My Life in Blantyre, Malawi

July 30, 2018 | Nicole, International Development and Globalization, Uniterra, Malawi, Girls Empowerment Network, Knowledge Management Officer

Hi all!

As July comes to an end, I am just now realizing what a busy month it has been here in Blantyre, Malawi!

The month began with a long weekend, which I took advantage of to go on a safari. I have always wanted to go on a safari and I decided I needed to appreciate the natural beauty of the region. I’m not sure what I expected when I went on the safari, but it definitely blew me away. We saw animals that I never expected to see in person and natural landscapes that I’ll never forget. Sometimes I felt like I was there looking at the cool trees rather than animals!

I went right from the safari to the capital city, Lilongwe, where I spent three days in my organization’s northern office. I was giving trainings on Excel, knowledge management, database management and file sharing systems. We also had several meetings about the work I have been doing and how we can integrate that in the northern region. It was a great way to learn more about the projects because teams came from all of our district offices in the North. I had given a similar training in the South so it was also nice to see everything come together for the whole team.

After my time in Lilongwe, I spent the next weekend climbing Mount Mulanje! We made it to the highest peak, Sapitwa, which literally translates to “don’t go there” as it is a somewhat notoriously difficult climb. Well, we went there. It was very challenging, but so worth it when we reached the peak! There is also a famous race in Malawi called the “Porters Race” where participants run up and down the difficult mountain path! By chance, we happened to be on that very route on race day. While it was a little nerve-wracking having to jump out of the way of the porters, it was cool to get the “inside look” of one of the biggest events of the year for the region and experience it from the porters side!

A little sore, I came back to another week of life in Blantyre. Life here is routine, which is so nice. I spend Mondays at Chichewa lessons, Wednesdays at a spoken word open mic poetry night, Fridays at Rotaract meetings, Sunday mornings at church and Sunday afternoons drinking coffee and reading in the sun. I meet up with friends, try new foods, drink a lot of coffee and meet lots of new people.

This last week, I spent 3 days at a girls leadership camp for teenage girls run by my organization. The theme was “empowering girls to stay in school and resist child marriage.” I was able to take photos to help with communications, which allowed me to observe a lot. There were so many lessons on leadership and empowerment, mixed with lessons on issues affecting girls in Malawi and advocacy. The girls were so engaging and determined to empower other girls and end child marriage in their communities.

As my life here comes to an end, I can’t help but be excited for my return, as I am sure I will be back soon. I am so thankful for everyone who has helped me over the past weeks and especially to my organization for taking me in and teaching me so much.

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