Internet in Nkhata Bay has been non-existent so sorry to friends and family for the lack of posts.
Friday morning we all headed to the ABC Clinic to pack up our action packers before setting off to the North. We had to pack 2 sets of supplies in action packers because next week our team will be split in 2. Half of us are going to be staying in Nkhata Bay after the weekend and the other half will be continuing on to Mzuzu. After we packed up we went to a bank to exchange more money and to the grocery store to buy snacks for the road. The strip mall with the grocery store actually had 2 places to buy food. The first is Shoprite, it is a common supermarket like QFC/Jewel/Publix, the other store was called Food Lovers and resembled a Whole Foods. Once we were all stocked up we got going (albeit a little behind schedule).
The drive was absolutely beautiful and we got to see the sunset over the mountains from the bus. When we arrived at Mayoka Village (our housing for the weekend/week) it was dark and we were slightly less than thrilled. We all had to pass a GIANT spider on the way down the stairs and many of our rooms were walled with sticks leaving small gaps in the wall. There were 8 of us in a dorm and we all wrapped ourselves in blankets and bug nets to ensure nothing would get through to mess with us in the night.
Saturday morning we all awoke to find Mayoka Village to be beautiful and much more welcoming than the night before. There are about 20 individual huts of various sizes and shapes all spotted among a hill leading down to Lake Malawi. We all started getting our workout early in the morning since to get anywhere around the property you have to climb lots and lots of stairs.
Throughout the day everyone got to eat tons of very cheap but delicious food, swim in the lake, rent paddle boards, and read for fun. Many of us have been passing around a set of books and we are all worried about what is going to happen when the books run out. Early afternoon a local named Happy Coconut came buy and took orders for us all to get wood carving kay chains.
Early in the evening another local named Alex came and invited us to a local gathering for dinner, dancing, and drumming. We all were excited for the opportunity to see traditional Malawi dancing so jumped at the opportunity. Alex picked us up at 7 and we walked over to the beach. We found a table and chairs set up for us right along the water. We were served chicken or fish with greens, nsima, and tomato sauce. Nsima is a local food made of corn meal, you pick it up and roll it with your fingers and dip it in sauce or use it to pick up veggies. Many Malawians say that if they haven’t had their nsima they haven’t eaten that day. After the delicious meal we moved our chairs around a camp fire and were treated to dances by local girls and drumming by local men. The girls were all in a group led by women about our ages and younger girls falling in line behind them. After a few dances, during the finale the girls invited us to dance with them. We all jumped in and danced around the fire on the beach. After dancing we headed back to Mayoka Village and all crashed for the night, it had been a busy day.
Sunday we all woke up and half of the team had to begin packing to head out to Mzuzu. The other half of the team packed up to move out of the dorm and into a new room. The Mzuzu team headed out around 11:30 for a 2 hour drive to the West. The Nkhata Bay team was able to stay back and relax for another day before starting our last week of clinic.
Monday the Nkhata Bay team loaded up in the HARK from ABC and headed to the Nkhata Bay Hospital. We will be at the hospital for all 4 days this week. With Blessings, Gospel, and Fletcher representing ABC, and Dr. McBride, Taylor, CT, Ashlea, Sara, Calla, and Lizzie representing ASU, we had a solid team. All day we had a solid stream of patients, many of whom needed hearing aids. Our last patient of the day was a little girl who needed a hearing aid following a malaria treatment that left her totally deaf in one ear and partially deaf in the other ear. In our stash of hearing aids we managed to find her a pink hearing aid to match her all pink outfit.
Tuesday was a lot like Monday, a steady stream of patients with lots of hearing tests and aids. We saw one patient who still had his hearings aids that the HFH gave him last year and they still worked perfectly!
The rest of the week we hope to see many more patients and enjoy Mayoka Village.