I went to a village in Mulanje, right near the 3rd largest mountain in Africa.  It was my boss' home village.  I was overwhelmed with large number of kids in the area who came up to me and stared at me like I was a wild animal. They mostly don't wear shoes, but the earth is smoothen red dirt and I'd much rather go barefoot as well. There are women cooking in the same back yard: a communal event, a social network. The latrine and the bathhouse didn't have a door on either of them. Just 3 walls.  But I've come to accept a little less privacy.  I even shared the bed with the grandmother for a while.  And right now I gave up my room for a guest staying at our house back in Blantyre.  I sleep in the living room behind the couch with my Malawian sister.  Don't worry if this all sounds hard to get comfortable with, because I'm comfortable with mostly everything now.  It's just life.

On another note, I think I got my 3rd mosquito bit.  Yes, 3rd.  Not the rainy season so there's few mosquitoes.  I also ate a mouse and wanted to try pigeon, but they weren't cooking pigeon that night during my stay in the village.  Darn.  Well, I know where some pigeons are if I don't get to try it in Malawi, right dad?

I met another Maria, she's my new friend. She's only 17.  She showed me around Mulanje, we went biking together, hauled gravel from the river and she cooked the mice for me.  Both her parents have passed away and she is an only child.  I think of her as someone pushed beyond her years. Someone forced to become an adult without experiencing a full and nurturing childhood.   She lives in my boss' village in her mothers house.  She's so hard core, a strong hearted individual.    She's going to school, and that's her priority right now, one which she has mentioned to me. I aspire to carry her endurance and spirited nature.