Muli bwanji! (Mu-lee-bu-ah-n-gee). Translation, Hello how are you? This is just one of the phrases we consistently hear while we explore the beautiful land of Malawi. Today was quite the experience, after a long and exhausting week we’ve finally had some time to cool down and experience Malawian culture. Our day started like most days here at Mabuya Camp, we wake up to the sound of our teammates getting ready for their morning workouts, order breakfast and then we’re on the road to the ABC clinic where we begin our work.
Unlike our previous days at the ABC clinic, today we focused heavily on preparation for our long and awaited trip to Mzuzu located in northern part of Malawi. Tomorrow we embark on a long (and probably really bumpy) 5 hour drive, given the circumstances we had to make sure everything was ready, double checking our equipment works and all our materials are packed up. Preparation for our trip also included some manual labor such as cleaning out the trailer and doing some mechanical repairs, enter the men of our team. They handled everything, checking the vehicle’s fluids, electrical circuits, and lots of heavy cleaning making sure that nothing went unnoticed. Afterwards the team packed up all our equipment and loaded everything into the trailer. Thank goodness for our guys, those action packers full of equipment weigh a ton. Well maybe just a few pounds but they feel like a ton.
After such intense preparation it was time to have some fun. We headed back to Mabuya Camp where we had lunch and then made our way to a local market to experience Malawian culture. Chitenge (Che-tin-gee), a traditional and very beautiful skirt worn by all the women of Malawi. We set out to find these beautiful garments at the market, led by our amazing guide, Lazarus, we found a shop filled with these cloths that are used to make the skirts. The walls of the shop adorned with endless cloths with such beautiful prints that even the great artists of the Renaissance era would stare in jealousy at their beauty. This was truly a great experience.
Soon after we arrived a location where we found local vendors all eager for us to buy their artwork. Endless rows of beautifully carved wooden animal and hand painted scenes of sunsets in Malawi filled the the vendors’ tables. As we approached to gaze at such work the vendors immediately swarmed to sell, with a little bit of bartering and negotiation we all came back to camp with wonderful gifts for our families.
After such a great day I can see why Malawi is called the warm heart of Africa, it truly is a beautiful place.