Markets, Villages, and Lake Malawi

Village ChildrenIt is difficult to describe very much about this new world to someone who has not been here. I feel that I could spend the rest of my life talking about what I have seen in the past 3 days. I will try my best to give a clear picture of Malawi in brief.

Day 2 (Sunday) started with a van ride to Lake Malawi. We made a few stops and saw many interesting things along the way. Our first two stops were at a gas station and grocery store. The gas station was similar to what you might find in the United States, but the grocery store was not. The grocery is similar to a small general store. Some of our purchases included chocolates, cookies, etc. The street vendors also gave us a taste of the woodcarvig market.

Next, we pulled to the side of the road and paid two children to do a traditional dance to ward off evil spirits. Their costumes covered their face and looked somewhat scary. During this dance, they yelled and waved sticks and a machete. We stayed inside the van for this experience.

Our next stop was at a local village. Our driver, Isaac, is a fantastic tour guide. He stopped at the side of the road and asked permission to tour their village. We learned that each small village is compromised of one’s extended family. This visit almost seemed like a Connor Prarie experience. I was free to walk around the village and ask any questions I had. Up to this point, this gave the best view of how families live.

The woodcarving market basically gave us a chance to shop and support the local economy. It is amazing to see what can be carved from wood. I want to make sure I do not give away too much information about this stop; it would ruin a few gifts.

We finally make it to our hotel on Lake Malawi, which was a surprise paradise. With beutiful views, wild baboons, and exotic accomodations, this truly seemed like paradise. Our view, the sun setting behind a mountain, which looks over the lake, is something that could be seen on the travel channel. The greatest experience, however, was just outside the gates of paradise, where singing could be heard.

We were invited to experience a Malawian wedding celebration in a nearby fishing village. The people, especially, children, immediately surrounded us. Many were begging for sweets, money, bracelets, anything we had. Others still, just seemed excited for our visit. We danced and played with the children. Most people love to get their picture taken and see themselves on camera. This place gave us a real taste of a Malawi village.

I think about the type of learning experience I would be getting from the regular EDEL 450 and EDRDG 430 in Muncie, and it is incomparable. I am learning so much about how other people live and how to interact with other cultures. This experience is greater than any multicultural education class a college could offer.

A far as education is concerned, it is no wonder why Malawi has the challenges it does. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs shows us that people need to meet physiological needs, security needs, and loving needs before they can find deeper meaning in anything. In a country with limited food, water, and security, the system of education is failing. On top of that, famine, HIV/AIDS, and malaria cause many to lose their families and a place to feel loved. With all this going on, how could anyone possibly experience the deeper meaning of anything?

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2 Responses

  1. You seemed to fit quite a bit in one day. Since it is the weekend, are there any religious ceremonies or gatherings?

    Also, since power seems to be limited, are the streets lit?

    Do you notice a difference in the southern hemisphere stars?

    Just wondering… You don’t need to take time to answer on line.

    • There are religious gatherings everyday. The Muslim population sticks out because you can hear thier call to prayer. The only other thing I noticed was some activity around the Christian churches.

      The streets are lit in Lilongwe, the capitol, but that is about it. It surprised me to see so many power lines running through the city. This power, though, is really only utilized by businesses.

      The stars are much easier to see without the city glow or polution from the United States. I could not recognize ny constellations without some type of guide.

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