Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Still no "o" or "l" or "9" working on the other computer so I snuck onto this one for a quick update- apologies for any typos or non sensical thoughts (at least now I have an excuse for the latter).

So I snuck into the gym at the fancy hotel in Blantyre called the Protea (we call it the "Pro"). Most of you who know me well realize that my breaking a rule is a huge deal. I hate it. I never even snuck into the cafeteria at school and they practically require you to. Anyway, I needed to move the 'bod and thus found myself trying to walk casually by the front desk of the Pro. My palms were sweating and I had tried to compose my face into a mask of calm. I think I ended up looking constipated or slightly drunk. But luckily I remembered to wear my white skin and no one questioned me. Working out felt awesome so, riding this wave of endorphins: here are some thoughts that are held together only by their mutual randomness:

-Went to the market today. Always a chore because you spend 94% of your time fending off requests to carry your bag, sell you an avocado, watch your car, sell you a DVD, sell you a better avacado, give you a plastic bag, "madam this is best avocado, good price good price," lead you to your car, ask for money etc ad nasuem. Today I swear a kid looked at me and said "give me sex." That was certainly a first.

-Another funny market interaction. There is a leaf-thingy called rape (Has anyone else heard of this? Can someone who is not cullinaryily impaired tell me if we call it that in the US?). Buying it always makes me feel weird because the conversation always goes something like this:

Me: What is that leaf?
Her: Rape.
Me: How much for rape?
Her: 20 kwacha

Why do we always get louder when we want someone to understand us?

-Fantastic day at clinic today. One of my favorite sites: N'Tonya. You know that the day is going to be awesome when you are greeted by a smiling toddler who runs up to you as soon as you get out of the car and won't stop beaming. School kids were playing a basketball-type game throwing a corn husk through a rusty hoop nailed to a pole. Saw quite a few moms and enrolled 28 new patients. Got peed on 3 times. Diarrhead on once (OK it was on the scale). Teaching was particularly fun. I started dancing and let me tell you, white people dancing is a crowd pleaser. It always kills.

-Everything here is precious. There basically is no trash. For example, I use bottled water to mix antibiotics and I always find a mom to give the empty bottle to. We also give away the empty cardboard boxes that hold chiponde. These things are reused until they fall apart.

-Some great names (I always change a little part so patients can't be identified FYI): Fraction, Treesha Tomato, Peace Spores, twins named Handsome and Beauty. I also love when a kid has a very American name like Mike. We were at a site and there was a kid named Mike. When they are talking to him it sounds like "iojfkmewofjfojekfwe MIKE iohoialjdpwa MIKE iosrjfewocdkm"

-Had to say goodbye to Courtney, the 4th year med student I was sharing a room with. Very sad because I really liked her. But we had an epic goodbye weekend where we ate out basically every meal. We even tried this place called Debonaire's- it's a South African chain and it's kind of like a McDonald's for pizza. It's joined to a gas station if that tells you anything. But it looks like it could be in America and it's kind of a scene for Malawians who have the money. Very surreal to eat somewhere like that, I didn't feel like I was in Africa. Except when I ordered and had to speak to like 3 people, was told that they didn't have any change at the moment so they would bring it to me with my food and then had to go up and check 3 times before getting my food.

It's especially weird to eat somewhere like Debonaire's when you go to the field on Monday and see how different it is in the rural villages. The very idea of disposable silverware is unknown to them. Most kids at school, for example, use their finger to eat porridge- only a lucky few have a utensil. And we distribute 1 plastic spoon when a baby first gets Chiponde and the moms guard that spoon like gold.

OK I will try to keep sneaking onto a computer to update but no promises.


  1. so so happy to see you blogging again...

  2. rape is pronounced exactly the way you think. they use the seeds to make canola oil(rapeseed) and the greens are good for you - enjoy