Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Merry Christmas Everyone!

I hope everyone is enjoying the holidays! Although everyone is missing friends and family, we have learned so much about the community and the culture that we are going to take home.

Making our way through Kumponda on Christmas Eve we saw families carrying chickens, getting flour for nsima, and preparing for other Christmas activities. After talking with Daniel we learned that Christmas is about putting on nice clothes, dancing, eating, and drinking with friends and family. Families work hard to prepare the best meals of the year and do many things to make them happy. Luckily for us the Zuwanya community was nice enough to take a minute out of their preparations to let us survey their community. We started off the day with a meeting with the chief of Zuwanya where he told us about some of the different problems within their community. Some of the main things they mentioned were during the rainy season the river that surrounds their community rises significantly to the point where they are unable to cross, children can't go to school and community members can't get to the market. Another thing the Zuwanya community struggled with was the lack of fertilizer. Due to the high levels of maize being grown, the soil is unable to recover and replace nutrients making it harder each year for maize to grow. Along with these problems there was also an issue with distance to the nearest hospital. While surveying the community we talked to one elderly man who said he walked to the the hospital once a month for asthma medication, which takes about 2 hours each way. When we finished surveying the community many of the problems were the same but there were many others such as illnesses and hunger.

After all of our surveying was complete we headed over to our favorite grocery store for some food for the rest of the week and some lunch. When we headed back home we decided to take it easy after we surveyed in the crazy hot weather, or as Matt would describe it, "the surface of the sun." It didn't really feel like Christmas due to the weather so we put on Elf to get in the holiday spirit.

Christmas morning was hotter than ever, with every door open and three fans blowing it still felt like a sauna inside the house. Although we weren't able to do gifts instead of a traditional gift exchange Alice suggested we write each other haiku's.

One of Matt's

The sun is too hot
Maybe one day I will tan
Hippos never change

Munir's to me

You beat me at cards
You beat me at everything
God dang it, I suck

Another from Munir

How was I picked for travel
Seriously,  how?

One from Arash

Malawi Christmas
Not at home but with new friends
Time for lazy day

From Arash to Alice

I want hot coffee
Shuffling cards is very hard
At least I still win

From Alice to Matt

Ginger is so bad
Like the fiery sun
What is happening

From Alice to Munir

Saving Malawi
And trying to shoot the moon

And another

A tragic ending
Munir loses his right leg
Damn you small sedan

(Fitting six into a tiny car can be difficult)

Mine to Alice

When you wave, kids cry
You can tie a chitenje
You're good at poker

After haiku's we watched Burn After Reading and played some cards where Matt and Munir got this strange idea that if they teamed up they might be able to shoot the moon in hearts, however their idea did not go as planned.

Earlier in the year we had met with a nutrition professor at Cal Poly, Dr. Papathakis. Having traveled to Malawi before working with a program called Project Peanut Butter, professor Papathakis was able to give us a lot of information on Malawi and before we left set us up with a previous student of hers, Sami,  who is living in Malawi for the next few months. Tonight we finally met up with Sami and we all went to dinner at a delicious Indian Restaurant in Blantyre. Sharing the day with new friends and lots of fun.

Sorry I don't have any pictures in this one! Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas,



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