Molly in Africa

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Elections, my "Backyard" and a fun visit!

Last week (Tuesday, 19 May), Malawi had national elections!  They have these every five years and they choose a new president along with new MPs (Members of Parliament).  The elections went fairly smoothly from everything I've heard.  The president here was re-elected, which everyone I know supported, and people seem to be fairly happy and hopeful with the change in MPs.  It was fun to have the chance to ask people a lot more questions about how the government works here and I spent the days leading up to the election learning a lot from different people around me here.

My "Backyard":
Because of elections and a bunch of staff were graduating, we didn't have school last week.  I spent the week doing random things around the house- mostly being lazy and bored.  Half way through the week, I tried to use my time a bit better.  
-- On Wednesday, I spent 3.5 hours working in our Perma-culture garden which is our backyard.  I don't think I've written much about the garden on this blog, but it's pretty incredible.  When we arrived, we just had a sandy backyard and now we have a beautiful (although most of it is turning brown now) garden!  Matt has been working with two Malawians (Dennis and Kenneth) to start up this garden that is primarily watered with our house's gray water.  That means that our showers water banana trees, orange trees, lemon grass, etc.; our kitchen sink waters an area that has banana trees, snake plants (preventing snakes, not attracting them), passion fruit vines, etc; our bathroom sinks are now watering some greens and that's where the watermelons are as well.  In the first year of the garden, it produced cucumbers, maize, greens, watermelons, pumpkins, lemon grass, a few ground nuts, beautiful sunflowers and our first bananas are showing on our trees now!!!  It's a really neat concept and great way to utilize our used water.
-- On Friday morning, I went on a 2 hour walk in our larger backyard.  Beyond our property in the back, there are scattered houses among lots of little hills and then there is a decent sized ridge that marks the boundary of how far we can see.  I decided to try to walk towards it.  I left about two hours later than I planned so I didn't end up having enough time to reach the top of the ridge before I had to turn back to be home in time for lunch.  Now that I know the path I'm excited to go back.  It was a great walk though- up and down the hills, walking past crops and a few houses, greeting people along the way.  On my walk back, I started to sing as I walk.  I've been missing singing a lot lately but I just don't feel comfortable singing around people most times here.  Well, on my back, I came upon a few different women as they were walking with large bundles/buckets on their heads.  Singing is such a common thing here that I would stop to greet them, but then (instead of waiting until they were out of ear shot) I would start back up again.  It was very freeing. :)

Fun Visit:
Matt and I went to visit one of our Peace Corps friends, Mark, down at his house about 30 km south of us.  Mark visits our house all the time but none of us have ever gone to his and it was awesome!  His house was great- simple, but comfortable.  Mark cooks all his meals over the fire he makes in the little brick building behind his house (his kitchen).  He doesn't have running water or electricity, so he pays someone to get one big bucket of water each day from the bore hole just across the main road from his house and he uses candles or his headlamp after 6 when it's dark.  While I am sure he gets frustrated sometimes without having all the amenities that we enjoy at our house, he doesn't complain and honestly, I'm jealous.  I definitely have realized how actually doing the work gives you a better appreciation for it and also the whole process of "figuring it out" can be really fun.  That concept is something we're trying to push for a bit more at our house... we'll see how that goes!

That's all for now... thanks for all of you who still read this!  And thanks for those who send emails!  I'm sorry that I haven't been good at keeping in touch but I do love to hear from all of you!


At 8:20 PM, May 27, 2009, Blogger DHeineman said...

"Snake Plants" that don't attract snakes seems like a bit of a misnomer.

At 3:04 PM, May 31, 2009, Blogger Kathryn said...

It's funny that you mention trying to get a simpler life at your house. I'm hoping that I can when I move into my community too. As of right now they don't really split groceries and don't seem very concious of electricity... I feel like a lot gets wasted so I'm going to try to eleviate some of it :) Miss you Mols. Glad to see you posting more!!


Post a Comment

<< Home