Meat, Maps, and Music

Meat, Maps, and Music

Arriving in chilimani felt like being welcomed home after a long trip- lots of hugs, laughs, and stories shared over good food. There is only one major difference – there is much more singing and dancing. We started the day by picking up some supplies for a big community lunch. When we arrived in the community, the team was immediately hustled into the cooking area to help prepare the food. I walked behind the home to see Ashley and Becca holding freshly butchered goat leg over a bowl as Vi, our interpreter, cut the meat from the bone. Let me tell you guys, raw goat meat being cut from your hand feels weird. We then helped sift flower (I tried and was immediately told “no” and shown how to properly do it… I still couldn’t… it is much harder than it sounds … Becca was a pro, though).

After preparing food, we then sat down with a large portion of the community to start our first activity of the day. Our goal was to have the community work together to draw us a map of Chilimani including every household, and important feature in the community. The community members drew this map in the ground with a stick, using rocks, ashes, and different leaves to represent houses, borehole wells, mosques and streams. People were buzzing around trying to place over 150 households in the correct location on this map, as we all quickly tried to transcribe the map onto our small note pads. Let me tell you – I would never be able to may out the closest 150+ household near me. This was an amazing opportunity to learn about the community of Chilimani, and spend time with the community members.

I think it sounds like the theme of the afternoon revolved around dancing with small children. We split up into two teams, one working on starting resistivity testing, to try to determine the best location to drill a well, and the other working on collecting information on a bridge in the community. Wherever you walk, a posse of kids always follows you. Like most kids, they are always up for dancing and playing games. Today we learned lots of new songs and even shared some moves of our own – aka the cotton eye’d joe and the notorious “dab” (slightly ashamed to teach them this but it is also amazing). When both teams met at the end of the day we shared lots of stories and pictures of us dancing ( or trying to… we mostly just flail our limbs while the children show us what real dancing looks like).

I am beyond excited to see our partnership with Chilimani continue to flourish as we learn more about this community. It is amaxing that within just two days you can build so many friendships and a lifetime worth of memories with a community. I cannot wait to see what the rest of the time in the Sakata region hold for us (hopefully more dancing and goat).

Well, it’s goodbye for now but not for long!

Tionana Mawa (See you tomorrow),


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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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