The University of Malawi Chancellor’s College provided a guest house for me until my “permanent” home will be ready next week. It has two bedrooms to accommodate visitors and is on a spacious landscape. Here are some images of the college guest house where I am staying:
This is the beautiful driveway to the guest house. I truly like the red clay-like “pavement” over the asphalt I’ve been accustomed to as a city dweller. Most of the roads and “sidewalks” are of this substance, and it is like walking on a soft carpet. Many go barefoot as a result!
This is the lovely view outside of my bedroom window in the morning.
The only down side to having windows open all of the time without screens on them are the ravenous insects that come after my flesh in the middle of the night. Thus, the mosquito net. Before leaving for Malawi I had a series of vaccinations for Hepatitis A and typhoid fever, and I need to take a daily prophylactic of doxycycline to prevent malaria. Malaria is one of the worst diseases in Malawi in addition to HIV and cholera from poor water sources.
When I move to my permanent (8 month) location on Sunday, this is the view from the driveway. The juxtaposition of natural beauty and mainstream poverty is hard to embrace. But this is Malawi. This is a primary school in the neighborhood of my guest house, adjacent to the college.
The center of downtown Zomba. Out of necessity, and recommended by the Fulbright administration, I bought a second-hand car to get me around since there is no public transportation. There are a few private taxis and minivans that transport people into town from the more remote villages, but they are not recommended by the State Department for U.S. citizens due to safety concerns. Thus, this is the little car I got today:
Oh- and it is a REALLY BIG CHALLENGE to have the steering wheel on the right and to drive on the left hand side of the road. I think I said “oops” about 35,000 times today while driving around town. Plus, the many pedestrians and bicycles are perpetual obstacles. No texting and driving here, for sure. If my eyes leave the road, some one surely will get hurt.
After a few driving lessons with my new friends who helped me to buy the car, I drove around the lovely Chancellor’s College Campus. Meet Only and Roderick:
And the campus:And here is my new Department Chair! Don’t worry, Derrick, he is only a temporary surrogate 🙂 His name is Chimwemwe Chavinda and he has been amazingly gracious in helping me to feel at home here in Malawi. Look at the shirt!!!!
After I drove through the campus, I took on the challenge of driving through the town. Many cars were passing me since I was going so slow, trying to differentiate between the turn signal and the windshield wiper. All of the counter-intuitive turns into the left lane instead of the right, has given me quite the headache, but I truly enjoyed meeting new friends at the main market.
This man carved me a wonderful giraffe key chain out of African Ebony.
And, of course, while at the market I had to get the traditional Malawian Women’s Skirt – the Chitenje! This woman in the market hemmed it for me on the spot to accommodate my genetic shortness 🙂
After which I deserved Malawian ice cream from this very friendly street vendor:
And when back at the Guest House I had to try on my new Malawian Chitenje. These skirts (worn as a wrap out of only 2 meters of colorful fabric), are the most comfortable in the world. Why I have put up with zippers and belts and buttons, I’ll never know. But if you are a woman and want comfort, get a Chitenje!