Let me give you a brief highlight of January through August..
- January- Fell into a ditch in front of my neighbor's house in the village and ended up with a cast and crutches for 6 weeks; attended an Australian and Malawian wedding (in cast and crutches)
- February- Not much due to lack of mobility. Brought/taught/worked with HIV support group on peanut oil press/IGA (income generating activity). My English VSO (volunteer service overseas) volunteer finished his contract and left me.
- March- Worked on Guardian Shelter project, Oil Press project and did a tree planting exercise in the village. Partied a little. Decided that I wasn't ready to go back to America in July
- April- Went to Nyika Plateau for 1 week over Easter with 4 Aussies and another PCV. Absolutely beautiful and amazing. Spent a week in Zambia on a safari in South Luangwa with friends (French couple and another PCV). Pretty freakin' awesome (expensive but totally worth it)- Saw a lion and leopard along with the other more common animals like elephants, zebras, giraffes, hippos, birds, etc.
- May- Had my close-of-service conference on the lake and met with Save the Children's country director and confirmed my stay in Malawi for 1 more year and working with Save the Children in Lilongwe. Decided that when I go back home, I want to get an MBA.
- June- Finally hiked Mulanje all the way to the top with some PCVs and my favorite, Tessa! Finished up building the Guardian Shelter. Watched World Cup games at my neighbor's
- August- Waited hung out and waited for paperwork between Save the Children and PC to finalize and my triplex to be ready =0) Started working at Save the Children on August 18th.
ANNNDDDD.. you're updated! =0)
Right now, things are pretty hectic for me. I just moved into my new place in Lilongwe last weekend. My place is brand new so there are a bunch of issues with it that needs tending to. But overall I'm pretty excited to be living in Lilongwe and having a super awesome house with electricity, running hot water, tiles, 2.5 bathrooms, 2 bedroom, front and backyard! The place is awesome but I don't have much to fill it.. I've got 2 beds, a dresser, and 1 wicker chair. Sad huh? Oh well.. Pang'ono Pang'ono (little by little) I will accumulate them. My neighbors are really awesome.. to my left is Maureen who's 29 years old and to my right is Juliet who is 45. I'm really relieved that they're both women =0)
As for work... I am loving it! Things are so different here. Not just different but a completely 180 degrees from the village. I am now working at a 2nd floor office from 8-5 with over 50 staff members. The corporate Malawi is so different from what my Malawi used to be... I've been going to meetings in buildings where I have to go through a metal detector and/or wait in an elevator to go to the 6th floor. Thatched roofed mud huts to this..
Anyway.. the reason I've decided to stay a third year in Malawi is that I want to do NGO (Non Governmental Organization) work for awhile and this is my chance to work with one of the largest international NGOs in the world and get work experience in the field. I am still a Peace Corps volunteer but instead of working with the village community, I'm working with Save the Children instead. I am now a campaign assistant for Save the Children's Every One campaign to reduce maternal, newborn, and child mortality rates in Malawi. If you would like more information on this campaign, please visit www.everyone.org We're currently planning the campaign launch on October 15th, which is also Mother's Day and Rural Women's Day in Malawi and also events leading up to the actual day. So from now until then, it's crunch time!
It's such a great feeling to have a set schedule again even if I'm exhausted everyday =0) A friend said to me "I've never met anyone who is as excited to go to work as you".. to him, thanks! Isn't this exactly what EVERYONE is looking for? A job/career that makes me happy and excited to go to work?! There are people out there that spend their whole life searching for that 1 job that completes them, that drives them, that makes them feel alive. I am too fortunate to have found it so early..
Big things are happening in the next few months! Now that I have fast and consistent internet, updates will be more frequent, PROMISE! Also, pictures of my new place will come as soon as I finish settling in.