A quick note! Jenn (with two n’s) is Jennifer White and Jen (with one n) is Jennifer Tuttle, just to attempt to avoid confusion!
First we want to say sorry for the delay in the post. The struggle for internet connection in our townhouse was much more difficult than we had anticipated!
We started off the first leg with a three hour car ride, an hour long train ride and two quick trips on BART to get to SFO.
Just a quick ab workout on the BART
There, we gratefully dropped off our packs, but not before stopping to take a few pictures!
Just waiting to hear back from Osprey about our backpack modeling jobs
Tom is a much more efficient packer than the rest of us
On our way to Frankfurt, Germany, we were served endless airplane food, watched the same weird movie twice, and Jenn made a friend from Russia in her row in the seat removed from the rest of us.
When we arrived we decided to explore Frankfurt for a few hours in our layover. There I learned that Jen lovesss selfie sticks, Andrew can’t speak German, and that bratwursts are not always whiteish (except for the ones pictured here which we all liked the least).
After finally figuring out the train system and returning to our gate, we discovered that Frankfurt has the best airport ever! Just Dance is a must in every terminal.
There was music! We're not just weirdos! Circus by Brittney Spears to be specific.
We continued our journey on a ten hour flight to Johannesburg, South Africa.
When you’re so exhausted you can’t even make it through take off
And finally from there onto our last flight to Blantyre, Malawi!
Finally the last flight!
After finally arriving in Malawi we were very surprised by not only two missing phones, but also a missing Geoffrey!
Thankfully Daniel was there to greet us and we quickly headed to one of the only sources of wifi in Blantyre, Chez Maki.
Daniel says hi everyone!
After many calls and emails we were finally able to reach Geoffrey, our professional engineer, and realized he missed his flight due to a medical emergency.
Fortunately we were able to reach him through WhatsApp and he is doing alright and is still able to help us virtually on the design!
After all of this was sorted out, we were able to start the real adventure! While wandering around in Blantyre we stumbled across these kids playing a tiny version of pool! They were extremely excited for Andrew to take their picture and just as excited to show us how it was done in pool.
We continued the day gathering necessary things and getting acquainted to Malawi with Daniel. We were also introduced to his coworkers at AFES (Action for Environmental Sustainability) where they took the time to meet us and inform them of the projects they have been working on! Recently, the Blantyre office has been working on an irrigation project in Kamwendo, a sub community of the larger Kumponda community.
It was great to see the work they have put into the project and to get to speak with them! But we needed to head home to prepare for our meeting with the maize mill committee in Central Kumponda.
This morning was our first meeting with the committee! It was amazing to meet the people I have heard so much about and finally get to see the community!
We presented our design changes and explained why it was necessary for the differences from the previous implementation. They were extremely understanding and very excited to begin constructing on Monday!
They showed us some of their community gardens and allowed us to try and pump water from the water pump.
On our way out of the community was were amazed to see a man in this shirt.
We quickly stopped the mini bus and ran back to get this picture. (He didn’t want to show his face)
We then spent the rest of the day scoping out materials and places to get some parts machined for us!
We traveled with Ruth, our translator, and Hampton, our minibus driver, into a crowded marketplace where Hampton drove us down this crowded street, not once, but three times, honking the horn just about every ten seconds when someone was too slow to move off to the side.
Finally after making it through the bumpy roads (Minibuses can really run with the best of them when it comes to off-roading), Ruth stopped to buy us these weird cheeto-like puffs!
Tomorrow we will continue to shop for tools and materials, but can't wait to get back to the community and start working! Hopefully the weather stays as beautiful as it has been!
I hope everyone is doing well back home! We will be blogging much more regularly now so keep checking in!
Sydney (aka Not Jen(n))