Friday, September 25, 2015

Adventures in Malawi - Misc

This bug was fascinated by this plant in Stesi's yard. It was a HUGE flying bug that was soooooo loud when it flew. But once it landed on this plant, it stayed on it - not still, but exploring it all over - like cat on catnip - for hours.

Funny sign.

Awesome clouds.


One of the hostels we stayed at

Soooooo...another hostel we stayed at didn't have any mosquito nets in the room we were staying. So Stesi sent to the front desk to ask for some and she was told there weren't anymore available. Then she was handed a can of DOOM! and told to spray the mosquitoes individually with it. So, i just sprayed down the whole room - beds, pillows, curtain, windowsills, bathroom, clothes - and we turned on the AC (apparently mosquitoes don't like cold) and we were fine. I guess catching a little cancer is worth not getting Malaria...?

Inside Stesi's PC HQ - their "Free Box", where PCVs donate clothes and whatnot so other PCVs can recycle them for themselves. The shirt Stesi is wearing is from the Free Box.

1st meal in Malawi - a chickpea burger and sweet potato fries...for realz...delicious!! O, and off in the bottom right corner - mac & cheese - also super delicious!

Typical mosquito net in Malawi. I prefer the ones that PC gives us that are rectangular at top instead of circular like this one is. Stesi told me there's a negative stigma associated with the rectangular ones though. The rectangular ones are issued for free from the government, so people think it gives them the complex of being "poor" so they either don't use them (instead they use them as fishing nets) or they mold the rectangular top to a circle. It's unfortunate there's that stigma attached to the rectangular ones because they are so much more comfortable to sleep under because they offer more space...but apparently "keeping up with the Jones'" reaches far beyond America's borders.

I thought it was funny that this minibus had a toy horse sitting on the dash.

A hotel we went to without numbers on the doors. We were given room #1...but couldn't find it. We asked the guy at the desk and he tried to help us...he also didn't know. We finally found it, after knocking 1st and trying the key.

This bug was on the 1st bus we took going to her village. It wouldn't leave me alone. Eventually i let it crawl on my finger, thinking it was pretty harmless...note to self: don't play with unknown bugs in unfamiliar countries. It bit me. Then Stesi told me she had never seen that type of bug before and that i probably shouldn't have been playing with it. So, of course i made it get off my finger, but it still wouldn't leave me alone, so i smooshed it. It was one of the worst smelling things i've ever smelled! It smelled like pungent dirty feet, and the smell just lingered.

Me lying under my PC provided family-sized mosquito net in Stesi's room.

Hmmmm...Is it a tan tan? or a "Malawian tan" (aka dirt)?

So, this one time in Malawi, Stesi and i took a minibus ride from hell. What should've been a 2-3 hr ride ended up being about 6 hrs! We went to the bus depot and got onto a minibus that looked full (Stesi told me the minibus drivers hire people to sit on the buses to make them look full, so people will get on because everyone knows they won't leave until the bus is full, so everyone looks for the fullest bus to get onto, in hopes of leaving as soon as possible). We ended up driving around in circles  around the depot for like 3 hrs! Not only did we not leave when the bus was full (they waited to completely overfill it) but they changed drivers 3 times too! Stesi said she had never experienced anything like that before. We considered getting off and getting on a different one, but after like an hr of driving in circles, we felt committed at that point to just stick with it. We were also both not feeling well and i was super carsick and the driving in circles - forwards and backwards - and stopping abruptly and constant horn honking was nauseating...

And, the story's not done... so when we finally got close to our destination, we needed to go to the bank cuz we were pretty much out of money. We went to the ATM and there was a line and the ATM wasn't working and the bank had just closed, so we couldn't go inside. We didn't know what we were going to do (it was becoming evening and we had no money and still needed to get to our actual final destination which also had a time limit of when we could be picked up, and we were dangerously close to that time). So we prayed.

Stesi saw a man that had been in the ATM line go to a nice car, so she asked him if he knew what was going on. He said he was calling the bank and that he would tell us what they said. So he got off the phone and someone from inside the bank came out to talk to him. He ended up being the chairman of the bank! GOD IS AWESOME! So he told the banker that we also needed help. The 3 of us were led inside to the bank manager's office (which is where we took these photos). The ATMs also weren't working inside, but because of the Chairman's help, the manager wrote down Stesi's bank info and gave us the money we asked for! What a relief!

Then we had to make it to a gas station that was a bit of a hike with our heavy bags so we could be picked up in time to make it to where we had reservations for the night. We barely made it...but we made it! God was definitely watching over us! We were so grateful. :o]

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