Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Week #3

After our third week here in Malawi, I think we are both starting to get into some sort of a "routine". We no longer feel like we are on a mission trip or vacation! It is beginning to feel like home :)

We started school at the ABC Christian Academy Monday! :) The first day was only 2 hours long and one of those hours was spent in assembly so we basically just got to meet our students. My four year olds are SO cute! The first time I met one of my little girl students she looked up at me and said, "You gotta help me out with this school thing!" haha. Today was the first "real" day of school; from 7:15-12:00 for me and 7:15-1:10 for Josh. We start early! But we get out early too which is nice. We've just got to get used to planning and writing lesson plans! Which we just learned how to do. But we're both excited about this year.

All academy teachers who don't have children are required to sign up for 2 hours a week of afterschool activites. Josh will be coaching highschool soccor (or footbal here!) and helping out with band. I will be teaching 3 and 4 year old ballet and going to Chitipi orphanage once a week to play with the kids. We start are afterschool activites next week and can't wait!

After three weeks of living here...I can finally drive a standard car on the wrong side of the road! I tried several times the first week we were here with no success so Josh had to constantly drive me around everywhere. Which wasn't really a problem unless he was gone and I needed to go somewhere. Anyway, I can do it myself now!! :) Like I've said before, food here is very expensive..we buy all of our fruits and veges from the market (which is very cheap!). I can buy a large bundle of bananas for $1.10. But a pack of chicken breasts from the grocery store is $9 and a small block of cheese is $6-$9. And we love cheese and meat!! haha. I love going to the market to shop. Everyone is very nice (probably because they want you to buy their stuff!) and friendly. It's fun to bargain with the venders to get a good price. Alot of times they will give you a high first price because they think, because we're white, we are tourists who don't know what a reasonable price for something is. But we've been told :) I just like getting out in the town!

There is much poverty in Lilongwe and all of Malawi. I have found a man who makes pretty much anything from Chitinge, (I think that's how you spell it?) a material the women use for skirts or to tie their babies onto their backs. His name is Charles and his tailoring is his only source of income. He has several daughters and one is sick. We were encouraged by another missionary to use him 1. because the stuff he makes is really pretty and 2. because he really needs the money. And to us it is so cheap to use him! He is a very sweet man and has already made several things for us. He even made me curtains! He only charged $12 for labor! (people work for so cheap here). I just had to buy the chitinge (which is also very cheap!). I call him and he comes to my house on his bike with all of his "goodies". He makes wallets, purses, aprons, curtains, etc. He could probably make anything. We feel like he is another avenue we can use to try and do some good here in Malawi!

As we are getting settled into our new life, we don't forget why we are here. We came here because we felt God's calling to teach here. Teaching is our main focus right now. Though we definitely plan on getting involved out in the community, teaching is our #1 job while we're here. We want to not only teach these kids but to influence them in a positive way. We want to get involved in their lives and be good Christian support figures to them. We hope that we can help them academically, personally, and spiritually over this next year. We want to thank all of our supporters again because, without you, we wouldn't even be here!! Thank you for putting your faith in God, knowing that it was Him who put us here (and for a reason only He knows!). Well, I better be off to bed! Have to wake up at FIVE THIRTY!! I'm going to have to get used to this haha. Thanks again everyone for following our blog :)

Love,

Rebecca

Well, I better be off to bed! Have to get up at FIVE THIRTY tomorrow....this will take some getting used to haha.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Week #2

We've been in Malawi exactly two weeks today! This past week has actually been a little slow. Still getting our classrooms and lesson plans ready for school. My classroom is pretty much finished now. Mr. Gray (my assistant) and I will clean and straighten everything up tomorrow and should be ready to go! Josh didn't really have all that much decorating to do with his classes. Just lesson plans and organizing. He is almost done also. We are both very ready for school to start!! (but a little nervous as well)

This week is orientation week for new missionaries. Tuesday we will meet in the morning and go over the history of ABC (which I know all too well from working at the office!! ha), a seminar about staying healthy in Malawi, a seminar about African culture, and then an ABC student lead scavenger hunt around Lilongwe! Wednesday we are going to Dedza for the day! It's a a really nice quaint little "area" ( I don't really know what you would call it). It has a nice restaurant and a pottery making factory that has TONS of cute stuff! Sam McDonald (our host family) and Kelly Dehnert are taking us for a Q and A type thing. Then Thursday will be for all academy teachers...a teacher orientation. We will be going over the handbook and everything. And Friday is free..then school starts Monday!!

Today Josh and I asked our gardener, Happy, where we could find charcoal to grill with. He took us to his village (in our car cause the bag of charcoal is HUGE) and got the charcoal and showed us his house :) There were so many little kids at the village and they were so cute! They all (and I'm talking like at least 30 kids) were following us around and shouting "Azungu, Azungu!" which means white person haha. Happy said he will teach us Chichewa if we want! Then maybe next time I can acutally TALK to the kids. They had no idea what we were saying and pretty much laughed at everything we said. They wanted to hold our hands and touch us. They were so sweet and funny. I can't wait to go back!

I think we are adjusting well here. The hardest thing for us has been cooking ha. We didn't do all that much of it in the states...hamburger helper, spaghetti with Prego, etc. Here, it's all from scratch! Yuck! But it's becoming kind of a fun challenge to find good things to make and stuff. It will take some getting used to but if thats our biggest complaint so far...we're not complaining! ha.

Josh and I were both sick with a kind of "Malawi stomach" bug this past week. It's going around on campus and was NO fun at all! Josh's only last for about 30 hours...today is day five for me and is the first day I feel 100%. Glad it's over. Hopefully now we have some sort of amunity built up for next time!

We are still just getting started on our journey here and can't wait to see what God has in store for us in the next year! I plan to go to the crisis nursery as soon as I'm positive my "stomach bug" is all the way gone. And I want to go back to the village ASAP. I was kind of feeling discouraged this past week when I was sick...but going and seeing those kids today reminded me why we're here and really gave me a new excitement of whats to come! We pick out our after school activities this week so I'll let everyone know what we've chosen soon. I think Josh is doing soccer and I'm doing ballet but were not sure yet. I hope Josh gets to do soccer :) I know he'd have fun with that! Well...we are going to go and try to grill with this "charcoal" we got today! Wish us luck and God bless!

Love,

Rebecca

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Week #1

So...this is our 6th day here in Malawi and we are really enjoying it! :) Here's a little insight into this last week:

The ride over here was very long. We got up at 5:00 am Saturday morning and drove to New Orleans. From there we flew to D.C. then from D.C. to Johannesburg, where we spent the night at a really nice bed and breakfast. Then Monday morning we went back to the airport and boarded our final flight to Lilongwe, Malawi! When we got here, 6 of our 10 pieces of luggage were missing...so we took what we had and went to see our new home :) I have taken pictures of our new duplex but can't find the adapter thing to upload them with, but I will keep looking. It's really cute! We have a nice yard and a gardener! Everyone living on the African Bible Colleges campus is required to hire a gardener. Ours is named Happy :) He's really sweet and does a great job with our yard and garden (I'll post pics of that too when I find the adapter!).

So our first day or so here we really didn't DO much. We unpacked our bags that we had and slept! Last night was the first night I slept ALL through the night ha. Tuesday Josh and I met with Laura Chinchen, the curriculum coordinator at the Academy where we will be teaching and with wife of ABC's president, Dr. Paul Chinchen. We got our keys to our classrooms and went over our curriculum. We got the handbook and I got my kids names and nationalities. My students consist of kids from America, Malawi, Australia, Korea, South Africa, and Zimbabwe! I am still in the process of decorating my classroom and will post pics when I'm done. It's so cute!
We are both very excited (and a little nervous since neither of us have ever taught before!) about starting school August 24th :)

Wednesday we went grocery shopping! LeAnne McDonald took both me and Josh to several of the places she goes too. Food is very expensive here (American food at least...and meat!). We spent about $300 on 3/4 of the amount that would have bought us in the states. We had fun and got to see alot of the city. At all of the different places we went, people pretty much surrounded our car when we were getting out and in trying to sell us different things; bananas, tangerines, etc. Fruit from the market or venders on the street is very cheap. I got a bundle of about 12 bananas (they are smaller here but not tiny) for about $1.50! We had fun :)

Then Thursday we got the keys to one of the Academy car pool cars! It's really small and I can't drive it because it's a standard. I'm trying to learn but I kill it pretty much everytime I start to go. Josh says it's a bad car to learn on, so it's not me! ha. We went out and explored a little in town. Thats the day that 4 of the remaining 6 missing pieces of luggage arrived. We went to the airport to get them and immediately when we picked them up thought, "wow, these feel really light." So we opened them and they were all anywhere from 1/3 to 1/2 of the way empty (We had packed them to the brim before we left!) Which means alot of our stuff was stolen, probably in South Africa. ALL of Josh's musical equipment was taken....about $1700 worth and our life savings of movies, about $2000 worth...and countless other random stuff. We were really upset Thursday but I mean there's nothing we can do about now. It's all replacable! It was a risk we took..and we lost. Anyway that was kind of a frustrating day. I mean, how can an airline as big as South African Airlines afford to have their customers things stolen out of their bags! Sam and LeAnne McDonald had 2 laptops stolen a couple years ago. They said they filed a complaint but nothing ever happened.

So Friday...we spent most of the day at the school. Me, Josh and my assistant Mr. Gray spent the morning decorating my classroom. And then in the afternoon me Josh and Laura Chinchen got Josh's classroom all set up! He is in the brand new science building! The science part is downstairs and his room is upstairs. It's really nice! Thats really all we did on Friday. Oh, we met our new duplex neighbors, the Breuningers! They are from California. Jeannette will teach 2nd grade at the academy and her husband Derek is doing sports with the college. They are really sweet :) We had potluck that night at the Chinchen's house. Everyone on campus comes and takes a different dish. We got to talk to alot of new missionaries and start to get to know people better.

Then, Saturday was a fun day! We went out driving again and on our way out we saw this man holding up this kitten on the side of the road!!! It was so cute...and we had been talking about getting one for when we're here. So I said, "ok, if it's still there when we get back, we'll get it!" And it was! We paid $12 for her...the guy said 2500 kwacha at first (which is like $15) and I said 2000, and he was like ,"ok". I asked him if it had fleas and he just looked at me and I asked again and he said, "yes yes!" haha. Obviousley his English wasn't very good! We did more unpacking and organizing that afternoon and watched a movie I bought from some guy in the parking lot of a grocery store! ha.

We went to church at the campus chapel this morning and then went to a pizza place with some other couples called Mama Mia's! It was really good. This afternoon was spent entertaining all of the campus kids who love our new kitty. They are all so sweet and funny :) This week has been pretty much been us getting settled in our new environment. We have seen many out of the ordinary things. It's weird to go out and see beggars and street venders everywhere...children running around barefoot, etc. Next week I really want to start doing some community outreach! Like going to the Crisis Nursery :) So far, we are really enjoying our new home. We have lots of new friends and lots of new opportunities to take advantage of! We are really happy to finally be here and can't wait to see what the next few weeks hold for us!

Thanks for all the support and prayers everyone!! I will keep you updated weekly!

Love,

Rebecca