Day 2: Shopping and More Shopping

It was warm and sunny today. Like one of those hot, hot, hot summer days that actually feels good after the cold winter. I’m always surprised that all you have to do here is step into the shade and you feel cool and refreshed. I’ve read many books that take place in Africa and they always mention this. I can tell you that it’s absolutely true and I love it. Is it like that at home? I can’t remember.

Our Rotarian friends, Lon and Dave, left for a dairy farm where Rotary International is working to expand and update an existing  project. It’s dark now and they have yet to return but I’m thinking they probably are having a great time as they were incredibly excited about this venture.

It’s been a productive day for us. After three years of coming here I finally feel like I have a sense of how to get the supplies we need to make MoonCatcher kits. Our dear friend Mary who helped us last year was able to direct her sister-in-law, Olipa, to every shop needed and the ones that didn’t have what we wanted directed us to new venues. We started at about 9:30 and were mostly finished by 2:00. 

Choosing fabric for the drawstring bags.

Choosing fabric for the drawstring bags.

In the middle of our shopping spree I ran out of converted money and asked Olipa if she would help us get more. We drove to a fairly busy parking lot and sat there until Gideon, a hefty and cheerful man slid into Olipa’s seat next to me and conducted business. We were given large piles of Kwacha that needed counting and it took all of us to get it right. We carefully counted with our hands well below the windows and moved the bills back and forth between the seats to each other. There is nothing unusual about this in Malawi but for me it always feels like what I imagine drug deals must be like. 

Charlotte was in the back seat trying to discourage art dealers from offering to sell her more paintings. She figures the two she brought yesterday are enough and she’s getting pretty good at firmly saying no and closing the window.

Fleece fabric for MoonCatcher pads.

Fleece fabric for MoonCatcher pads.

We had lunch at a little cafe that served yummy cheese and tomato sandwiches with perfect avocado. We went over our purchases to make sure everything had been entered in the “blue book” just the way Linda likes it to make it as easy as possible to do the book keeping.

“The Blue Book” goes everywhere with me so that I can carefully keep track of our expenses.

“The Blue Book” goes everywhere with me so that I can carefully keep track of our expenses.

We’ve bought enough materials for kits in both Chituka and Mtunthama. The car is bulging at the seams, but we made it all fit with room left over for five passengers. Tomorrow we head to Mtunthama.  I’ll get to see the MoonCatcher tailors there and get caught up on their lives. Next will be Chituka where we are planning to establish a second sewing cooperative in Malawi.

Charlotte and Olipa packing up for our trip tomorrow.

Charlotte and Olipa packing up for our trip tomorrow.

Ready to go!

Ready to go!

Off to take a shower and relax for the evening.