Day 1: It's Good to Be Back in Malawi

I’m sitting in our sweet little rented home having just finished a breakfast of fresh-from-the-hen eggs, garden tomatoes and bread with peanut butter and jelly.  Phoebe, our host here, came early to cook the eggs and set the table.  We look out on a rose garden with paths of broken tile pieces winding past a succulent garden and the chickens.

The lovely garden near our little house.

The lovely garden near our little house.

We arrived mid-day on April 6, made our way through customs and met up with the group from Bridges to Malawi – an organization that does medical work in here.  Every year, they bring a group of high school students who are interested in medicine to experience life in this country.  Dr. Brian Lisse, the leader of the group and the man who brought me here three years ago, does a lot of other projects too.  He is interested agriculture, wind energy, eradicating malaria and a lot more.  It is an honor to be around him.

Olipa greeted us at the airport.

Olipa greeted us at the airport.

After settling into this house, Olipa, our driver/translator and now, dear friend, took us to the crafts market to stock up on merchandise for sale at MoonBees.  The baskets, earrings and crafts that we sell help us to finance the production of MoonCatcher Kits – at home and abroad.

It is always and experience to buy from the artisans here.  They descend on me quickly, asking questions and telling me about their goods and their families – with everyone talking at once.  The prices change as we discuss last year’s costs and they begin to understand that I won’t pay the initial asking price.  I’m not fond of haggling and hate feeling that I have to be on my guard but that is how it works here.  I just keep thinking about the money we can raise by selling these lovely crafts and how that money will help girls in Malawi.

Charlotte and one of the vendors at the craft market.

Charlotte and one of the vendors at the craft market.

I ended the day at a pretty little restaurant with my traveling companions, Lon and Helen from the Glenville and Niskayuna Rotary Clubs, and Charlotte, who has been helping at MoonBees for years.  They had their first taste of Malawian food as we listened to live music and enjoyed the warm evening air.

It is so nice to be back – to see the beautiful yellow flowering trees and to smell the smells of Africa.