Sunday, October 30, 2011


I just had another person ask if I could help pay for school fees for their children.  I know the solution is not to just give hand outs... as people would say, "it breeds a culture of dependancy."  but, sometimes I also wonder, as it was recently mentioned to me, if that is just an excuse for not helping.

it feels awful not to help.
but it feels awful to just just give out money.

how?  how do I help? what is the answer here?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A little homesick

For the first time since being in Malawi, I have felt the pangs of homesickness.  And, it sucks.  homesickness just makes you feel sad, even if you are so happy with where you are.  I think it is due to a few factors:

  1. sean visited, and he went home last monday morning.  and, I miss him. 
  2. despite the fact that i am enjoying not cooking for myself, i am missing things like Big Ass Salads. and grapefruit. and smoothies.  and greek yogurt.  and things that are not deep fried.
  3. i am feeling like i am getting a rice gut.  and, i am getting some exercise (running 3x a week, swim 1x a week, and am starting to do yoga on the other days), but, it is just not the same.  I really really miss my bike.  riding on the back of a bicycle taxi is just not the same.
  4. i struggle with the balance of wanting people contact, but not wanting to spend all my time with ex-pats, and also not having found solid malawian friends yet.  i miss my friends.  
  5. my school work has been on a stall recently.  and, it is about to pick up again, but, this 'transition time' has been slow, and actually somewhat annoying, because i have been bored.
  6. it is REALLY hot here right now, which makes it difficult to sleep. and function.
I have just over 7 weeks left here in Malawi.  and, it is a two sided coin.  I miss home, and I will be very happy and ready to go and see the people i love. 

but, as the boy experienced when he was here, I will be exceptionally sad to leave.  There was one point when we were lying on our mattresses on the Ilala ferry, and i just started crying a bit, because i love being here so much, and it saddens me to have to leave.  ANDDDD..... just as a note, you can check out my roweramo's photostream on Flickr.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Malawi through someone else's eyes

This morning, I went out to the Chikela airport outside of Blantyre to drop off my beloved, after having him in Malawi for about 12 days.  It was so amazing to have him here... and, now, it is time to get back to "work."  Albeit, "work" here in Malawi seems so much different from work back in Montreal.

After the 9 day holiday and a few days in Blantyre that we had together, there is lots to report on about the amazing things that we saw and experienced and people we met.  Like traveling to Likoma island.  And seeing monkeys in Monkey bay.  And seeing hippos and elephants in Liwonde national park.  And seeing fantastic rural community initiative projects.  It was a refreshing (though, somewhat tiring) time.  So, wait for the upcoming posts on those items!

The boy i like was off this morning, to get back to "Real life." back to a place which is pretty much the furthest away possible from me on this earth.  back to a long distance relationship.  And, i can't wait to see him in December.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Island in the sky: Part 2

Ahhhh… so, those moments in time where all of a sudden, time stands still.  I am sitting on the top deck of the Ilala Ferry, somewhere on the southern part of Lake Malawi, with Mozambique to the starboard side, and Malawi to the port.  It is HOT out, and the boy I like love is sitting beside me. Life is good. 

So, I finally get to hit back on the second and third days of hiking the island in the sky, mt mulanje.  And, it seems like it was ages ago… but, still oh so good.  The second day of hiking was, physically, less challenging than the first day up boma trail.  We were heading from Libuhka hut, to Chisepo hut, which is at the base of Sawipta peak, the highest peak of Mulanje.  It was kinda cloudy, and definitely questionable as to if we would be able to succeed getting to the top of the mountain.  The distance between the two huts was approx 10km, and it took us about 4 hours.  We went down, and then up up up again.  But, just as the day before, the vistas and the scenary were stunning. We were pretty stoked that we had gotten hiking early (wake up: 5am… that’s just what you do when you go by the sun), so that we could make it to chisepo with lots of time left in the day to 1) eat a good lunch, and 2) attempt to summit.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

oh wow. did that just happen?

Wow oh wow oh wow oh wow.
Where do I start?  Well, maybe by saying that I do not want to not post about the 2nd and 3rd days of hiking mt mulanje.  They may not be as fresh in my head when I write about them, but, I am about to explode with the past couple days.
Last night, I came home, and I could not stop smiling.  In the morning, I had said it outloud: this week, I have hiked a mountain, helped deliver close to 10 babies, done school work (which also included some not-so-great news about the ethics approval from University of Malawi about my project… but, at least it is something which provides at least some direction.) and have gotten to meet the archbishop of Canterbury.
What the!??!? 

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Island in the Sky: Part 1

I love mountains.  there is just something about them that makes my heart happy, serene, and peaceful.  I love them anywhere... From the mighty Denali, to the rolling hills of West Virginia and Vermont, to the mountains in Petra, Jordan, to the close to home Rockies.  

There is just something about them that makes my heart happy.  oh right.  I already said that.

so, when I found out that Malawi has the highest peak in central Africa, south of those famous ones up in tanzania and kenya, and North of the Drakensberg's, I was thrilled.  Mount Mulanje  hits a maximum peak of 3002m (9850ft), which, for those of you who need reference points:  Blackcomb mountain is 1609m, Mt Edith Cavell 3363 m & Mt Robson is 3959m.   this "monadnock" is situated about 2hrs away (ish) (on minibus time) from Blantyre.  Long story short, I arranged with a new Australian friend of mine, that we would be able to hit up the mountain this past weekend.  I wanted to go now, since next weekend there is an exciting visitor to Blantyre (which I will not mention, until he arrives), then the two following weekends will be filled with a visit from the boy i love, and then it will be toying with the start of rainy season (well... maybe not.  they say november/decemberish for the rains).

but, at any rate, I didn't want to wait.  And, I am so happy I didn't. I will also be uploading over the next few days the better photos from the trip onto flickr.  Keep an eye there! 

The Glory of Mulanje.  

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A little teaser

It is 9:33 pm.  And, I am exhausted.  This weekend, I made it almost up to 3000m in altitude.  My effort was trumped by rain and hail, but it did include lots of moments like the two photos that follow.  More will be updated as I get less tired, but there are a few shots of the weekend adventure (with some description) on Flickr.  So, hopefully that will keep you content for now.  Until then, dream of the beauty that comes with being in the wilderness.  Dream about being on an "island in the sky," because I certainly will.