Sunday, June 26, 2016

it's cold on my front porch!

i am sitting on the small, tiled front porch of my room here in the Kuka Lodge, and i can see my breath. the sky is already bright with sun and there is a cacophony of crazy bird sounds ... imagine a cuckoo clock with a bourbon drenched, smokers voice surrounded by chirpy song birds. oh, and the rooster. :)

turns out that getting to malawi is a long, long day of travel. LONG. but we landed in lilongwe without incident or lost baggage mid saturday morning. my first sights of malawi were unreal. on the bus ride from the airport we passed many large trucks, but no cars. almost every person we saw was on foot or bicycle, usually alone or in pairs, and the landscape was red with dust. in that short drive. i saw a group of boys washing clothes in a ditchside culvert, beautiful women carrying gigantic packages on their heads walking calmly along side the road as giant trucks barreled past, a boy of maybe 13 perched up in a small tree, just watching the world go by, a small herd of random goats and small vendors set up along the way selling avocados or potatoes. one man was selling giraffes that he was carving as we drove past, and i yelled 'GIRAFFES!' and caused a kafuffle on the bus that was unintended. :) if i had been driving, we would have stopped and i'd already have my first souvenier!

in an effort to stay awake, once we were settled we went for, what our hotel manager assured us, was a short 15 minute walk to local shops. 45 min later, we arrived at a collection of shops that more closely resembled a strip mall than anything else. grocery store, liquor store, pizza, 2 hair salons ... but no shops that sold what i was really hoping for. every woman i have seen so far has been wearing traditional dress - bright and tied up around them - and i was so hoping to find one to wear today!

we are headed to a church service, which our local habitat guide said will probably be around 2 hours (!) and then headed to lake malawi  for the afternoon. there is talk of staying til dark to watch the stars come out... there are so many stars! no street lights anywhere in lilongwe that we have seen, and a night of start gazing seems like a must do. after the lake we are driving to the salima district, where we will stay for the week and build homes for two local families. (see family bio's in previous post).

wifi is paid by data, so no pics now. maybe our lodge tonight will have a different policy? big love!

Thursday, June 23, 2016


tomorrow is the big departure...malawi, here i come!

i was struck by something as i drove to work this morning, running over the long list of things to remember as i was stuck in traffic. this is the first time i've packed for a trip where, if i forget my socks, i can't just run out to wal-mart and get a pair. think about that for a second. i haven't even left yet, and i am already face to face with the privilege i live with, and pretty much always take for granted. the convenience of my life and my access to ... things.

i have a lot of things. i have a lot of prividege. frankly, most of us do. what do we do with it? how do we use it? do we leverage it for others, or do we leverage it for ourselves? i like to thing i'm pretty generous, but i have a feeling that perspective is about to be adjusted.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

...In the event of your kidnapping, please note that Habitat for Humanity will not pay any ransom demand...

Anne lives in the Salima district, a widow with 6 children ranging in age from an infant to 15. She farms to support her family. They live in a cracked and falling apart house with a grass thatched roof that leaks heavily during the rains and has no latrine or sanitation, and not all of the family can stay in the home at once.

Pelepetuwa is a widow in the Salima district who is raising her 5 children in the Salima district. Her home collapsed in the rains and they have had to move into her oldest daughter's house. The dirt floor, one room house has no windows and poor ventilation, and now houses 10 members of the family.

These are the two families we will be (trying!) to build homes for on our trip to Malawi. Leaving Friday, we arrive Saturday morning and will be met by local Habitat staff. The village we will be working in is one that Habitat Malawi is already working in, having identified it as a community of vulnerable people groups. If you are a person who prays, please pray for our trip! If you are not a prayer, please hold good thoughts and wish us well!

I will be updating this blog as I am able - we'll see what kind of inter-web-tubes are available to us!

Sunday, June 05, 2016


i am frankly suprised that this page still exists in the vast space of the inter-tubes! my last post was over a year ago ... yet here it is. waiting.

i came back here because of the most amazing thing - i am travelling to malawi this month with habitat for humanity to build houses in a village and go on a brief safari in neighboring zambia. i want to blog my experiences, and this is where i'll be doing it - i hope you read them!

here's what happened to me, though, when i landed on this page. i read the last couple posts, and they reminded me how much i love to write, to think, to read. maybe netflix really is slowing stealing my brain? i am hoping that maybe i'll get in the habit again...