Seeing the world on two feet.

I had quite the little Lilongwe-on-foot adventure today, as I had a lunch meeting at City Centre (the new downtown – basically where all the NGOs and development agencies are). Now, Lilongwe is a sleepy little town, but it’s fairly sprawling. For a town that really only became a city after the capital was moved here in the 1970s, you would think a little city planning could have taken place – not so. According to the gmap pedometer, it was about a 4 mile round trip and during the heat of the day, which made my adventure a little less pleasant. (Frozen midwesterners: it was 90 here today.) The whole adventure made me miss the compactness and grid pattern of DC.

Now, I live in a nice neighborhood, but it’s a little suburban. Since I do not yet have a car, and since other people in this neighborhood all have their own, my primary transport option is my own two feet. I didn’t really how hilly the town was until I was walking it, but actually, I did pretty well. I didn’t miss any turns and I didn’t get lost. On the way back from City Centre, I encountered a minibus and decided to try it. I asked if they dropped in Area 10, and the door man said yes, so I got in. Unfortunately, I should have been more specific (or known more about the bus routes) because it DID drop me in Area 10 – but the opposite corner from where I needed to be. So my 50 kwatcha ride cut MAYBE 5 minutes out of my walking time – I just had to walk home from a different direction. Fortunately, since I had toured the entire neighborhood trying to find my house on Sunday, I knew where I was and made it without incident.

My lunch meeting was actually really helpful, if a little random. Basically, while looking for contacts with organizations who work on crop diversification, I kept coming across this Canadian woman’s blog, so I eventually emailed to ask for help. She’s very nice (I hear this is true of most Canadians, former roommate notwithstanding) and it was great to talk to another woman, as most people I converse with here are men. It seems like there might be some volunteer opportunities for me with her organization (which is basically the development arm of the Catholic Church of Malawi, as far as I can tell). She mentioned a particular need for the development of policy documents – something I might actually be qualified to do! After we finished lunch, she took me by her office – which was on my way back home – and I met a few of the staff members.

While I was out and about, my roommate called to ask if I was home. Our washing machine is malfunctioning and someone was supposed to come to fix it…last week. I told him I’d be home in a hour. Three hours later, no one has yet arrived to make the repairs. (At least this is not a problem unique to Malawi.) It was probably good that I came home when I did, though, because we had a little mini-monsoon this afternoon. The sun was still shining when the downpour started. The rain cooled things a little, but now that it’s stopped, I’m sure things will warm up. I sat on my veranda during the rain and saw all sorts of wildlife: little tiny lizards flitting about, teal birds in the yard, and a bigger lizard (forearm-sized) climbing one of our trees. I’m not sure if I see more animals here because there are more, or because I didn’t really sit outside much at Bunda.

I will pretend this post has a coherent theme by ending with a few photos of my new digs.

This is the the living room and bedroom part of the house (complete with veranda). The kitchen, dining room, and carport are on the other side, perpendicular to this part.

This was taken out the living room window during the monsoon, looking toward the carport.

Part of my jungle-like yard.

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One Response to “Seeing the world on two feet.”

  1. Rachel Says:

    I’m so jealous of the temperatures! It’s getting rather cold here. And Green leaves! Our leaves are mostly gone…AND we had SNOW! Oh and your backyard looks pretty sweet. I wish I had a jungle-like yard.

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