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going to malawi

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  • Foy, Elizabeth
    Hello All! I m scheduled to go to Malawi in June. I m sure someone has some good advice/tips for me. What s the food like? The world s friendliest people:
    Message 1 of 6 , Jan 9, 2001
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      going to malawi

      Hello All!

      I'm scheduled to go to Malawi in June.  I'm sure someone has some good advice/tips for me.  What's the food like?  The world's friendliest people: fact or fiction?  What's the Peace Corps like as far as checking up on you?  And worst of all:  please tell me no one really gets worms that hide UNDER your skin!  

      I'm really excited to go, but very overwhelmed by all the diseases, parasites, dysentary, culture shock. . . the usual.  Please tell me what I need to know.

      Thanks,

      Elizabeth Foy

    • Paul DEVER
      In all truthfulness: I was the Admin Officer thre so my perspective is a bit different thatn most members of this mailgroup. Food: Bland, but palatable. There
      Message 2 of 6 , Jan 10, 2001
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        In all truthfulness:

        I was the Admin Officer thre so my perspective is a bit different thatn most
        members of this mailgroup.

        Food: Bland, but palatable. There is good food as well as bad food. The
        main staple is a grits-like patty with sauce.

        Warm Heart of Africe: Not always the case, again it depends on who you hang
        out with. You can be in the same village as another PCV and your
        experiences are polar opposites. There are good people as well as bad
        people.

        Times change and so do the people. Crime is up from when I was there,
        inflation is high, and who knows what the next season wil bring.


        Peace Corps does not voluntarily spy on you: Be circumspect in what you do.
        Although Peace Corps does not spy on you, be assured that someone is
        watching you, either for your own good, or not.

        Those worms exist, but you have pretty good medical coverage, and if you pay
        attention and follow the health guidelines that you are given by the PCMO,
        then you should be okay.


        Touchy subject, but sex: If you choose to engage in this, use barriers all
        the time regardles of the oaths of fidelity thrust upon you. Better to be
        thought of as a prude or a fraidy-cat than end up as a statistic. I knew
        both trypes of people and by far the prudes live longer...

        Dysentery, parasites, worms, etc. are all around you even in the US...not as
        much but there. If you keep a level head and use COMMON SENSE and STREET
        SMARTS, you will have a great experience. If not, May God have mercy upon
        your soul.
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      • Lise Andersen
        You will have an incredible time. I loved it!!! was there from 93-95. facts... math teacher in rural northern malawi...great school....teacher in charge only
        Message 3 of 6 , Jan 10, 2001
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          You will have an incredible time.

          I loved it!!! was there from 93-95.

          facts... math teacher in rural northern malawi...great
          school....teacher in charge only beat the students once in front of
          me...students riots only 3 times...was never robbed at my site, just
          at another volunteers site...incredible people, kind, funny,
          warm....found the best dog of my life.....worked at a horseback
          safari....hiked for weeks looking for elephant dung with other
          volunteers....swam in lake malawi and never got bilharzia...likoma
          island is spectacular....elephants brillant.....hippos laugh at
          you....mosquitoes not as bad as you think.....a cat will keep the
          cockroaches down.....the taylors can copy anything you want made for
          $10.....chocolate, cheese, and wine expensive for a volunteer....don't
          take yourself, your life, or peace corps too seriously.....laugh
          whenever you can...be prepared for the highest of highs and the lowest
          of lows....bring more than 3 cds (or tapes)....

          lise
          On Tue, 9 Jan 2001 13:44:31 -0600 "Foy, Elizabeth"
          <elizabeth.foy@...> wrote:

          > Hello All!
          >
          > I'm scheduled to go to Malawi in June. I'm sure someone has some good
          > advice/tips for me. What's the food like? The world's friendliest people:
          > fact or fiction? What's the Peace Corps like as far as checking up on you?
          > And worst of all: please tell me no one really gets worms that hide UNDER
          > your skin!
          >
          > I'm really excited to go, but very overwhelmed by all the diseases,
          > parasites, dysentary, culture shock. . . the usual. Please tell me what I
          > need to know.
          >
          > Thanks,
          >
          > Elizabeth Foy

          ====================================
          Lise Andersen
          Colorado State Univ
          Ft. Collins, CO 80523- , USA
          voice:(970)223-9945
          fax:(970)491-

          @...
          ====================================
        • Mark Holland
          Whew, Paul! What s up with that? Everything you said is true and good advice, but couldn t you mix in just an ounce of good with the bad? I arrived in Malawi
          Message 4 of 6 , Jan 11, 2001
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            Whew, Paul! What's up with that? Everything you said is true and good advice,
            but couldn't you mix in just an ounce of good with the bad?

            I arrived in Malawi in '95, and had a rough adjustment but settled in. After
            reaching the point where I accepted the lifestyle changes that were forced upon
            me, I loved it. I had to leave for a bit in '96, but couldn't wait to get
            back. I finished my service in late '97 and then stayed 2 extra years working
            as a consultant just because I was having fun and learning a lot. Every day
            I would be frustrated, but every day I'd have some wonderful epiphany, some new
            realization about how the world really is would dawn on me. I remember a
            campfire on the Nyika-Livingstonia trail, talking with the scout and having him
            all of the sudden drop his reserve and talk to me openly, since I spoke a few
            words of Chichewa. People I knew passed away while I was there, and it forced
            me to grow up, gave me a new understanding of myself and my inadequate level of
            engagement with the world. I helped my night guard with a few kwacha to take
            driving lessons, and then watched as he worked his way up the ladder. When
            I left he was a mid-level salesperson at at Xerographics and a leader in his
            community. Sometimes when I was angry or frustrated or burned out, I'd go out
            to his place and we'd sit on the stoop of the local bottlestore and get a
            little plastered together. Although I never convinced him to stop calling me
            "sir", we did reach the point where he'd rib me for drinking Brown instead of
            Green. I remember Mr. Phiri, my 2nd homestay father, an absolutely amazing
            individual who nearly single-handedly ran a water project in Chipasula, getting
            the money from MASAF and riding herd on the community until the project was
            done. I saw the kiosks myself before I left, and the pregnant women who no
            longer had to walk a mile to the nearest working borehole. I ran a
            borehole-repair training workshop, and watched as the instructor taught the
            mechanics catechism to group of illiterate women ("Ichi ndi chiyani?", "what's
            this?" he'd say roughly, and they would look at the ground for a bit, then one
            would look up with a huge smile and shout "Spanner!" or "Lock-Bolt!").
            I visited nearly every country in SE Africa. I learned to scuba dive. Twice
            I saw a leopard make a kill. John Dummer and I breathed the breath of a hippo
            at S. Luangwa. The instant I got back to the states, I had a dozen
            as-yet-unmet friends waiting for me in the local RPCV group.

            So, don't let it get to you, and have an excellent two years!

            Mark Holland

            Paul DEVER wrote:

            > In all truthfulness:
            >
            > I was the Admin Officer thre so my perspective is a bit different thatn most
            > members of this mailgroup.
            >
          • David Burrows
            Elizabeth, I have been perusing these messages regarding advice for you and I must say all of it is good stuff. I agree with whoever said to take a nice sharp
            Message 5 of 6 , Jan 12, 2001
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              Elizabeth,

              I have been perusing these messages regarding advice for you and I must say
              all of it is good stuff. I agree with whoever said to take a nice sharp
              knife. Tomatoes are easier to work with when they are not turned into a
              pool of mush by a dull knife. Keeping an open mind, not stressing about the
              little things...all that stuff is good. But I have found one piece of info
              lacking from all these messages. And I feel it is my duty to warn you about
              chitedze. Actually chitedze could mean two things. It is the location of
              an Agricultural Research station 20 minutes west of Lilongwe (the preservice
              training site when I left a year ago) but it is also a name of a bean.

              The chitedze bean is the most evil, wretched, and horrible plant on the face
              of the earth. I am sure the devil doesn't even know it is his most devious
              creation. Well, that is an overstatement but it is not pleasant. Here is
              why. All during the rainy season this plant grows incredibly fast. Being a
              vine, it snakes up trees, entangles itself in the mahedge surrounding your
              house, and generally expands exponentially. Or at least it seems. Malawian
              friends might tell you to get rid of it, but not knowing any better you say,
              "nah, why cut it down? Its not doing any harm." Its actually kinda cool.
              The pods are fuzzy and a little bit like velvet. These friends will shake
              their heads and laugh and just chalk it up to another crazy azungu thing.
              But then half way through the cold season as things start to dry, the vines
              die. The pods are all a nasty brown and the fuzz just blows off with the
              wind. The mahedge looks kinda ugly and maybe you think it is time to get
              the dead stuff off of there. Put it in a compost pile or something. So you
              walk up to particularly dense section on the mahedge and give it a good
              yank. Of course you kick up a good cloud of dust that kinda envelopes you.
              So you step back but it is too late!! The chitedze's got you. Suddenly you
              are itching SOOOOOOOO BAD you can't stand it. You can't scratch anywhere
              because every where itches. As quick as you can, you run inside, get a big
              bucket of water (which thankfully is full because you made a trip to the
              bore hole that day), run to the bath house and poor it all over you. BUT IT
              DOES NO GOOD!! I cannot overstate how uncomfortable you are right now.
              Next thing you know you're naked, dripping wet, and running around in your
              house wondering how much longer this incredibly horrible sensation will
              last. Thankfully it goes away anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour depending
              on how much of the fuzz got on you. (Of course this story is purely
              fictional. I don't know if this exact scenerio ever happened to anyone.)
              My advice is to learn to identify the chitedze bean. (If you are leaving
              just soon it will be around and your host family can surely point it out to
              you.) If it grows around your house, let it go for a while. But once the
              rains stop, rip every last one of the dang plants out and toss them in a
              compost pile. Under no circumstances should you let the things dry out.

              When you get to Malawi, you might meet a married couple who have been
              Volunteers there since the dawn of time (actually 1997) and if chitedze
              beans get mentioned in the course of any conversation they might try to
              defend it. Big ideas about how there really are no evil plants. If they
              try brainwashing you at all just tell them "Hey there is no argument here!"
              Use those exact words. They'll shut right up.

              Well, I think that's enough ranting. Malawi is a great country with great
              people. You will have a great experience and I am a bit envious of you at
              the moment.

              Yendani bwino (travel well)
              Dave

              >From: "Foy, Elizabeth" <elizabeth.foy@...>
              >Reply-To: ujeni@egroups.com
              >To: "'ujeni@egroups.com'" <ujeni@egroups.com>
              >Subject: RE: [ujeni] news
              >Date: Thu, 11 Jan 2001 15:22:12 -0600
              >
              >Well John, it may be hard to believe, but two years of abstaining is
              >nothing
              >new for me. So, I'm sure I can avoid the massive temptations of being in a
              >foreign land, with all those eligible men. Really, it isn't an issue for
              >me
              >:)
              >
              >As far as swimming in the lake, how do you know where people do and don't
              >pee? And, where can you pee? Are there pit latrines? I was told to avoid
              >them during rainy season. That sure will be a long season!!!
              >
              >-----Original Message-----
              >From: John Patten [mailto:jppatten98@...]
              >Sent: Thursday, January 11, 2001 2:55 PM
              >To: ujeni@egroups.com
              >Subject: RE: [ujeni] news
              >
              >
              >Hey Paul, as former admin guy, do you want to field
              >the question of two years of abstinence? I think many
              >gave it the ol college try, but what was the peace
              >corp stat, maybe 10% lasted? some not even before the
              >plane landed.
              >Also Elizabeth, I was in the lake twice a day and am
              >in my fifth year parasite free! But his point on that
              >was well taken.
              >
              >
              >--- "Foy, Elizabeth" <elizabeth.foy@...> wrote:
              > > Elizabeth here again. . .
              > >
              > > I hope I'm not getting too much info before
              > > experiencing Malawi with fresh
              > > eyes, so please humor me as I'm a curious cat:
              > >
              > > --are there many safety issues for women (please
              > > disregard sex, as I plan on
              > > abstaining.)
              > > --any threat of aligators, tigers, etc. (wild animal
              > > fears)
              > > --can I really swim in Lake Milawi? I've heard the
              > > stories of the
              > > para-sites. . .
              > > now I'm para-noid
              > > --you guys all seem pretty cool and tight. did you
              > > attend the PC together?
              > > I see different dates on your services, so I
              > > know not all of you
              > > went together, but with the RPCV groups, have you
              > > all met, do you
              > > keep in touch with PCV?
              > >
              >
              >
              >__________________________________________________
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              >Yahoo! Photos - Share your holiday photos online!
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              >
              >

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            • Foy, Elizabeth
              David, you are by far the most descriptive! I ve greatly enjoyed getting everyone s emails each morning at my job, esp. since I know that I m leaving here in
              Message 6 of 6 , Jan 12, 2001
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                RE: [ujeni] going to malawi

                David, you are by far the most descriptive!  I've greatly enjoyed getting everyone's emails each morning at my job, esp. since I know that I'm leaving here in a couple of months :)  I will heed you advice and cut that sucker down before it dries.  Thanks for the warning.  Elizabeth

                -----Original Message-----
                From: David Burrows [mailto:supedaveburrows@...]
                Sent: Friday, January 12, 2001 2:52 AM
                To: ujeni@egroups.com
                Subject: RE: [ujeni] going to malawi




                Elizabeth,

                I have been perusing these messages regarding advice for you and I must say
                all of it is good stuff.  I agree with whoever said to take a nice sharp
                knife.  Tomatoes are easier to work with when they are not turned into a
                pool of mush by a dull knife.  Keeping an open mind, not stressing about the
                little things...all that stuff is good.  But I have found one piece of info
                lacking from all these messages.  And I feel it is my duty to warn you about
                chitedze.  Actually chitedze could mean two things.  It is the location of
                an Agricultural Research station 20 minutes west of Lilongwe (the preservice
                training site when I left a year ago) but it is also a name of a bean.

                The chitedze bean is the most evil, wretched, and horrible plant on the face
                of the earth.  I am sure the devil doesn't even know it is his most devious
                creation.  Well, that is an overstatement but it is not pleasant.  Here is
                why.  All during the rainy season this plant grows incredibly fast.  Being a
                vine, it snakes up trees, entangles itself in the mahedge surrounding your
                house, and generally expands exponentially.  Or at least it seems.  Malawian
                friends might tell you to get rid of it, but not knowing any better you say,
                "nah, why cut it down?  Its not doing any harm."  Its actually kinda cool. 
                The pods are fuzzy and a little bit like velvet.  These friends will shake
                their heads and laugh and just chalk it up to another crazy azungu thing.
                But then half way through the cold season as things start to dry, the vines
                die.  The pods are all a nasty brown and the fuzz just blows off with the
                wind.  The mahedge looks kinda ugly and maybe you think it is time to get
                the dead stuff off of there.  Put it in a compost pile or something.  So you
                walk up to particularly dense section on the mahedge and give it a good
                yank.  Of course you kick up a good cloud of dust that kinda envelopes you. 
                So you step back but it is too late!!  The chitedze's got you.  Suddenly you
                are itching SOOOOOOOO BAD you can't stand it.  You can't scratch anywhere
                because every where itches.  As quick as you can, you run inside, get a big
                bucket of water (which thankfully is full because you made a trip to the
                bore hole that day), run to the bath house and poor it all over you.  BUT IT
                DOES NO GOOD!!  I cannot overstate how uncomfortable you are right now. 
                Next thing you know you're naked, dripping wet, and running around in your
                house wondering how much longer this incredibly horrible sensation will
                last.  Thankfully it goes away anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour depending
                on how much of the fuzz got on you.  (Of course this story is purely
                fictional.  I don't know if this exact scenerio ever happened to anyone.) 
                My advice is to learn to identify the chitedze bean.  (If you are leaving
                just soon it will be around and your host family can surely point it out to
                you.)  If it grows around your house, let it go for a while.  But once the
                rains stop, rip every last one of the dang plants out and toss them in a
                compost pile.  Under no circumstances should you let the things dry out.

                When you get to Malawi, you might meet a married couple who have been
                Volunteers there since the dawn of time (actually 1997) and if chitedze
                beans get mentioned in the course of any conversation they might try to
                defend it.  Big ideas about how there really are no evil plants.  If they
                try brainwashing you at all just tell them "Hey there is no argument here!" 
                Use those exact words.  They'll shut right up.

                Well, I think that's enough ranting.  Malawi is a great country with great
                people.  You will have a great experience and I am a bit envious of you at
                the moment.

                Yendani bwino (travel well)
                Dave

                >From: "Foy, Elizabeth" <elizabeth.foy@...>
                >Reply-To: ujeni@egroups.com
                >To: "'ujeni@egroups.com'" <ujeni@egroups.com>
                >Subject: RE: [ujeni] news
                >Date: Thu, 11 Jan 2001 15:22:12 -0600
                >
                >Well John, it may be hard to believe, but two years of abstaining is
                >nothing
                >new for me.  So, I'm sure I can avoid the massive temptations of being in a
                >foreign land, with all those eligible men.  Really, it isn't an issue for
                >me
                >:)
                >
                >As far as swimming in the lake, how do you know where people do and don't
                >pee?  And, where can you pee?  Are there pit latrines?  I was told to avoid
                >them during rainy season.  That sure will be a long season!!!
                >
                >-----Original Message-----
                >From: John Patten [mailto:jppatten98@...]
                >Sent: Thursday, January 11, 2001 2:55 PM
                >To: ujeni@egroups.com
                >Subject: RE: [ujeni] news
                >
                >
                >Hey Paul, as former admin guy, do you want to field
                >the question of two years of abstinence? I think many
                >gave it the ol college try, but what was the peace
                >corp stat, maybe 10% lasted? some not even before the
                >plane landed.
                >Also Elizabeth, I was in the lake twice a day and am
                >in my fifth year parasite free! But his point on that
                >was well taken.
                >
                >
                >--- "Foy, Elizabeth" <elizabeth.foy@...> wrote:
                > > Elizabeth here again. . .
                > >
                > > I hope I'm not getting too much info before
                > > experiencing Malawi with fresh
                > > eyes, so please humor me as I'm a curious cat:
                > >
                > > --are there many safety issues for women (please
                > > disregard sex, as I plan on
                > > abstaining.)
                > > --any threat of aligators, tigers, etc. (wild animal
                > > fears)
                > > --can I really swim in Lake Milawi?  I've heard the
                > > stories of the
                > > para-sites. . .
                > >     now I'm para-noid
                > > --you guys all seem pretty cool and tight.  did you
                > > attend the PC together?
                > > I see different             dates on your services, so I
                > > know not all of you
                > > went together, but with the RPCV groups,    have you
                > > all met, do you
                > > keep in touch with PCV?
                > >
                >
                >
                >__________________________________________________
                >Do You Yahoo!?
                >Yahoo! Photos - Share your holiday photos online!
                >http://photos.yahoo.com/
                >
                >
                >

                _________________________________________________________________
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