Sunburn, wild hair, a missing cat, bikes & pick up trucks.
In news other than teaching, a couple of weeks ago we moved into what will be out house for the next 6 months. It's basic. There's 3 rooms, one with out beds in it, one with our cooking stuff and a table in it, and one which we're using to keep the cat in at the moment. The walls are while but the paint is very chipped and there's too many lizards, termites and spiders to count. I really don't mind though, it's a completely different way of life and we're getting used to it.
We've been cooking on a charcoal burner… When I say we I mean me, Jess and all the neighbours from next door who come and help us every night because we're useless at it! We've got to know them really well. They're a lovely family and are really helpful. They've been teaching us the ways to cook Malawian food - Maize (Nsima in Chichewa) which is what they eat twice a day. To cook it you add maize flour to boiling water and stir, which sounds a lot easier than it actually is! Normally we eat it with a mixture of cooked beans, tomatoes and onions which tastes good… But I wouldn't want to eat it twice a day like they do!
The weekend from Saturday 19th - Sunday 20th we went away for the night to a backpackers lodge in Senga Bay, Salima, which was a good break; We had a hot shower, some food that wasn't rice/pasta/maize and we managed to do all out lesson plans in peace!
We had a really funny journey back from Salima; The mini bus which we were originally on broke down 5 minutes into the journey, so we ended up driving the 4 hours back to Nkhotakota on the back of a truck with half a dozen goats and a woman who had just given birth and needed to get to the hospital… And even though she's just given birth and was in agony, the driver still stopped to pick up other passengers! It was very entertaining. And actually much more comfortable than buses here!
Just before we went away we bought a kitten (named Ziggy) hoping she would eat the insects in our house, but while we were away she went missing. We left her in an enclosed room with no way out so that she would learn it was her house. We came back from Salima the following day to find a hole in our window and Ziggy gone. So someone broke the window, took the cat, and left everything else. Luckily we managed to find another kitten, who is actually a lot nicer than the first one and doesn't hiss as much. However she's very noisy and is beginning to drive us mad. She's called Ziggy 2!
Other than that we've spent a lot of time in the town doing our food shopping, we've been for walks and visited the lake. We also found an inn which serves good English food and cheesecake, so we've been there a couple of times to do our lesson plans and eat good food! Only problem is that the first time I went I forgot to put sun cream on. It didn't seem sunny so I thought I'd be fine sitting outside for half an hour…Apparently not. I forgot that the malaria tablets make you more sensitive to the sun, so I got incredibly sunburnt!
The main transport used to travel short distances here is bikes. You sit on the back of a bike and pay the bike riders to cycle you to wherever you're trying to get to… This is hard to do in a skirt, especially when you have lots of shopping to carry! I also fell off one for the first time last week! It was pouring down so we decided to get the bikes back from town. About 50 bikers were all stood under shelter from the rain but as soon as we asked for a bike back they all jumped up. Out of the 50 bikers, naturally, I managed to choose the on who was drunk, inexperienced and whose bike's seat was falling off… I only discovered this when we went around the corner and crashed. All the other bikers found it hilarious - apparently they knew he didn't know how to ride the bike, a warning would have been nice! I just sat on the floor, completely drenched, laughing away to myself for a good 5 minutes. It was funny but I had bruises the next morning!
I have been trying to master the whole carrying buckets of water on your head thing, but its a lot more difficult than it looks! Yesterday I split pretty much the whole bucket over me on the way back from the bore hole.. And then a little 8 year old girl went and got me some with no problem whatsoever.. I'm determined to be able to do it by the time I get home though, I'll be carrying buckets of water around on my head when I'm back in England!