Leaving the Warm Heart of Africa

Leaving the Warm Heart of Africa

After many long days and doing everything we had hoped to do to the best of our ability, we decided to make today, Saturday, our day off. We left early this morning to visit Lake Malawi, first stopping at Hippo View Lodge to drink Malawian coffee. We saw a bunch of birds, a cat or two, a frog, and hippos, which dipped above and below the surface of the water! Apparently later in the day they usually get out of the water onto solid ground, so that would have been cool to see. I love cats, so seeing a cat give itself a bath near the water, and then seeing a cat trying to catch fish made me so happy! It was interesting to see more of Malawi, to see more communities and get more opportunities to experience and try to understand Malawian life and culture.

 

On the way, we passed over many dry riverbeds, which apparently flood when there is a lot of rain. The dichotomy of the dry season and rainy season, made worse by the increasing unpredictability of the climate, makes me sad and leads me to further appreciate how heavily so many communities here rely on boreholes for drinking water. I grew up in in the humid, rainy, and snowy state of New Jersey, and so seeing such dry riverbeds was devastating. I tried to focus on the thriving towns and friendliness of Malawian passersby as we went through Liwonde to Lake Malawi, stopping briefly at a resort to look around at all the different plants and animals. We spent the rest of our time at a lake resort owned by Joe’s sister and her husband. Joe’s brother-in-law and the staff were very friendly and hospitable. The lake was beautiful, the same shade of blue as the sky. We had lunch, relaxed, and played with a Frisbee. A few kind staff members even brought over some coconuts, cut them open with a machete, and let us drink the water inside them, which was delicious! We got a small glimpse of a huge and important lake, but what a glimpse it was!

 

On our way back, we stopped at a market in Liwonde, which was very stressful for me as a number of sellers immediately converged around us and wouldn’t let us look at a competitor’s products for more than a second without pushing us to look at their own. It takes a certain attitude that I have not yet developed to really drive a hard bargain with sellers, but it would be something to get used to, I think.

 

Tomorrow we plan to pack up and head to Blantyre to make sure we will be ready for our flight out from Blantyre on Monday. We plan to pick up items for our Engineers Without Borders Benefit Dinner, as well as personal souvenirs. This trip has been interesting, challenging, exhausting, and exciting. Those four words seem meaningless and trite when I consider how much I experienced and learned over the past two weeks. I really appreciate the opportunity to come to Malawi, and hope that our boreholes in Mphero will give abundant water throughout the year for many years to come! This is a hope that we will try our best to make a reality, as we continue to partner with Mphero in this project while we reach out to the other four villages in our program.

 

Zikomo!

Rachel

 

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Malawi Project
Malawi Project
The Malawi Project Team is currently partnered with the community of Mphero in Malawi, and is investigating how The Engineers Without Borders, University of Delaware Chapter, can best aid the community.
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