Azungu means “white person” in Chichewa, the most commonly spoken native language in Malawi. Although I arrived here in Malawi on Friday, Sunday afternoon we finally arrived and the School of Agriculture for Family Independence, or SAFI, for short. Friday and Saturday were pretty easy, laid back days. We stayed at a really nice and fun hostel in Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi. We were able to meet some other Americans who are here on a mission trip and quite a few British families spending their holidays in Africa. It was easy to just sit back, explore Lilongwe, and feel mostly at home. We attended church at the local LDS branch in Lilongwe and it was beautiful. The people were so sincere and kind and the missionaries where really happy to see eight white girls… and me too. We had a nice lunch and then we headed for SAFI.
|Our SAFI welcoming party|
Chichewa is a very complex and beautiful language and I can say some key phrases like “Muli Bwangi” (“How are you?”) and “Zikomo” (“Thank you”), but it took me essentially five years to speak Spanish (four years in school and then the entire first year I lived in Chile). Three months isn’t going to be near long enough to actually learn the language everyone speaks here. Luckily, all the staff here at SAFI speaks English and they can get me out of any translation problems I find myself in.
|Students raise these chickens in class|
|A farmer learned how to increase his yields 10 fold|
Most of this week is actually just to get our bearings here at SAFI. It is actually maize harvesting season so the classes that are normally taught at SAFI are put on hold so the families can harvest the corn, dry it, and move to the warehouse. Most of the interns and I are still just exploring the area and we will start some of our projects later this week once we are a little more familiar with the staff and know where we are most needed. Friday we will head to Lake Malawi and spend the day seeing the sights around there, then head to Lilongwe to spend the weekend there again. I am really excited. My first full day here really has been an adventure but I feel like I am learning more about myself and the amazing people of Malawi a little bit more every second.