Living, Loving. Learning.

Please join me on this inspired and fun-filled journey of creating the life of my dreams!

Almost a Volunteer!!

Hey Everyone!

I know it has been quite some time since I have been able to update you on my Peace Corps adventures, so I thought I could fill you in on what has been going on.

Technically, I am still in training - this being my last week with swear-in next Wednesday (7/29). During training, we spent a week in orientation in the coldest region of Malawi, Dedza District, where we began our introduction to culture, language and technical knowledge needs. The following week, we were promptly moved to a nearby village for our home stay which lasted about 5 weeks. Mom posted one of my letters which gives you a brief description of my host family and they were so incredibly gracious to let me stay with them for such a long time. My stay there was extremely beneficial to learning the ins-and-outs of Malawian culture. In the village, we continued to learn language, culture and tech until we finally left the village for our "language intensive week." We split up into regions for language intensive where we attended several informational sessions about culture and, surprisingly, had very few language lessons. Regardless, the goal of the week was to give a "Health Talk" in Chichewa about the subject matter of our choice to a group of Malawians. My group of 4 trainees decided to speak about Nutrition (malnutrition, its relation to disease, the food groups, and important vitamins and minerals). The session went very well overall and was an ego booster as far as language is concerned.

After language intensive, we all went our separate ways to visit our permanent sites. After much indecision, I am officially being sent to Khombedza, Salima District and will be living on Health Centre property. As of now, my house is little more than a storage space, but the Traditional Authority (in charge of the village headmen and group village headman) is really excited to have me there and is promising prompt work on my house to make it liveable. I will be without electricity and running water, but those amenities are nearby and so I am actually quite lucky! All I can really ask for is a "chim" and bathing area. During my site visit, I stayed with my sitemates (Kristy and Brian), two volunteers in the education sector. They have been absolutely wonderful to me, cooking GREAT food, showing me around the village, taking me into town and showing me the resources I might need, and taking me to see Lake Malawi for a day with my other site-mates in the district!!! Yes, it really is as beautiful as the pictures you can find on the internet... Unfortunately I don't have my camera cord to upload pictures, but I hope to do so soon (Did I say that in my last email?!) I hitched with Brian and Kristy back to Lilongwe today and will be traveling back to our training hub in oh-so-very-cold Dedza this afternoon. It will be great to see the rest of my training group and brag about what a wonderful site visit trip I had (most people are left to fend for themselves during site visit... I was truly very, very lucky).
Tomorrow, I should be taking my final language test. I'm a bit nervous as I haven't spoken Chichewa much in the past two weeks, but, as usual, I will probably stay up a bit late tonight to cram. My study habits don't necessarily change simply because I'm on the other side of the planet.

While this is a rather brief update of the last 2 months, all I can say is that I am having a GREAT time here. The people here, both Malawians and my Peace Corps family, are truly incredible and I know for a fact that these two years will be more dynamic and adventurous than I originally imagined.

I am always thinking of you, my family and friends. You are missed and loved immensely!!!

In peace and with love,

Oh, Dan and Rhea - apparently Lake Malawi is one of the best places to scuba in the world... think about it.


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