Sunday, November 25, 2007

Malawi Update No. 3

i am sitting in my favorite little internet cafe in downtown blantyre. let me start by saying that the language is not chichew. that was a typo. it is chichewa. i'm learning the language slowly and loving it.

also, to those of you (family and close friends) who expressed an interest in sending a package to me, please explore another postal carrier, besides DHL. It costs $35 just to send a sheet of paper from here to the states using DHL. also, if it ends up being too expensive to send anything, just enjoy the m & m's that you bought for me while responding to my emails. maybe the chocolate will reach me through the internet...

i've only got 16 minutes before the cafe closes, so let me just say happy thanksgiving to all of you. i missed you and your cooking. i was all set for being terribly homesick on the 22nd, but then i realized that i was going to be with 25 field officers participating in a 'soya training.' they were divided into teams of 5, and each team was responsible for 5 different recipes which incorporated soy. so i got to work with all of the teams, helping to hand out ingredients and to prep different items for different dishes. it was from 9 in the morning until 5 at night. which is 7 hours ahead of you east-coasters and 10 hours ahead of all of you in California. the day was full of laughter and celebration, as each team worked over open fires. they set up three big bricks, facing each other like third dividers in a pie chart, and in the middle, they lit small fires with the ends of slow burning wood. then they put the pots on top of the center of the bricks--and cooked. they baked bread, made crackers, made sweet potato baby food, made soya chunk stew, and spicy minced soy carrot curry. it was amazing to watch them all working these recipes as a team. and to be a part of it on the very first holiday i missed while being away from home felt like an absolute miracle. after all the cooking was complete, each of the participating teams had to taste the dishes one at a time and rate the appearance, texture and taste of each. most of everything was off the charts good, but there was one dish in particular that looked partially digested, and myself and a field officer named Martha literally couldn't stop laughing as we looked at it sitting there on our plates.

i'll be getting a cell phone this week. i'll send out the number next weekend. it will be free for me to accept calls, so again, family, and close friends, go buy those Africa calling cards.

it looked as though i'd be online more often during the week, but once a weekend is the only sure thing for now.

please respond. your words fill me with what i need to be sustained here...

to those of you who responded this week. thank-you! thank-you! thank-you!

i miss you and love you!

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