The views expressed herein are mine and not those of the Peace Corps.



Useful Acronyms

PC Peace Corps
ICT Information & Communications Technology
PCT Peace Corps Trainee (pre-swearing-in)
PCV Peace Corps Volunteer (post-swearing-in)
PST Pre-Service Training
CBT Community-Based Training

Haina radi

There was another storm tonight over Lake Nyasa (do you all call it Lake Malawi? I can’t remember). I could see the lightning flashing from my bedroom window, lower than the last storm, half-hidden behind the mountains.

It’s almost March. The crocuses have started to bloom in our front yard, my mother told me on the phone. “That means it’s almost my birthday,” I said, telling her something that she’s always known, smiling and almost crying at the same time. A cat rubs his head against my hand and I focus on him, forgetting the flowers that mean spring. It’s not spring here, never really will be. Apples and pears and peaches are in season, all at once. Rain comes and goes, clouds hovering in the distance. “In March and April, that’s when the rain will come,” Mama Ismael says, but even now I feel like we’re not getting enough. I think that last year, it rained almost every day; lately, it’s twice a week if we’re lucky. Then two or three days full blazing sun, and the rest overcast, the kind of days that make Mama Ismael say “it wants to rain” but which then don’t deliver.

The power was out today, so I didn’t teach. Instead I spent a couple hours with her at the market, sitting cross-legged on a wooden stool, watching people walk by, occasionally talking. I really like sitting with her on market day, when it seems like the whole town passes in front of her little store. It’s not so much the people but the fabrics that I like to look at, thinking about what I’d do with that print, wouldn’t it be nice if only it were different colors, I should have bought it when I saw it in the store, who’d have thought it’d look that good on, instead of hanging on a wall? I feel like I’m hyper-attuned to the fabrics here; any time I walk with a friend I’ll interrupt the conversation at the drop of a hat to comment on a kitenge or kanga a woman’s wearing. It reminds me of walking around Budapest with Mary. We’d see a woman in great tall boots walk by and start talking about them, no referent, just knowing that the other had seen them. Except that, with few exceptions, my friends here have no idea what I’m referring to.


Comment from Chris
Time February 25, 2010 at 7:17 pm

Lake Malawi sounds vaguely familiar.

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