Today we spent our time getting settled in to our new home for the next five weeks by doing what we speech pathology and audiology grad students seem to do best: prep work! The day began for some with a brisk walk before sitting down to eat a buffet-style breakfast consisting of crepes, French toast, eggs, potatoes, sausage, tea, and tropical juice.
After having our fill of the delicious spread, we piled into our bus, and our driver, Lazarus, took us to the ABC clinic where we picked up our partner Audiologist, Courtney, so she could take us to a bank and a local grocery store. At the bank we exchanged US dollars for Malawian Kwatcha. Then, we headed to the store. There, we picked up 3 gallons of water for each person (there’s 15 of us including Laz, so that made for a TON of water). We also grabbed the makings for sack lunches for the remainder of our time here in Blantyre.
The grocery store we went to was called Shoprite, and it was about the size of a Walmart. It was an experience to walk the aisles of the store and notice all of the similarities and differences from home. One big difference between the US and Malawi is currency, as 1 US dollar is the equivelant of 729 Kwatcha. When browsing through the store it was important to remember that items such as peanut butter were not actually $1050, but rather the equivalent of around $1.44. This aside, some of the items we chose to pick up alongside our sandwich material included Nali sauce, a Malawian sauce that previous groups have raved about, assorted Malawian brands of potato chips, and oranges, since they are in season here.
After a successful shopping adventure, we decided to stop at a restaurant to have lunch. The name of the restaurant was African Diner, and it had a cheeky tag line that read “smart people dine here”. The menu had everything. From beef, chicken and veggie burgers to an assortment of pastas, we all had a tough decision to make! I personally decided to get the Cajun chicken burger with fries, and was not disappointed! The food was delicious and all and all, at roughly 5000 Kwatcha ( 6.85) a piece, it was filling and cheap!
Our next stop was to head back to the ABC clinic to meet the ABC group, and unpack the action packers that had successfully been delivered to the airport with us. We had a great time getting to know the ABC group by sharing a little bit about ourselves, such as what song describes our life, or what our most embarrassing moment is. After introductions were made, we needed to determine what we had and what we would need for our first day of outreach tomorrow. Though we are still missing several of the boxes, we were able to gather enough equipment from the items that the clinic had in stock, and the boxes that we did have. We decided it took a lot less time to unpack our action packers than it did to put them together!
The day ended with a dinner of chicken or beef sliders and French fries, as well as lemon cake and ice cream for dessert. We all are ready to begin tomorrow, and are settling in for the night. Tomorrow we will have to be at the ABC clinic by 7:30 am to start the work we came here for! Assuming the internet allows for it, pictures will be posted within the week of our outreach adventures!
Ashlea and the Hearing for Humanity Team
Malawi 2017: Day 2