So much has happened in the last few days that has prevented me from writing this blog. Let me try to recap.
We spent Wednesday morning working with teachers in areas surrounding Mtunthama. There were about twenty-five of them that had come to hear about The MoonCatcher Project and talk with us about the plight of girls in Malawi. It was an interesting conversation and I was able to ask for help in teaching the curriculum and talking openly about menstruation.
We left for Lilongwe soon after meeting with the teachers. What would normally be a two-hour trip took four and a half hours. We rode the local mini bus driven by a man who drove back and forth along the roads looking for passengers to fill or perhaps I should say “over fill” his vehicle. It seemed he stopped every two feet to pick up or drop off someone, put gasoline in the car (from a large plastic bottle), talk to his friends or get stopped by the police. We couldn’t believe it and started to laugh every time one of these things happened. It was crowded, dirty and loud. It was quite an experience, but I may not feel the need to repeat it.
By the time we reached town there was about a half an hour of shopping time left since all the fabric and sewing supply shops close at 5:00.
In Lilongwe that first day, we found African fabric but that’s as much as we were able to accomplish. We decided to go talk with Emily, the woman who would take us to our Northern destination of Chituka Village, about our time schedule the following day. During the conversation we discovered that Emily expected to take a road to Chituka that did not go near Kusungu which is where all the supplies for Chituka were packed and ready for us to pick up. Because of this our sweet driver, Mary’s longtime friend, Yvonne, and her boyfriend took Mary and me all the way back to Mtunthama to collect those supplies in the middle of the night. God bless these kind souls.
We got back to Mary’s house at 2:00 am, slept and were ready to try shopping again by 7:00 am. I laugh about this now, but it seemed impossible to find out that we had a flat tire and needed to deal with that before we could get into town. Somewhere around 10:30 am this problem was solved and once again we were pressed for time to get everything accomplished. Emily expected us at 12:00 noon to leave for Chituka.
We squealed into Emily’s driveway forty minutes late. It was pouring rain and we hadn’t really finished buying what we needed. Oh well! Our MoonCatcher mantra, “Go with the flow”, has been repeated over and over by all of us. We had decided to make do somehow, when the whole schedule changed again. Welcome to Africa time! We ended up leaving the next day, were able to go back to collect more of the items on our shopping list and go out for a nice dinner (with wine) courtesy of my husband who had given me some money for my birthday to spend doing something special here. We took Yvonne with us and really did relax and enjoy ourselves. Four friends laughing about our adventures.
These days I have slept like a rock and have woken to the sound of Lake Malawi. These are ocean sounds from an enormous lake. It’s lovely!
Yesterday in Chituka we were greeted by song and dance. Twenty-seven women had assembled to learn how to make our kit. We talked about and demonstrated how to wear our pad. We cut waterproof fabric and when it became too dark to see we said goodbye until tomorrow.