My PCV life in gifs #2

 

When I hear new American music in my village:

tumblr_o2udqqrXW21v90oi8o1_400

 

When I hear something behind me and realize it’s a stalker child:

tumblr_n56uwiSue01rrx588o1_250

 

 

When I don’t understand something in Chichewa so three Malwians shout it twice as fast:

tumblr_n4nuih26K61s8ybr9o1_500

 

When the bars continue to play music after my 8:00 bedtime:

tumblr_niiu4puoA41tq4of6o1_250

 

When I hear someone speaking English:

tumblr_inline_mwvnc6zZmL1rfjcg0

 

When I see the drunk man that proposed to me last week:

tumblr_nges11JnOT1sial0xo1_500

 

 

My motivation level during hot season:

 

tumblr_inline_mvpb48lhJH1rfjcg0.gif

 

When I say anything at all in Chichewa, even just hello:

tumblr_nhmorwNeYm1qh59n0o1_500

When the children come running towards me:

tumblr_mwh3trt4ey1s5gdr6o1_500.gif

 

When I see an termite mound forming on my wall:

tumblr_inline_mvpbci4mDZ1rfjcg0

 

When I think about my diet these days:

tumblr_inline_mxfuhqOLOb1rfjcg0

 

Follow this link to see more PCV gifs!

FOOD

Between gathering ingredients, prepping meals, starting a fire, doing dishes, and actually cooking, dealing with food compromises a significant part of my day. In order to share with you what a typical volunteer might eat, I’ve collected all of the food pictures I’ve taken over the past year. They’re unflattering, unfiltered and a good portrait of reality. Enjoy!

 

IMG_20150309_064334527
Lunch at a lodge- fancy!
IMG_20150323_193059229_HDR
Expensive snackin’
IMG_20150510_081251599
PCV staple food: rice
IMG_20150511_181240135
Cooking soya pieces with tomatoes over a three-stone set up
IMG_20150328_121440997
Cooking demo during training with soymilk, chicken, sweet potatoes, peanut butter and some other mysteries
IMG_20150417_130154960
Lunch at my supervisor’s house: sausage, cabbage salad, and rice
IMG_20150512_165802598_HDR
When you can’t have salads, you have cabbage, tomatoes, oil and salt.
IMG_20150522_084804771_HDR
French toast with a special treat from home- NH maple syrup!
IMG_20150524_082330594
Bacon! A treat at an expat’s house we stayed at
IMG_20160201_145319157
Lunch with my counterpart and his family: nsima, termites, and pork
IMG_20160126_192853956
Fancy food for Rajah!
IMG_20160122_185047825
Makin’ guac at a “resiliency weekend” with friends
IMG_20160103_143226405
Eating spaghetti with my village friends
IMG_20151225_200416583
Christmas dinner cooked with friends: guinea fowl, rice, eggplant and green beans
IMG_20151221_195210205
Fish tacos and green beans. Notice the creative use of non-plates as plates. The less dishes, the better.
IMG_20151126_204421
Vegetarian thanksgiving dinner at an eco-lodge
IMG_20150812_153730710_HDR
Cooking papaya juice/wine
IMG_20150704_193516949
Cake plus chocolate sauce = great success
IMG_20150526_122320179
Fried eggplant
IMG_20150510_075151079
Pumpkin season
IMG_20160220_113349766_HDR
A “Wonderful Waffle” in the capital!
IMG_20160414_174237552
Trying to make a muffin in a tin can
IMG_20160408_171710203
Grilled, local veggies
IMG_20160403_173200240
Fresh corn season is the best season.
IMG_20160403_122415615
Bagel making
IMG_20160630_175225292
Cabbage wraps stuffed with soya pieces and tomatoes
IMG_20160629_195157323
Cinnamon buns!
IMG_20160429_133803596
Cooking nsima at a funeral 
IMG_20160709_180335287
Sweet potatoes, groundnut flour and milk, delish
IMG_20160701_164120551_HDR
A cheese-less quiche with local greens and tomatoes
IMG_20160511_083132327
A typical Malawian lodge breakfast
IMG_20160712_115111803_HDR
Pork, chives, onions, rice, and my dirty toes
IMG_20160717_174103478
Local greens, sweet potatoes and groundnut flour

5 Things I Love About Malawians

1). “Sorry, sorry, sorry.” Unlike Americans who might snicker at the site of their friends tripping over something or stay silent when they see a stranger stumble, Malawians are ingratiatingly apologetic. Anytime you lose your footing, drop something you’re carrying or publicly perform any other embarrassment, a Malawian will apologize to you. Sorry, sorry, sorry! (That I’m so clumsy?) I’m not sure what they are apologizing for, but it’s certainly comforting.

2&3). Meal time teamwork. The first thing I love about meal times is the ritual of washing hands. Anywhere you dine, (whether it be in a restaurant, on the porch of a friend’s house, around the table a wealthy neighbor’s house, etc.), you will find a pitcher of water set next to the meal. Prior to digging in, the host will gently pour water over your hands as you scrub them. Then as the process is reversed, it becomes your duty to pour as your host washes. This custom can be observed throughout all of Malawi before and after every meal. It’s simple, yet charmingly pleasant. (And also ensures that everyone who is sharing the same pile of nsima has washed!)

My second favorite, perhaps more barbaric-seeming custom is the act of helping your fellow diner to rip apart a chunk of meat. Because Malawians only eat with one hand (and no utensils) it can be quite arduous to pull meat off a chicken bone or to separate a large, fatty piece of goat. Therefore, when you need help tackling an unruly portion, you simply call on your neighbor to grab one half of the hunk while you yank on the other side. Slippery, sloppy, and social. Team work makes the dream work.

4). Amayi noises. Just as we have certain noises in the US to express disgust, surprise, disapproval, and happiness, etc., Malawians do too. Although their noises are better. And always perfectly in sync. (How do they do it??) For example, when someone cracks a joke, all amayis within a 20 meter radius will make a “wohhh….. WEEEE!” call at the same exact time. Similarly, when I’m biking in an area far from my home village and pass a group of women, I can hear the mothers harmonize an “uttt ahhhh” sound, wordlessly commenting on the fact that a white woman just biked by. The noises are theatrical and predictable, but I’ve come to love them. And incorporate them into my own speech…

5). Personal style.
I’ve seen men wearing sequined tank tops, women inadvertently sporting t-shirts with terribly rude slogans strewn across them, children in windbreakers from the 80’s, and agogos (grandmothers) wearing Miley Cyrus sweatshirts. Here in Malawi, no fashion seems to be off-limits. The more gaudy, the better. Some days, I patch together the strangest combination of clothing I can muster, just to see if anyone will comment. No one ever has. I love that I can wear pants that aren’t really the correct length, or showcase a huge bow in my hair that I would feel to self-conscious to wear back home. As long as your clothes are clean, you can “feel so free” to wear whatever the hell you want, and I love this.

image

A stylish Malawian showing off his style (Photo by my friend Amber)