1). Hanging out with the most respectful, cutest children. Not only do they love to read quietly and take selfies with the PCV when he/she has recently showered, but language is not an issue because the children were schooled in Blantyre.
2). Relishing in the luxury of a European expat’s house, which happens to be a convenient five kilometers from the PVC’s house. On the menu: toasted bruschetta, sliced cheese, and pimento-stuffed olives.
3). Successfully executing their projects with highly motivated and concerned community members. These project leaders never show up late (in fact they arrive 15 minutes early) and will certainly be continuing the project for years to come. They have even started a Facebook page.
4). Walking beneath a grove of eucalyptus trees with the wind at their back. Looking up at the mighty, swaying trees. Smiling. Ahhhh, Malawi.
5). Whipping up a delicious Thai-inspired dish over the fire that is full of fresh mango, pineapple, cilantro, and a plethora of obscure spices. Mmmm, it has the perfect amount of heat.
6). Getting lost on a cRaZy adventure to Lake Malawi with their bff during which they meet, among other kind souls, a feisty agogo who used to live in the PCV’s village. After forming a lifetime bond with the woman, the PCV and their bff end up finding the cutest hostel on the beach. The dogs there are the best!!
7). Skillfully painting inspiring quotes all over their walls. Taking a step back and smiling. Now they can do anything.
8). Swinging joyfully in their hammock. Just. Swinging.
9). Finding THE BEST mandasi lady in all of Malawi. Damn, her mandasis are delicious. Crisp on the outside, but fluffy and cloud-like on the inside. The PCV arranges to have her deliver them biweekly, because they can.
10). Lying in bed with their Peace Corps boyfriend/girlfriend, talking about their dreams for the future while their partner gently traces their fingernails up and down their back. It’s 120 degrees but no, they’re not sweating. Just existing in love.
11). Fitting in. Most people don’t even notice that an azungu lives in their village.
12). Laughing so hard at their neighbor’s joke that nsmia squirts out of their nose. Oh my god, that abambo is funny! He made the joke in Chiyao, but the PCV has no trouble understanding. The PCV loves Malawian humor. LOL.
13). Waking up to the gentle murmur of children playing and chickens clucking in the distance. The PCV yawns, opens their eyes, and smiles. Another beautiful day in Malawi.
14). Playing a little pickup soccer with the neighbor kids. And schooling them!
15). Going for a “joy ride” on their bike. They happen to take a water break near a member of Parliament’s house, who comes outside to speak to the them. Turns out that last year, he visited the same US city that they PCV is from! He tells the PCV that he travels to Mzuzu every week, if they ever want a free ride.
16). Enjoying a clear complexion. The PCV simply washes their face with cool water each morning, which is not only cleansing, but meditative.
Pictured above: those cute kids that other PCVs can’t get enough of
EDIT: Because 3/3 of my family members texted me within fifteen minutes of posting this to see if I was alright… this post is merely satirical, poking fun at the way that Peace Corps volunteers (myself included) often make attempts to present their PC life in the best possible way. Cheers.