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!