From Lilongwe

I have now had two sleeps in Lilongwe!!  The jet lag seems to be passing quickly.  It certainly has been helped along by the wonderful welcome from World University Services of Canada (WUSC) staff and by those who Patricia (another Leave for Change volunteer from Deloitte, Toronto) and I will be working with.

Monday we settled into our accommodation – Garden Court Lodge – which is very comfortable and in a beautiful, safe setting.

Here is a view at the back of the Country Garden Lodge compound looking down toward the reception.

Inside the Country Garden Lodge compound looking toward the reception

This view is of the Lodge compound looking toward the entrance gate.

Country Garden Lodge looking toward the entrance gate from inside the compound

These are the gardens at Country Garden Lodge in the area behind my room and Patricia’s.

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This is the reception where we go to get our keys and advice on anything we need.

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This is my bed….all ready to ‘tuck in’ for the night.
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Tuesday (yesterday) we received a general orientation from WUSC staff and leaders from our host organizations.  They gave us an overview of the challenges before Malawi, some general knowledge of Lilongwe and some information about how we will work together (WUSC, Malawi partner organization & volunteer.)

We were taken to a beautiful place for lunch.  (SEE BELOW FOR PHOTO I’VE NOW BEEN ABLE TO POST.)  After lunch we learned how to use the city mini-bus system to get around town — a bit wild by Canadian standards!! — and where to buy food and do banking, etc.

Lunch with WUSC staff, Daphne (COWLHA) and Lucky (YECE) at the Four Seasons

All the Malawians are calling the weather cold — extolling the virtues of the low temperatures in terms of reduced mosquito presence.  Both Patricia and I are astonished that anyone could consider this weather cold!  It’s beautifully temperate — just a bit cool in the evening and morning — and not at all humid.  Perfect weather by any Canadian standards!

This morning we have been given internet access at the WUSC offices which are an easy walk from our accommodation.  Much quicker to walk this morning, too….as the traffic nearby was at a standstill for 45 minutes waiting for the President and his entourage to pass through the vicinity.  Shortly we will leave to visit the locations of our partner organizations.  Patricia is volunteering with the Youth Empowerment and Civic Education (YECE) and I am volunteering with COWLA.   My main contact, Daphne, will not be at the office when I arrive.  She has had to leave for a funeral of a woman who has taken a key leadership role in AIDS advocacy in Malawi.

By the end of the week, Daphne and I are to finalize a work plan for my time here.  This may be a challenge.  Daphne is a one woman whirlwind…there is so much to do.  I am hoping we can focus on one or two things that we can do together that will leave her and her colleagues with a framework and tools for going forward.  Their challenges are huge and the need is urgent.

3 Comments

  1. Mary Childs says:

    Hi Vicki: Glad to hear you arrived safe and sound. If you are experiencing temperate weather by Canadian standards, it must be because we have not. Yesterday at the morning convocation, I think all those in robes were probably glad to have the extra layer of warmth. Brrr! A far cry from the usual steamy conditions of June convocation! I am sure you are anxious to get going on your placement; the proverbial “so much to do, so little time”. Enjoying your blog. Cheers
    Mary

  2. Hélène Fournier says:

    I can’t wait to see a photo. Tu peux pratiquer ton français à Lilongwe? At least, try to think in French.

    Amicalement.

    Hélène

  3. Vicki says:

    Dear Mary and Helene,

    Thanks for your comments! The weather continues to be lovely here….and the Malawians keep complaining of the cold!

    I have been able to use my French a little, Helene!! Je peut praticquer temps de temps mon francais dans ma voyage et a Lilongwe. (Sorry…too hard to put accents on using this keyboard!!)