Congrats to the Luwazi Packers girls football team! Today they won the Nkhata Bay district finals in a shoot out! My goalie stopped two penalty kicks after we finished 1-1. So proud! Go (lady) Pack Go! (at Nkhata Bay, Malawi)
Congrats to the Luwazi Packers girls football team! Today they won the Nkhata Bay district finals in a shoot out! My goalie stopped two penalty kicks after we finished 1-1. So proud! Go (lady) Pack Go! (at Nkhata Bay, Malawi)
Head in the clouds….new PBR marketing campaign (at Mulanje Mountain)
Hey! Thanks for writing. I had a friend go to Mozambique like a month ago, but since then it’s actually been put on travel restriction for Peace Corps Malawi. But I don’t think you’d have any issues. She said it was pretty easy-apparently the visa was 86 bucks. They bought it at the border, but she says that’s not always possible so it’s better to get in advance. They crossed at Mwanza.
Hope that helps! Safe travels…
Our spirits were soaring.
We had just wrapped UP our 2nd full term as teachers in a wonderfully bizarre new land.
We had just completed a successful first planning meeting regarding our upcoming project, Camp SKY: a weeklong education camp for students and teachers across Malawi.
We had just seen P-Square in concert, the duo at the PEAK of African pop stardom.
We had spent a week at a training about medicinal plants and seen our knowledge RISE about treating diseases naturally.
We had scaled a lot of accomplishments in the week leading into the term holiday.
But we had one final summit to conquer…
There and Back Again(?): The Legend(s) of Mulanje
Okay, so these are just a few things I’ve heard about the mythology of Mulanje. Not saying they’re true. Not saying they’re not. But they are…interesting.
-Apparently, according to a few sources, J.R.R. Tolkien found inspiration to write “The Hobbit” after climbing Mount Mulanje. Also he may have named the hobbit habitat “The Shire” after the name of a river and highlands in Malawi. (I read that on the Internet so it’s probs true).
-I’ve heard some Malawians claim that somewhere in the foreboding crags and silhouettes of the mountain, Mulanje harbors a secret population of tribespeople. (Highly unlikely, but maybe that’s where Pauly Shore has been hanging out since the 90s.)
-Mount Mulanje isn’t exactly a mountain, but a massif, or inselberg (basically like an island in the sky). Many times I felt like Lando Calrissian, surveying the empire of my cloud city. It definitely felt like that at times. There are some clashing stats out there about exactly where it ranks on height lists, but I think I can say that at 3,002 meters, Sapitwa, the tallest peak and the place we climbed to, is the highest point in “this part of Africa.”
-Sapitwa roughly translates in Chichewa as “a place where people do not go.”
-one legend I read about concerns “Napolo,” a serpentine entity who slithers his way around the peaks, generating the blanket of nebulous mist that enlaces the upper slopes and sometimes confuses climbers. Locals also blame him for tumultuous weather on the mountain. Guy sounds like a real piece of work.
-a similar legend I read describes a humanlike, one-eye, one-legged, one-armed creature that levitates through the air, waiting to cajole anybody stupid enough to look at it up on the mountain to disappear forever (I found no information leading me in the direction that this creature also has one horn, flies, is purple, has people-eating tendencies, and has a hit song written about it.)
-there are also many more broad legends about the spirits of the first ancient inhabitants of the area who still live on the mountain, playing all sorts of food-related “tricks.” There are many different variations of what the spirits do to travelers, but the version I’ve heard the most is that they haunt you by leaving already prepared food waiting on top of Sapitwa, and all one has to do when faced with this dangerous situation is to just eat all the food without inviting anybody to join in. You gotta scarf it all down, Han-style (Solo). Scary stuff. I actually got a few warnings from people saying “DON’T EAT THE NSIMA!” or “don’t share your food at the peak!” some of them being co-teachers upon hearing of our plan to climb Mulanje. The mysticism of this legend and a lot of witchcraftery is deeply rooted in many Malawians. Many ask permission from the spirits before attempting to ascend the mountain. But I don’t really get why spirits would do this food curse thingy. Do they want us to try a new recipe they saw on Rachel Ray? Is there a lesson in it-Don’t be rude? Dont share? Are the spirits being generous or just getting a good laugh from watching us try to descend a mountain with a full belly? Are we not worthy to climb their mountain if we can’t even finish this easy task? Whatevs the case, the sense is that the spirits are always watching. Like that song by the Police…
On the other hand, there have been plenty of reports, even in recent years, of people going missing on the mountain, their bodies never to be found. Oftentimes by locals, this is chalked up to angering or disobeying the spirits. So I guess if you ever plan on climbing Mount Mulanje, come with an open mind, an open heart, and an open stomach.
Day 1: A Journey Begins AKACurse of the Mulanje Rice
It was the morning of March 29th. Six other volunteers and I set off from the house of one of us that stays near the base of the mountain. We crammed into a mini bus, our heads abuzz with expectations of what Mulanje would hold. When we got to our turnoff we snapped pictures with the majestic mountain face looming in the background. We gawked at a giant truck piled high with sugar cane, and passengers on top of that. We chatted with locals. We laughed. Oh how we laughed. But soon, soon, the laughter would stop (mostly).
A truck finally arrived to take us to the point where we would set up the trail. We winded upwards through villages, and the further we went up the more we wondered how people could live up from such a steep climb (and we continued to pass villagers working all up the mountain, treating the day like any other while we huffed and puffed our way past). Finally we reached the start of our trail. The first stretch was pretty easy. We crossed a picturesque, rocky stream, and were already met with spectacular views for miles. “We’re this far up already? This is gonna be easy!” thought past Cam to himself. “These gorges are gorgeous!” Oh past Cam, what an ignorant naive dolt you were! (but solid work on that wordplay, bro).
As we trekked on, the trail became steeper and steeper. Soon what was a leisurely upward stroll had turned into an arduous ascent that sometimes necessitated the use of hands to pull up on rocks. As we escalated, we could feel the air becoming cooler, our breath becoming harder to catch, and our surroundings becoming more jungle-ier (we also realized that while we were dying, our porters carrying our huge packs were barely showing any signs of fatigue. Jerks). It soon became like a whole new ecosystem than from the bottom, with lush vegetation, streams, waterfalls, and mist. Soon we came to a much-needed flat area-we had reached the first plateau. We then traipsed through more forest and crossed more streams. It was beautiful. We took a break on the top of a waterfall with a view of our lodge in (far) sight. When we finally reached it, what was supposed to take us 4-5 hours had instead taken like 7. In a recurring theme, our porters (we had 4 carrying all our stuff for us) had underestimated our slowness. This got more and more infuriating as the terrain got more and more difficult. Our lodge, Luchenya, was like an expansive ski lodge, with one large open room and two connecting side rooms. We were the only ones there. The watchman was super nice and made us a fire for hot water so we could bathe. He also had a side business carving sticks out of wood, so heck yes why would I not buy a super coool walking stick? The two other guys and me decided to look for some natural pools he told us about, but we got lost and never found them. Our way back was more steep and tiring than anything we had climbed that day. It was a sign of what was to come.
We (the porters) had carried some rice and vegetables with us that we decided to cook for dinner. I’m not sure if it was the Mulanje spirits messing with us, or own ineptitude that caused our end product to be this gross ricey porridgy disaster that was somehow mushy and crunchy at the same time and okra that appeared to be oozing puss. We were so hungry we ate it anyway. Perhaps this was the first sign of the Mulanje curse…
Day 2: Cloud City
After a hearty breakfast of oatmeal and the soundtrack from “Top Gun,” we were amped to continue our journey. Little did we know that like Tom Cruise and Goose, we were indeed on the highway to the Danger Zone. Yesterday had been tough, but not unbearable, and how could today be any worse? The first stretch wasn’t. Actually it was mostly downhill. Which should have been an omen that things were about to get hella-worse. Before they did, we stopped at a beautiful spot where we could stare out amongst the open sky. I felt like Lando Calrissian, surveying my cloud empire. But soon, we smacked right into the reality that down, down, down, means up, up, up. The last leg before reaching our next hut was about as brutal as it was beautiful. The scenery was breathtaking (literally). As soon as it seemed like we had reached the top to the next plateau there was another taunting stretch of rocks to climb. Finally we reached our destination: Chiseto. The original plan was to rest there, go to the peak, come back, and finish our descent the next day. But we were all so beat we decided to stop for the day and finish the rest tomorrow (wishful thinking). But the spot, like the rest of the mountain, was splendiferous. We had much needed warm baths, and chilled by a babbling stream where we had a TALULAR boat race. We played Mafia and charades in the lodge, and dinner was much less of an ordeal. But the night was not without it’s share of omens. An innocent picture-snapping next to the fire revealed a blurry figure shaped like a person chilling in the corner. A spirit warning us about continuing further, perhaps? And there was also a weird animal noise several of us heard outside during the night…was this the warning cry of Napolo as to the fury he was set to unleash on us the following day?
Day 3: Ain’t No Mountain High enough AKA The Curse of the Broken Vibrams AKA Vertical Limit
So we woke again to the inspiring songs of Top Gun. We were tired, but ready to make this mountain ours. We still couldn’t even see the peak we were climbing to, but despite this I kept telling myself it was just that next one over yonder. We went up a path similar to the difficulty of what we had already done. I took a look back at the sky full of clouds, and I couldn’t help but feel like Lando, surveying my cloud empire. Then things got hairy. The next stretch seemed like it was almost straight vertical. This was the only stretch where I felt afraid for my life. We were crawling from rockhold to rockhold on all fours, at some points feeling like I was one false move from tumbling all the way back down. This was the scariest and most physically taxing part, but also kind of the funniest for some sick reason. Eventually we made it up this rock face to an area more flat. Me and another guy, feeling invincible, decided to keep going beyond the group, following the red markers on the rocks that led the way. We were flying now, and no obstacle stood in our way. We were really cool and awesome. Then the trail stopped. We reached some type of peak, but there was no way we were at the top because we were still staring up at more mountain. We yelled for the group, and finally heard a yell coming from ahead of us. We had taken a wrong turn to a different peak and had lost the group. We backtracked, and eventually caught up with the group, but could see the mists rolling in, and def could’ve gotten lost. Another sign? Anyway, we kept going, and soon Sapitwa Peak was in sight. It looked like a castle, made up of rock and clouds. I couldnt help but feel like Lando, surveying my cloud empire. Here things started to get treacherous again. We climbed through crannies, hopped over quarries, scaled rock walls and soon came upon the last test:the rusty pole of fate. There was a large gap, with a deep fall below, and the distance was too far to jump, so luckily somebody had put a metal, notscarylookingatall pole across the gap to use as a brace. Luckily, our porters were rockstars, and they helped us up with no issue. And then, after a few more small climbs, we were at the peak. It was…underwhelming. It was cloudy, and we couldn’t see anything. Perhaps we had angered the spirits, because a thick mist was starting to envelop us. The peak was actually not as cold as everybody said it would be. So it was not that cool, in 2 different ways. After a photo-op at the peak, we decided to go down, if we wanted to make it to the bottom that day. After a while of starting and waiting for the last person to catch up, we decided to just haul it and leave the straggler behind with 3 porters, so we could pack everything up and be ready to go by the time everybody caught up at the lodge on the 2nd plateau. But the mountain had other plans. The mist was closing in, making everything seem more ominous. This seemed to confuse our guide, one of the younger porters, who kept having to stop and look for the trail. Then the curse struck in full force. One of us in our group was wearing Vibrams, those shoes that are like fingergloves for your feet, and they had been slowly deteriorating throughout our climb. We had tried many techniques to fix them, but now they were at the point where they kept falling apart and were becoming dangerous. So she ditched them. Yep, this brave climber had left her shoes behind to continue the rest of the descent over sharp rocks and sticks barefoot. Apparently her shoes were the sacrifice the mountain demanded. So remember that part that seemed like it was vertical and super hard and stuff? Yeah, we still had to traverse that, in the now-treacherous mist, one of us with no shoes. I gave her my walking stick to try to alleviate some of the difficulty. It was even more dangerous going down. My fellow two-peaker started walking down too fast, and kept gaining speed until he was running, and I thought he was gonna die. Luckily he ran into a bush which knocked him down, leaving being only a few glory bruises. Then no-shoes girl took a digger, grabbed on to the girl ahead of her, and they both went down and rolled a good 5 feet down the mountain. I thought they were gonna die. Then, my stick broke. He actually did die. We took it slow down the face as the mist became more and more thick. Finally we reached the lodge, and an hour later we had all made it safely. Once again, our porters misjudged our slowness, and the reason we rushed ahead and left our friend behind-to make it all the way down-was for naught. So we stayed another night, and we all felt like a-holes for leaving her behind with the pushy porters (she was cool about it). We were all too tired and ornery to do anything after that so we ate peanut butter sammies and went to bed. It didn’t even matter that we reached the peak. We just wanted to get off the effing mountain.
Day 4: Victory?
The next day we started our descent down the mountain. The route was different, and I think even more scenic. I was in a great mood, we had conquered the mountain for denny’s sake, but most of us were pissed and ready to never do this again. We made our way down meandering through rolling hills, q-Berting across gushing rivers, and swooping beneath trees in the jungle. This also took longer then previously mentioned via the porter-house, stakes which led to a minor (hilarious) breakdown while crossing a river (see what I did there?). Towards the bottom, we came to a majestic waterfall that might have been the coolest thing on the mountain. It emptied into a natural pool, and heck yes you bet I swam in it! Soon we were at the bottom. I think it was harder than we all anticipated, and a lot of us were feeling pretty salty (emotionally feom the stress and physically from the sweat), but once we all got back into town and had some victory pizza we could look back and laugh. As we drove away from the mountain in the back of a pick-up ride hitch with a bunch of journalism students, I couldn’t help but look back at that bastard of a mountain, see the clouds encircling it’s craggy heights, and feel like Lando Calrissian, surveying my cloud empire.
So is the curse real? You decide.
Next up? Kilimanjaro!
So I don’t really post day-to-day happenings on here as much as I do on the Twitters or Bookface…so I thought I would post a select few tweets and status updates to give you more of a glimpse into daily life.
Some of them may seem a little cynical or negative or mean, but they are meant as a joke. I love Malawi. Usually.
If surviving this week on spray cheese and tobasco sammiches is a wrong thing…I don’t wanna be right Wed Apr 24
Nothing like being attacked by chickens in the staff room on the first day back #thisisafrica Mon Apr 22
“What is Love?” just came on in my bus and now my life is reallycomplete #headbobbin
Why is the family matters theme song stuck in my head? Fri Apr 12
I’m assuming Louisville won the game due to the fact my head hasn’t spontaneously exploded #muckfichigan Tue Apr 09
Just got forced to do standup comedy in Nkhata Bay because the power went out…not cool Sun Apr 07
I just heard a Malawian band cover Phil Collins. My life is complete #thinktwice Wed Apr 03
“It ain’t me Ama” #abombodylan Sun Mar 24
“Kwacha doesn’t talk it swears” #abombodylan Sun Mar 24
“Stuck outside of Mzimba with the Mzuzu blues again” #abombodylan Sun Mar 24
Sometimes when I listen to Bob Dylan on the bus I like to change the lyrics to pretend he’s Malawian #abombodylan Sun Mar 24
Visiting the homestay fam! What up #Katsekaminga #trending Sat Mar 23
Pumped to chop some money tonight! Can we show you the ribbon dance we choreographed to the song?!? Or at least get a RT? @PeterPsquare Sat Mar 16
Camp Sky is gonna be dope! #mediarelationscoordinator Fri Mar 15
This street vendor is vehemently shoving his shaving razors in my face screaming BUY BUY #notafanofthebeard Thu Mar 14
Just realized iz listenin 2 @loscampesinos while wearin my @loscampesinos shirt on a minibus in Africa.My head hurts #sweetdreamssweetcheeks Wed Mar 13
Term 2 in the books #officiallyonholiday Wed Mar 13
Just did my clothes-washing for the first time since #domthehipsterwasherboy left me, using my own tears to supply the water…. :< Sun Mar 10
You guys, my Liam Neesom impression is coming along! #whyijoinedpeacecorps #iamalone Thu Mar 07
This chicken better not tell anyone I peed in my backyard instead of walking all the way to the chim #snitchesgetstitches #dontblowmywhistle Wed Feb 27
The strike is over! We did it! Time to celebrate by getting lakeinated and Carlsberginated #mokwachamoprobs ? Fri Feb 22
Teacher’s strike in Malawi! Let’s knock some stuff over!!??!!! AHHHHHHH #allaboutthekwacha #civilservantunrest Thu Feb 21
What better place to discover The Afghan Whigs than Africa I ask you? Afghanistan? A crochet class? Parliament? Elton John’s hair piece? Mon Feb 18
My coteacher accidentally slid a book off the table and I no-look snagged it out of the air #stillgotit #catlike #whymyfriendscallmewhiskers Mon Feb 18
Good for you for giving up taking showers over 15 minutes in length. I am inspired to do the same with my bucket baths! Sun Feb 17
U gave up McDonalds for 40days? I cant even explain what a burger is to my students. “so it’s beef-on bread.” SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT MPHATSO Sun Feb 17
RT @malawivoice: Man Spend Three Years In Prison For Having Sex With A Goat http://t.co/IAm9BhQ8 Sat Feb 16 16:10:11 +0000 2013
teaching the use of quotation marks-student:”sir, I thought those were called inverted commas?” me:”no. That’s stupid.” #whoops #rolemodel Wed Feb 13
Watched the entire first season of Homeland today #bigday Sat Feb 09
“Bustghosters” a new, fun ghost hunting show coming to you soon from Ross Childs & Cam Stanley. “2 guys. 1 camera. Not a ghost of a chance” Fri Feb 08
Just saw my first morbidly obese malawian! why am i suddenly so homesick? Sat Feb 02
Yeah okay i have a fever. #googleconfirmed Wed Jan 30
Is 38.3 degrees a fever? I don’t speak Celsius #dibsbritishboybandname Wed Jan 30
Teaching conjunctions today. This is when having no tech sucks, we can’t get our schoolhouse rock on #conjunctionjunction #whatsurfunction Tue Jan 29
Well today in form 3 we learned what a hamburger is and listened to MLKs #ihaveadream- another life-changing Monday in Sir Stanley’s class Mon Jan 28
Sometimes you wake up in #Malawi thinking about old folk songs Fri Jan 25
Nice try Peter Paul and Mary, u can deny it all you want but we know what Puff the Magic Dragon was about…the kids name was Jackie Paper! Fri Jan 25
Ghanas a bunch of flashy showboats with sparkly jerseys and dumb painted Mohawks ..mess em up Mali! #avengetheflames #africacupofnations Thu Jan 24
This is the most boring soccer announcer in the history of the world. dude, MOTO! Its the #AfricanCupofnations ya dingus #illtakeonetogotogo Tue Jan 22
Sweatier than Newt Gingrich (in general) #hotseason #africa Sun Jan 20
Sweatier than Winona Ryder at JC Penny’s #hotseason #Africa Sun Jan 20
Sweatier than Lance Armstrong on Oprah #hotseasoniscoming #Africa #relevanttweet Sun Jan 20
Listenin 2 bob dylan in Africa reminds me of the afroamermusic class dis. in college when in a debate on his voice I claimed he invented rap Sun Jan 20
“this park is never ever ever getting built”-mark brandanowitz parks&rec “we are never ever ever getting back together”-Tswift 2012. Soulmates? Thu Jan 17
Whoever drafts Te’o this year gonna make bank…instead of real $$ they’ll be able 2 pay him in dragon eggs #releventsportstweet #stormborn Thu Jan 17
My poop looks like Nutella…am I eating too much Nutella? #worthit Wed Jan 16
I never appreciated the creamy majesty of Nutella until now. #carepackagerevelations Mon Jan 14
I like it when it rains. Nobody bothers me when it rains. #iblesstherains Sat Jan 12
Just picked up 5 packages from the post office and a Malawian told me I have a nice load Sat Jan 12
Well at least now I know I’m not a bad luck charm for the badgers in rose bowls… Wed Jan 02
RIP 2012 (2012-2012) Wed Jan 02
Can I adopt this adorable Malawian child band playing “Who let the Dogs Out” on the beach and train them for African Idol? #inthebag Sun Dec 30
Drinking baobab wine with a dude named caesar. Things could be worse #malawiholiday Tue Dec 18
might as well call me Bridge to Terabithia because I make all the children cry Wed Dec 12
I think they shot the dharmaville scenes from #lost at Mzuzu university #samezies #chimodzimodz #Zuniville Fri Dec 07
Barry Alvarez coaching in the Rose Bowl!? Yeah right, and I live in Africa… Thu Dec 06
So I guess I have a student named Ketness. She got a B on the exam so I wrote “ON FIRE” atop her paper…think she’ll get it? #hungergames Wed Dec 05
Because sometimes in Africa you have impromptu water gun wars with little French Expat kids. @ A1 Restaurant Tue Dec 04
Watching breaking bad in Africa. The ep where Walt blows up the car. This show is the best Sun Dec 02
If I can get a saxophone I just found a band to join Thu Nov 29
I’m wearing Kevin Durant specs, a @boniver shirt, rolled up jeans, and chucks. I guarantee I’m the biggest hipster in Malawi right now Thu Nov 29
Best comment ever: “I don’t like when students shart in class.” #endoftermfeedbackcomments #ithinkhemeantchat #mabesnot Tue Nov 27
Another adjective a student wrote 2 describe me:”only babys was eating food at the morning” #endoftermfeedbackcomments #whatsanadjective Tue Nov 27
I told students to pick an adjective to describe me. Top 3 were “beautiful” “handsome” and “brown” #explanibrag #endoftermfeedbackcomments Tue Nov 27
“I have no questions about America because you tell us a lot about it especially Wisconsin and green bay” #endoftermfeedbackcomments Tue Nov 27
“I admire to see America how do I walk to America” #endoftermfeedbackcomments Tue Nov 27
“you are a good American man” #endoftermfeedbackcomments Tue Nov 27
“You can improve your job if you praise to God” #endoftermfeedbackcomments Tue Nov 27
What’s the deal with hot season?! I’m so sweaty I feel like a pedophile at a Raffi concert #jerryseinfeldmalawistandup #slapbass Tue Nov 27
What’s with rainy season!? Did I accidentally order this bath to go? #jerryseinfeldmalawistandup #slapbass Tue Nov 27
The Luwazi Packers beat the Mpamba whatevers 3-2 yesterday in a friendly. Yeah I got permish to make our school the packers #insportingnews Mon Nov 26
Played some @blobtower for my students in Malawi. They thought it was “sad, but good.” About to blow up in Africa, yo! #malawisotawisconsin Fri Nov 23
What if hand turkeys were a real thing. Picture it….now scream #angstgiving Thu Nov 22
At least my lame #angstgiving in africa will be better than the one at the #Petraeus family household! #cheatsgiving Thu Nov 22
Oh you can’t finish your plate? Jerk. #angstgiving Thu Nov 22
Have fun watching football tomorrow buttbreaths #angstgiving Wed Nov 21
Have fun getting school off this week douchecoptors. #angstgiving Wed Nov 21
Have fun eating till you sleep tomorrow turdburglers #angstgiving Wed Nov 21
Peanut butter and tobasco sandwich. Not bad when you don’t feel like taking 30 minutes to build a fire in hot season. #pcvlyfe Tue Nov 20
Already finished with the material for term one…so mabes today I’ll just teach my Malawian students how to say THE BEARS STILL SUCK Tue Nov 20
That new fun. Song is effing dope. #relavanttweet #thisisitboysthisiswar Mon Nov 19
Murmuration is the coolest word ever #lookitup #starlings Sat Nov 17
All you can eat buffet. Gordon Lightfoot is playing. Can life get better? Probs. but this is pretty sweet #gordsgold Fri Nov 16
Chilling on lake Malawi, see an orange light across the lake and reach for it. #gatsbymoment Fri Nov 16
Bout to rout some Malawians in pool #hustlin Fri Nov 16
“sexiest man alive” scoreboard: Channing tatum: 1, me: 0. You win this round, kimosabe. #watchyoback Fri Nov 16
“I will try…to fix you…” nervous veterinarian talking to a particularly difficult dog to spey #Coldplay #x&y Wed Nov 14
It may have taken three hours, but I’ve finally downloaded star wars angry birds. SO. AWESOMESAUCE. Tue Nov 13
My cat is a killing machine! #suckitmice #chambiko Mon Nov 12
Don’t judge me. Don’t act like you’ve never blasted @taylorswift13 from your computer in a coffee shop in Malawi before! I know you! Sat Nov 10
Starting a #journey singalong in the trunk of a car in Africa? Cross it off the bucket list! Fri Nov 09
Even in Africa, #hoobastank cannot be avoided. Blerg. #andthereasonisyouuuu #barfcity Fri Nov 09
Africans love them some Obama Fri Nov 09
RT @AmnestyOnline: Suspension of anti-homosexuality laws in #Malawi a historic step forward http://t.co/gNrCcaPv #humanrights #LGBT Tue Nov 06
I don’t know what’s crazier…living in Africa or reading about all these bomb @TCrabtree83 touchdowns all the time #trustthetats Mon Nov 05
Q; how many Malawians does it take to fill a mini-bus? A: All the Malawians. All. The. Malawians. #fullhouse #imholdingababy Sun Nov 04
That moment when u discover the denomination of the mission u live on is actually 7th day Adventist and not 7th day ADVENTURIST! #lamesauce Wed Oct 31
These #sandy tweets about having no power and no hot water are just adorable. Welcome to #peacecorpslyfe #staysafe Wed Oct 31
I had a dream last night I was trapped in a zombie apocalypse with Jeff Winger. Do I watch too much #community? @joelmchale we won. Wed Oct 31
#quarterlifecrisis #africa Mon Oct 29
The bar just sang happy birthday to me at midnight. That’s nice #bdaylove @ Maji Zuwa, Karonga Sun Oct 28
Aaaand rainy season just arrived. My life is now a #toto song. #iblesstherains Thu Oct 25
Gradin midterms, bumpin new @taylorswift13 (totes awesome!), sippin tea. You know, man things! #wheninmalawi #peacecorpslyfe @lyd_stan1 Wed Oct 24
It’s Too Late (To Love me Now) by #dollyparton just came on. My Malawian coteacher walks in, closes his eyes, and says “it’s never too late” Mon Oct 22
If you think about it, cannibals are the most human of us all. #youarewhatyoueat Fri Oct 19
The watchman is smoking a cig while he is kicking people out the door. Also he’s drunk. #malawistyle #bamf? Fri Oct 19
It is now officially the sabbath! No more dancing! God hates that! #shutitdown #footloosestyle this has been #midtermdisco #ineedabeer Fri Oct 19
Now we bumpin…leave it to rhiana to get the beat going #nopunintended #violenceisbad #chrisbrownisadoosh #midtermdisco Fri Oct 19
Srsly nobody is dancing…this is even more awk than American dances. At least this one dudes super into it. #probsdrunk #midtermdisco Fri Oct 19
These rando little kids here are the only ones bustin a move #goshawty #midtermdisco Fri Oct 19
Avril! #socomplicated #midtermdisco Fri Oct 19
If Malawi has taught me anything, it’s that Akon and Celion Dion are quite the 1-2 punch #lethalcombo #midtermdisco Fri Oct 19
A real sausage fest so far. Or the Malawian equivalent of sausage. Goat meat? #midtermdisco Fri Oct 19
This kid just showed up with a chain around his neck. Like an actual chain…with a padlock on it #bling #midtermdisco Fri Oct 19
Nobody gets that iz being ironic when I yell FREEBIRD @ the dj. Also nobody has ever heard the song FREEBIRD #midtermdisco #lynyrd #ALLCAPS Fri Oct 19
It wouldn’t be anything in Malawi without #chopmymoney Fri Oct 19
It wouldn’t be a disco in Malawi without “Chop My Money” #psquare #midtermdisco Fri Oct 19
This kid is a freakin wizard with this audio equipment. I have no idea how this is working… #midtermdisco Fri Oct 19
Should I live tweet our student disco (dance)? Ok #midtermdisco Fri Oct 19
I heard they tore #Brothers down in Madison. Now I can come back to America! #whyireallywenttoafrica Fri Oct 19
Iz now on the entertainment committee at my Malawian school. @boniver can u play our disco? Beth/rest would b the ideal African slow dance! Thu Oct 18
Too many totes adorbs Malawian babies on mah minibus! CUTE OVERLOAD Mon Oct 15
Ghanas a bunch of cheaters…but go packers! #realfootball Mon Oct 15
I’m getting cheers at the market in Lilongwe for wearing my Malawi flames jersey. I’m a big deal… #afcon #gameday #ghanasux Sat Oct 13
Waitin in the depot for my bus to leave. Super fun times. Are we there yet? I need to get there in time for the game tomorrow Duhdoy! #afcon Fri Oct 12
Watching the lion king in Africa. So meta. #coolcoolcool Wed Oct 10
I forgot how awesome dr. horrible is. Thanks, Africa! #statussonotquo Mon Oct 08
Playin to the cameras while you’re prayin to the gods #hungrygames #inafrica Sun Oct 07
just took my cray malaria meds, have a bottle of whiskey, and am reading Hunter S Thompson. Stuffs getting weird #fearandloathinginmalawi Sat Oct 06
In Malawi PTA meetings are during school and they last 3.5 hours. Good thing I snuck in Game of thrones #songofriceandfire #nsimaforcrows Thu Oct 04
Malawi lit textbooks are a joke sometimes. Time to go off script. Kids! Today we’re reading Hunter S. Thompson! I’m excited too! #justonepage #rogueteacher Tue Oct 02
@brandtpm Malawians love them some @meridene at least my friend Bandawe does….Africa reunion tour? PUHLEEEZE!? Sun Sep 30
Care package. With bacon. And cheese. All the major food groups. Fri Sep 28
My iPhone has been missing for 4 days. My local friends used witchcraft to bring it back. #hogwartsisreal Fri Sep 28
When your kwachas gone, and you’re drunk as hell. #bonivermalawiversion Sat Sep 22
Sitting on my back porch. In Africa. Watching night. Drinking Malawi Rum with coke. Listening to @boniver Life is good Sat Sep 22
Chibuku!? What? I wanted a drink! Not thrown up egg nog! If I wanted that, I’d just go to my Aunt Edna’s for Xmas! #jerryseinfeldmalawistandup Sat Sep 22
Chombe? Chombo? Chamba? I try to order the fish and some rasta brings me a doobie! What’s the deal with that! #jerryseinfeldmalawistandup Sat Sep 22
I cant buy cheese but there r so many cows & goats here! what do they do all day-try 2 sell tourists their art? #jerryseinfeldmalawistandup Sat Sep 22
What’s the deal with nsima? I try to eat it but i can’t because my fingers are glued together! HOW DO I EAT YOU? #jerryseinfeldmalawistandup Sat Sep 22
Who named the cities in this country? I just wanted 2 see some animal exhibits and 3 hours later the taxi drops me in Mzuzu! #jerryseinfeldmalawistandup Sat Sep 22
What’s with sugarcane in this place! Everybody’s addicted to it! Sugar cane? More like crack cocane! #jerryseinfeldmalawistandup Sat Sep 22
What’s the deal with transport in this country? Ya know which way I took back to my hotel last night? LiLONGwe! #jerryseinfeldmalawistandup Sat Sep 22
Wore my cutoffs today. They were a hit! #boreholeupdate #nevernude Fri Sep 21
THESE ARE MAN TEARS #abedsuncontrollablexmas Thu Sep 20
It’s impossible 2 watch #abedsuncontrollablexmas w/o crying. Even more impossible when u factor in the whole being all alone in africa thang #community Thu Sep 20
Spoon broke. I could throw it out now, or use it gingerly to eat this rice and then BOOM: less dishes tomorrow! #peacecorpslife #iwantcheese Tue Sep 18
Listenin 2 tallest man on earth whilst ridin on a truck bed meandering thru African mtns kinda makes you feel like the tallest man on earth Tue Sep 18
No matter the continent, Monday mornings suck donkey balls #whatilearnedinpeacecorps Mon Sep 17
First time watching community in Africa! What was your first time like? #sixseasonsandamovie Sun Sep 16
So you can slay marlon brando and still be a 2 term president. But only if you are Martin Sheen #bamf #thehorror #thehorror #apocalypsenowinafrica Mon Sep 10
Guess what time I flossed today? 2:30 #nailedit #hate #toothhurty Mon Sep 10
2.5 months in Malawi and I have flossed more times than I did for the entire year before leaving. That’s once! #cleankid #dontellmydentist Mon Sep 10
Sometimes when you sit and wait to draw water you brainstorm fantasy football team names #50shadesofclay #sittononyoface #jjordysfjordys Mon Sep 10
Waitin at borehole clad in timthomas bucks jersey, high school tennis team shorts, bandana, and aviators. Even in USA I’d look effin redic Mon Sep 10
Amateur Love. In Africa. Bet nobody’s ever tweeted that before. #coolkid Fri Sep 07
Wanna know the best thing about my #winniethepoohbear sheets? They are #classicpooh #winningafrica #winninglife Wed Sep 05
Just cooked for the first time over a fire of my own. this means jack to you but I am running around the house like tom hanks #WILSON #moto Mon Sep 03
Huge netball match goin on. Netball=african basketball but w/o a net. Alanis morisette could write a song about this #ironic #whereami Sun Sep 02
Have you ever played #apples2apples in africa? I have Sat Sep 01
Whatsup Lake Malawi @ Chitenche Beach Sat Sep 01
Hrungarr Games calendar now hung. This house just became a home. Sat Sep 01
Can’t even start a gd fire. I’m gonna starve #thirdworldprobs Fri Aug 31
I’ve made a friend named “Alligator.” he’s effin crazay. Fri Aug 31
It’s time to swear in as a Peace Corps Volunteer!!! @ Peace Corps Headquarters, Lilongwe, Malawi Wed Aug 29
BSB>N*sync. There are times you have to defend this dynamic whilst in Africa. Like now. Wed Aug 29
bad news for lance armstrong, then neil dies? watch your back, stretch armstrong! #currentevents #iaminformed Tue Aug 28
I’d be the fastest sprinter ever if the other runners were trying to tell me spoilers about current murican movies and tv Mon Aug 27
Gordon Lightfoot. In Malawi. Best. #gordsgold Mon Aug 27
I am now officially an “Advanced-Low” speaker of Chitumbuka. Résumé gold? Mon Aug 27
I am playing pool in Africa. Totes normal. @ Ed’s Bar, Dedza Sun Aug 26
Maybe you don’t need the whole world to love you, you know, maybe you just need one person. -Kermit #frogwisdom #muppetsinafrica Thu Aug 23
Malawi gin and pictionary. Coolcoolcool Mon Aug 20
Just saw a billboard that said “VASECTOMY: for men who love their spouses”? #amazeballs #iminafrica Wed Aug 15
Apparently there are a crap ton of monkeys where I’m going to live and my headteacher just gave me permish to train one as a pet #dreamsdocometrue Wed Aug 15
Pooped in a toilet today. It’s the little things…. Mon Aug 13
I moved out of homestay today. I’ll miss ya, Bvumbwe fam. Sun Aug 12
africa be craazaayyyy Sat Jul 28
i am in africa. i am aliiiiiive….. Sun Jul
Africa bound! @ John F. Kennedy International Airport Wed Jun 20
Last beer in murica for a while #itsmillertime #wiscopride @ Holiday Inn Wed Jun 20
(this was a pic of my last miller!)
I haven’t been in a lot of airports but I’ve been in enough to know that this one blows #failadelphia Tue Jun 19
Next to me on that flight: 50 year old doctor and his 25 year old Cambodian bride. Huh Tue Jun 19
Peace out #eauclaire Tue Jun 19
The Book updates (my default language is pirate):
Tharrrsdy roundabouts 6:35in the mornin’ ·
Just when you think rainy season is over, mother nature says, “AW HELLS NO BIZNATCHES!” Time to break out the Toto again…
Arrrpril 19 near Lumbadzi, Dowa ·
I joined a band last night I guess. They gave me an africa necklace. They’re called Chikondi which means love in chichewa. I think that’s right. Looking to record album in may, and I guess they can get a sax for me. Why not?
Arrrpril 12 From ye olde Instagram ·
So I bought this Greg Jemmings shirt at a market in Nkotakota for 500 kwacha….and now I’ve finally gotten around to lighting it aflame in a ceremonial cleansing fire. It says “I put the team on my back!” on the back. Waste of a solid shirt. Way to be a traitor, Greg. #begreat
(pic of shirt aflame)
Arrrpril 10 ·
After about 10 minutes of periodically throwing rocks at chickens that keep trying to creep into my back yard while I was trying to make some care package bacon Mac & velveeta I came to the realization that my evening had morphed into some sick game of bizarro Angry Birds. #africanlyfe #alsowheresmywater
Arrrpril 8 ·
So my roomies (the lizards that live in my roof and walls) did the sweetest thing ever and left me some homemade gifts (their poops) to come back to from holiday! You guys I never cry but….
Marrrch 2 ·
If there’s one thing I’ve learned so far in the Peace Corps, it’s that soccer parents are ubiquitously annoying in any language or culture.
Februarrrry 21 ·
Today I have been in Malawi for exactly 8 months, and I haven’t pooped my pants once! I’m changing the world!
Februarrry 20 ·
Less than 2 years ago I played an active part in the Wisconsin teacher protests against a stupid, teacher-hating ignoramous named Scott Walker (I balmy-ed my language, mostly because my mother is my friend on the Fbook) and now there is a teacher strike in Malawi. I guess I am an incendiary figure in worldwide education?
Februarrry 18 ·
Just another day in the village: saw a 13-year-old boy walking by the football pitch rocking a plaid Oxford shirt, super tight pink sequined jeans, calf-length white rain boots, a black frilly scarf, a sailor cap, and a large shovel, which was nonchalantly propped against his shoulder like it was just another long day of digging them holes. I need to either start a Malawian fashion blog, start carrying my camera with me wherever I go, or BOTH, duh.
Februarrry 4 ·
Over/under: 10 days until I see my first 49ers Super Bowl 47 Champions gear here in Malawi?
Jan 30 ·
Who has two thumbs and just pulled off a successful “Who Has Two Thumbs and…” joke in his Malawian Form 3 class as evidenced by his students going absolutely bazonkers in response? …….THIS GUY <points thumbs to himself>
MOTO MOTO MOTO (kudos) to Kelly Stanley who worked like a champ to raise over $600 selling pies to teachers at her school, Lakeshore Elementary in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, to send to my school, Luwazi Community Day Secondary School in Nkhata Bay, Malawi, for much needed books. It’s kind of hard to meet the reading part of the curriculum when you have one copy of the literature book in a class of 40 students, and 13 copies of the grammar book for your class of 85. Hella proud and thankful of you! All the teachers and students at Luwazi thank you and everybody who contributed/helped with the fundraiser! YEWO TAWONGA
Jan 9 ·
So say that one of your students just offered to sell you a baby monkey they caught…
Jan 2 near Cape Maclear, Mangochi ·
Got to see so many Malawian animals in their natural habitat this holiday break: elephants, hippos, warthogs, baboons, birds, drunk crotchety British expats, little kid iwe bands that only know “Who Let the Dogs Out” and like 2 other songs, rastas relentlessly selling curios on the beach, penny-pinching Peace Corps Volunteers, vibrant cichlids, fish eagles, South African high schoolers migrated north for the winter, and male specimens displaying their masculinity to potential mates through barfighting. And flies. Oh so many flies. It was hard to be away from home, but overall it was a good first holiday in Malawi!
Dec 6, 2012 ·
Let’s celebrate the end of my first term teaching in Africa by playing a fun game called “Which One of my Malawian Students Has the Most Baller-ingly Awesome Name?” (don’t worry, we talked and I have legal Facebook, marketing, and franchising rights to use their names…it cool). The choices:
A): Bonface Ngwira (has never heard of Bon Iver)
B): Jaffari Kaunda (has never heard of Aladdin)
C): Afikepu Manda (not sure if this is a boys or girls name but either is equally awesome)
D): Titus Kamanga (don’t mess with somebody named Titus)
E): Six Jackson (three times as cool as being named “Two”)
F): Oscar Chiphwamfu (gotta love the obscure American firstname-totally African surname combo)
G): King Mkwakwa (say it out loud. You just had the most fun you’ll have all day)
H): Simeon Kalua (like the liqueur)
I): Good Son Zimamdiwawa (lots of pressure not to disappoint Father Zamamdiwawa)
J:) Fortunate Son Chinjati (has never heard of CCR)
K): Amos Nyama (Nyama means “meat” in Chitumbuka, btw)
L): Arbie Nyasulu (makes a mean “roast nyama na ngombe” sandwich, if you get my drift)
M): Ketness Mhone (GIRL ON FIRE!)
Vote for your favorite awesome name, and the winner gets candy. Huge shoutout to them and all my students for making this term frustratingly, headsmackingly, rewardingly worthwhile…YEWO TAWONGA (ps-they all got candy, but I’ll give the winner an extra piece on the D L…)
(Six Jackson was the winner!)
Nov 14, 2012 near Nkhata Bay ·
Form One English today:
Me: “So that’s when we use commas….”
Students start giggling and I realize they do it whenever I say the word “comma.”
Students: uproarious laughter, then random students start chirping “cahmmma”
Me: “What? Am I saying it wrong? Pretty sure I’m the native speaker of English here?…”
Student in front row: “Sir, it’s called coma.”
Me: “Yeah…no it isn’t. A coma is when somebody looks like they are dead, yet they are still alive, they just seem as they have been asleep for a very long time. But they appear lifeless. Like Kristen Stewart trying to act. HEYO!”
Students gape back at me with blank eyes and expressionless faces.
Me: “Yeah! That’s her! Like that!”
Awkward silence. Crickets.
Student in back: “CHAMAH!”
Note to self: stop forcing pop culture jokes in Africa. So not Raven.
Septembarrr 14, 2012 ·
So I think my Malawian colleagues get me. Today I walked into the teacher room wearing my Packer wear, strutting my victory strut, and they first thing said to me was: “Ah Cameroon has woken makola (good), his Packahs have won!” …yup, even in Africa everybody knows the bears still suck.
Arrrgust 29, 2012 near Chilinde, Lilongwe ·
I am now an officially sworn-in Peace Corps Volunteer! WOOP WOOP!
Arrrgust 12, 2012 near Dedza, Malawi ·
This week, I: 1) shook Hillary Clinton’s hand. 2) found out where I’ll be living for the next two years, and that I’ll be replacing a fellow Wisconsinite, keeping Lwazi, Malawi green and gold. 3) tweaked my lesson plan on figurative language in order to introduce Malawian youth to the genius of Bon Iver and Katy Perry. 4) completed my first ever international phone call to the fam. 5) ribbon danced my heart out in a routine set to the most popular song in Africa at our village appreciation ceremony. 6) only missed the chim once, and only because it was an emergency of Dante’s Peak-esque proportions. WEEK SEIZED!!
July 5, 2012
I am alive.
Yeah! Good question. anamed was started by a German pharmacist doing research about the benefits of natural medicine. It has since blossomed (pun intended) into an organization that does work in many countries around the world. It is actually a Christian organization rooted in the philosophy of Jesus using locally available resources to heal people. Our training was run by Nelson Moyo, a Malawian who has studied and worked with the creator. He stated many times that anamed’s mission isn’t to replace modern medicine, but to fully harness the powers of natural remedies to work hand in hand with modern views.
As for people in the villages, my perception and experience is that they are open to both. “African doctors” have been around for a while, and while some of them are corrupt and based on myth, many people are aware of some benefits of plants. But anamed supplies concrete evidence and research behind the usage of these natural medicines.
And actually this week, we had a girl at school feeling really sick at school. My co-teacher who I attended the training with (and is pretty jazzed about starting a medicinal garden) and I made her some lemongrass tea. I don’t know if it worked, but she was at school the next day!
A lot of the focus also was on eating things like fresh garlic and papaya that are naturally good for you, to keep on feeling healthy.
If you want more info check out their website:
“Hey look, you guys! A Starbucks!” (at Mulanje Mountain)
Made it! (at Sapitwa Peak, Mulanje)
Probably the best brewery tour in the world… (at Carlsberg Malawi Ltd)
After a meeting in Lilongwe, a bunch of us went to see the most popular singing sensation in all of Africa, P-Square, in concert. It was awesome! CHOP MY MONEY (at Lilongwe Golf Club)