always just “turn the knob and get water” type of kitchen sink I am used to. When the water comes, its pressure is very low, and Tinashe is generally up for 2-3 hours refilling the drums.
Now, you are aware of this typical day-to-day water crisis, but now, 7 days in counting we have not had any water. In fact, I have not seen the drums replenished with a drop of water since I returned on Wednesday. Not only here at our house, but all the taps in this trading center, and our only other alternatives are wells.

Picture with me…

a house with a toilet,
dirty dishes, dirty clothes,
dirty bodies/hands,
and thirsty bodies.
Without water coming from the tap, we are in need. We are in crisis.
With the alternative of fetching water from wells, well, that in itself is another blog post. (time to walk there, or money to hire someone on a bike/foot)
Its costly,
time-consuming &
quite unfair.
Not to mention, when the power gets shut off, and stores close early, buying water is no longer an option either.

It might sound silly, but we need prayer. We need water. I think of the less educated who are only use dirty water to feed the children, wash their bodies or clothes in polluted streams, or lastly, the toilets that cannot be flushed in the homes, because there is no water to fill the tank.

Last night Tinashe and I both had dreams about water coming out of the tap, and still nothing.

Please be praying…. this is injustice. With 80% of the country like this, access to clean water, can change lives

*Also, a favorite organization helping to change the lives of communities without clean water is

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