Thursday, March 17, 2011

In the Interim

Since the bump in the road, which was my last update, I've returned home to the states. After having spent 4 days in the capital of Malawi, primarily talking about the "next steps" with my country director and the medical staff in-country, a decision was made to put efforts towards finding a lesser health risk country of service for me.  What goes into this process is more than just paperwork, time, and energy. There are also emotions for the friends and family who have supported me thus far that I am dealing with. So "in the interim" I felt warranted to update this blog and say that I am okay but for the sake of uncertainty on whether I'll be leaving again, I am also reserved in my attachments. I want to extend my sincerest thanks to anyone that has prayed for my safety, well being, and contributed to the direction in which I've gone. There have been endless new beginnings and faces along this journey, ones in which I wouldn't have ordinarily come across. For all of these things to God be the glory. I couldn't have done any of this alone.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Host Family and my 1st Bump In The Road

I just finished lunch and have been advised that I'll be going to Nkomeko. That is the village where I'll meet Mercy Edward, which appears that my host mom is a single parent. Quite honestly I feel like I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be. It's weird b/c I dont' have much communication with the world I left behind but last night I made an amazing connection with the world in which I'm living. My group conducted a talent show and as participation by our trainers, who are Malawian Locals, they sang us their national anthem. I had a tear in my eye b/c although I had no clue what they were saying, they sang it with great pride. It just hit me all at once that I'm really a foreigner and what is traditional and customary conduct for them is their "normal". I think from afar, living in America and ingesting too much T.V., that often times it's easy to criticize or wrinkle the brow about other lands but when you get there and experience it, I'm the weird one. In any event, in return we sang our national anthem for them and it was a great moment #CulturalExchange

After the events of the beginning of the evening, once pitch blackness had fallen upon us we all gathered at the Futbol field, turned out the flashlights & head lamps and looked at the most amazing night sky I had ever seen. It was like sitting in 3 planetariums at one time. I never saw anything like it. I saw the southern cross and conselations I had never dreamt of beholding with my one good eye :) To close out the evening we joined some of the locals for dancing #TheBestNightEver

I have reached my 1st Bump in The Road here in Malawi which has brought me to the capital (Lilongwe) where our PC Headquarters are. I don't have very many details b/c Washington, DC has not yet started their work day but by being here I have a medical hold in which I'm under. No I'm not sick at all so hopefully no one worries about sickness because I'm making it clear that I AM NOT SICK :)  But there has to be a discussion that would be in the best interest of a "worst case scenario" for the well being of my health where Malaria is concerned. Everyone here in Malawi is attentive to this detail and I hope to have more information either later today or tomorrow #PatientlyWaiting ...send prayers up for the kid, pretty please

Learning a New Language - 03-02-2011

  • Bantu Languages is the language of the people here in Malawi. I'm learning Chichewa to be specific.
  • I had my 1st cup of African coffee made by Nestle #Nice
  • I've gotten some more shots: Minigitis, Typhoid, Yellow Fever, Hep A & Hep B #I'mAChamp
  • I'm on Mefloquine (sp?) - gotta take it every Monday for the next two years and it has some serious side effects
  • "Think Globally, Act Locally" **a trainer told me this and it made me thin no matter where I am I must take action in order to give back. But while giving back whether abroad or even at home, treat it all as a local effort an be willing to grow and let grow :)
  • Estimated statistics for service rendered by volunteers in Malawi can help 360,000 anually; the sector of Health that I'm in helps 15,000 pregnant women and 15,000 individuals stricken with AIDs #GreatToBeAPartOfTheMovement
  • I've had my 1st allergic reaction but it wasn't from shell fish, probably the fresh picked mango or pineapples I ate. Matter of fact there is only fresh water fish here so I know a lot went into my placement to help with that little hiccup in my diet; I've taken something Benadryl-ish 2:20 p.m.
  • At 6p.m. my reaction is gone
  • My 1st PCV payment made me feel 3rd-World-Rich which is equivalent to "hood rich". I mean they've already given us everything we need to survive
My prayer: Thank you Lord for your traveling mercy and a chance to cary out your plan. I'm enjoying the education I'm being given and am grateful that you saw fit to use me at this magnitude. I lvoe you Lord and trust your will/plans for my life. Thank you for your faithfulness

  • 10:10 p.m. 1st bout of diarrhea here in the mother land and there we have it the side effects of my Malaria meds have kicked in #NotFun
  • I've learned/played 2 games since beng here: The Settlers of Catan an Banana Grahams (similar to scrabble) #TimePasserActivities
  • Tomorrow I go to Dezda to get toilet paper and a few items for my home stay. I'm a little nervous but look forward to it

Laundry Day Already - 03/01/2011

So here in Malawi we are minus the luxury of washing machines and other things used to produce a good stain removing wash cycle. So the hands it is :) (Pics will come later). I just washed smoe of my clothes in a bucket for the first time eer. I been getting up around 5:30 for the past 2 days. I took a 1 1/2 mile hike up a mountain area and was able to see the entire village of Dezda. I've not taken many pictures as I've liked but the camera is charging as we speak. I really wish they would provide me wih the ability to purchase stamps so I can release my thoughts and send letters. The expectation has been a little skewed as with any such program. WE've been treated well but the disconnect and ability to have MK (Malawian Currency called Kwacha) to purchase stamps...well let's just say still no african dough and my American money is no good. Enough of all that for now...

Mailing Facts
To mail a 10 gram letter it is 140MK
To mail a post card takes 95MK

Peace Corps Malawi 2011 - 02/28/2011

Last day of February but my 2nd day of Peace Corps Service in Africa. The airport was amazing upon arrival in Malawi. All of the current PCVs (Peace Corps Volunteers) were there to greet us and they cheered us so loudly, it made me feel like one of the Beatles or the Jackson 5 was getting off the plane. #Classic

But rewind just before that..I left Philly at 2:30a.m., got to JFK in New York by 4:45 but the gate didn't open til 7. #WaitingPatiently Then our flight didn't leave until 10:30 #MoreWaitingPatiently I was super tired, but called a few peeps to say my final goodbyes and then took flight for 15 hours to Johanesburg South Africa. Once I landed there I caught a transfer flight to Lilongwe, Malawi which was 2 1/2 hours. Last lef of the trip was a flat-face-scooby-doo van ride to Dezda which was about 2 hours. I finally arrived and for the 1st time of long standing tradition to lose things along the way, this is the first group that recieved everything we traveled with. It's also the largest group #45StandingVolunteers

My first meal was nsima, white rice, red beans, chicken, fresh cut spinach, and bananas. They have tea time everyday around 3p.m. and where I don't generaly drink much tea in the states, I enjoy the break it gives here for fellowship. Now for the night 1st night was rough. I had 2 horrible dreams and was jolted out of my sleep only to feel literally trapped in the mesquito net that I will use for the next 2 years in order to prevent being bit by mesquitos or bugs. I turned my flashlight on to grab the phone and send out a text only to remember I don't have phone service. And so the tears begin to fall and I prayed to God to craddle me back to sleep. I forgot to mention the shower here...let's just say that it was so cold it made my spine fold down the middle #Brrrr

Staging in Philedelphia - 02/24/2011

So I made it to Philedelphia fairly early. My "see you laters" didn't go as expected but I pray for safe travels over myself and for great health so that my return will erase the not-so-good part of departing. Tahnk you Lord for your love, mercy, faithfulness, and belief in me to carry out a task such as serving others in a 3rd world country. I pray for an increase in wisdome while away and multiplied moments of learning in order to do your will to the best of my ability #FallingInLoveWithJesus

Disclaimer: This is a direct excerpt from my journal on the date that's listed although I'm just now uploading my entries #BarelyAnyInternetAccessHere

Thursday, February 24, 2011

And So The Journey Begins

And so the journey begins in Philadelphia. Like so many others who have come before me to serve abroad I ask myself "Dawn are you sure"? YES!

02/23/2011 My "see you later"'s didn't really go as planned but I pray a prayer over myself that covers me from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet, for health, strength, and increased education/wisdom, for a return after this journey is over that will allow me to say "it's good to see you again, friend(s) & family". Virtual hug to all of those I didn't get to embrace prior to departing.

02/24/2011 Just met my roomie for the staging event. She's cool, and quite the sharp knife in the drawer. I feel blessed to be received warmly and look forward to how I'll be impressed upon by my other counterparts.

Emotionally I'm ready to give to Malawi and the Peace Corps the love that God has given to me. He has been faithful, and believes in me to carry out a task as great as this one, to serve globally, and honestly at times I haven't always felt worthy enough to be called to do something such as this. Thank you Lord for having me in your plans despite my ways.

My friend Myca sent me a message earlier in the week and told me this would be "EPIC". I looked up the term as I generally do whenever my infatuation for a word renders my use of it in proper context in order to convey a feeling, and so I think I'll end this with a little word of the day :)

extending beyond the usual or ordinary,
especially in scope or size

serving the Lord is worth wearing my guise

I've grown out my hair
adjusted my clothes
just so I'm able to be given His robe
the story is written
the parable told
I've been given 1 talent
but 10 will unfold