Living, Loving. Learning.

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

Letter #1 from Brittany

Muli Bwanji? (How are you?) I was informed that you would be receiving an email with a photo of all of us volunteers arriving at the Lilongwe airport.. (see previous posting) We were greeted by a HUGE group of current volunteers, the Peace Corps Country Director and a few of our trainers. From our greeting, I have the feeling that everyone is pretty happy here. The trip went (fairly) smoothly. We had a few delays but nothing detrimental to our flight schedule and surprisingly enough, I have hardly felt any effects of jet lag. :-)

After we landed, we were piled into a mini-bus and sent on our way to our training site in Dedza (about a 2 hour drive). THIS COUNTRY IS BEAUTIFUL!!! Once we get back to Lilongwe for our swearing in at the end of July, I will do my best to send some pictures your way.

We started training the day after we got here (Monday)... language in the morning, tea break, technical training, lunch, more informational sessions, tea, more language, and finally dinner. It is dark by the time dinner comes around, so we try to stay inside for the most part (to avoid mosquitoes) - we usually end up playing board games, studying our language lessons, or chatting. All of the volunteers are pretty cool - we get along great as a group. My roommate from D.C. training , and I have remained roommates during this first week and are getting along very well - YEAH for friends! Oh, there are 20 of us in total, by the way.

The trainers (language, cultural, and technical) are all brilliant people! We couldn't have been put in better hands! Our cultural lessons this week have included proper greetings and their associated gestures, how to hand wash laundry, and how to properly use the chimbudzi (bathroom), which is much more difficult than one would think.... it provided plenty of entertainment.

We went to a local District Health Office (hospital) today. It was incredibly eye-opening and helpful for understanding why we are here... 3 M.D.s in a district serving 665,000 people!! What?! But I have been so impressed with those we've met who are dedicated to being in the health centers. It has already become so clear why they call this place "the warm heart of Africa". Every local has been so accepting. :-)

Tomorrow, I will find out for certain if I will be learning the language of Chichewa. Other options may be Chitumbuka or Chitonga, depending on the region of my placement. Saturday, we will all move in with our host family in a village nearby. The village(s) are about 7-10 KM away from the College of Forestry (where we have been training). I am so excited to spend my time with locals in a more realistic context.

I am REALLY HAPPY here. I know it has only been a few days and I am still in training (totally sheltered), but I am certain that I will grow immensely in these next 2 years and some incredible friendships will result. Never the less, I love you all so much and miss you heaps and heaps!!!



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