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Tamara's blog

Village in Mulanje

Submitted by tamara on 2 August 2009 - 8:33am    

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. 



Submitted by tamara on 16 July 2009 - 9:28am    

People I know:

Meggie- my sister here.  She's 20, loves to sing, is a fine fine cook, has a fashion sense beyond mine, is a good dancer, takes good care of me, shares my bed, is afraid of the dark.

Prince- my neighbours kid.  He's 8 and plays in the yard and always wants my attention.  We play a lot of games together and I've taught them a few songs.  He's an only child.  His mother's name is Barbara.

David- my host father.  He's a pastor and has just retired from a telecommunications job.  He's dramatic and knows English and French. He likes 4 teaspoons of sugar in his tea, like most Malawians.

Chimwemwe- my 25 yr old sister.  She has one child, Gerradi and is getting married in December.  She will move to South Africa with her fiance.

Blue frogs and dead goats

Submitted by tamara on 16 July 2009 - 9:06am    

Hey, sorry it’s been rather hectic but I’m doing good and feeling good and Malawi is growing on me.


Top 10 Ndiwo (relishes to eat with nsima)


What’s nsima?  WHAT’s NSIMA?! Well, I’ll tell you:

It’s made of maize flour and water, cooked to a precise texture that you make round blobs with about the size of a baseball.  It is then used to scoop up the relishes in bite size pieces with your hand.  We eat it every day, sometimes twice a day: for supper and lunch.

I like it.


top 10s

Submitted by tamara on 24 June 2009 - 8:14am    

Hey all you great people, thanks for hearin my stories.

I made a collection of top 10's to keep you up on life a bit. 

Top 10 animals I have seen so far:

crocadile (it was in a pit, someone had it as a show pet)

turtle (it shared the pit with the crocadile)

monkey (they were jumpin around on trees at Sanga Bay and on the roof of our hostile)

bat (swooped down as we were swimming in lake Malawi at night)

toad (I caught a big mad toad and called it Harry)

birds (there were thousands of crows one day as I was walking in the city. they were flyiny high and it was crazy man)

dog (our pet dog here is called Boosh, he's warming up to me, I keep my distance cause I'm afraid of rabies)

cat(2 cats live and eat with us, they're small)

lizzard(speedy little devils, they're everywhere. I caught one once and it's tail fell off, sorry little guy)


Submitted by tamara on 12 June 2009 - 6:34am    

Everybody, meet Freddy

Freddy lives in our house.  He doesn't say too much to me, but I knows he likes me.  I can tell by his smile.  He sleeps in the living room and shares the same love of milk as I have.  (Not many others in the house drink milk)  He has to stay at home nearly everyday, but I don't think he's angry or upset with it.  Honestly, he's the one that has gotten past our skin colour and cultural differences the fastest out of everyone that I've met so far.  I adore him for that.  I know that one day he'll have a lot to say, given time.

Hygiene Village Project

Submitted by tamara on 7 June 2009 - 7:38am    

Hey guys,

I work at Hygiene VIllage Project. (HVP) The office is located in a region of Blantyre called Chilimba and I live in Camussa.  To get there I have started walking rather than mini busing since it only takes half an hour. 


Roy is the boss, he picked me up on his motorbike on the first day of work! Yikes that was a leap of trust (hold on tight).  William is the second hand man, he's 25 and we're beginning to have some good conversations about the poverty situation and talking about Malawi's history and why a lot of Africa is poor.  Cecilia is the field workin lady, she's 26 and is also great at helping me learn Chichewa.

But lets get down to the chase:  What IS Happening at HVP???

Well, there's tones going on, but I'll begin with our vision, (as I can remember it):


Submitted by tamara on 27 May 2009 - 5:28am    

Just letting you all know I bought a cell phone for 1900 kwacha (about 20 canadian dollars) and you will be able to contact me if you wish at this number: (and I'd be thrilled to hear from any of you, call or text)



(the Malawian area code is the 265 part and the cell number is the 099 580 0923 part)


Malawi time is 7 hours ahead of Canada.

zikomo kumbiree

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