Thursday, August 26, 2010

We Have Internet

We have internet, sort of. During the day it is slower than slow, during the day it is limited bandwidth 32K, after 7 at night we get our full bandwidth of maybe as fast as dial-up. It is a whole lot better than nothing. It will take me a few days to get caught up on blogging. I can't wait to see what everyone has been up to.

We are settling in to Malawi. I am not impressed yet. So far the electricity has gone out every day, many times a day. We do have generator back up but we still end up with several seconds of darkness, usually during dinner. We have run out of water, twice. Apparently the water main to our house was cut sometime back and now we are using water from a water tank. No idea when or if that will be fixed. We were excited to see asparagus just coming up in the garden and told the gardeners to leave the asparagus alone hoping to be able to pick enough for a meal or two, the next day all the asparagus was gone. The cook is driving me absolutely freaking crazy but everyone else seems to love him. But the topper for me is the smoke. The approved method of dealing with trash/leaves/whatever is to burn it. The smoke is ever present, even worse than Jakarta, at times turning the sun to a dark red. My throat feels raw all the time. I am hoping it gets better soon.


David said...

Ok! First, I don’t think Shannon’s post has done justice to our, or at least my initial impression of Malawi. We did an enormous amount of research on Malawi. I don’t recall seeing any negative issues with it. In fact I could not find anyone to say anything negative about it at all. I am not sure why ‘cause one could find plenty. When Shannon was talking about the burning… I swear it seems like the country is on fire!! It is extremely frustrating trying to get the staff to understand what we are trying to convey to them. I mean they all speak English.

One of the big saving graces is the people. The people are extremely friendly. It is a true saving grace.

Bar none the worst thing about Malawi is not the poverty, trash, crime, high cost of living, or even the lack of roads or bad drivers. It is the burning. I promise to do a post on the burning and give a great explanation as to why it is the worst thing about this place.

Perhaps I know the reason why I could not find anything negative about Malawi…it’s because when you are in a place like this one must concentrate on the good and forget about the bad.

Donna said...

Hang in there. What you need to do - and you already know this, I'm sure - is find a friend who helps you laugh at the craziness. Those first few weeks are always the hardest. And hey - now might be a good time to take up smoking!

Jen said...

Hope the smoke issue gets better...and that bites about the asparagus! Guessing compost piles are not so least for organic waste?

Funny, though, I now remember my grandfather burning his trash in his backyard and no one said a word...can't imagine what would happen today in the same neighborhood!

Hope things improve quickly!

David L. said...

Bummer. Hope things get better, or at least become more palatable. Living in the sticks for a few years, I hated the smell of burning leaves and papers. I can't even begin to imagine what burning garbage must smell like.

Kristi said...

Wow, worse than Jakarta? Yikes! Hope you find those bright spots of Malawi soon. ((HUGS))

Jae said...

Wowza! Sounds interesting to say the least; no water, no electricity and the dial up bandwidth?! I'd no nuts! (I AM nuts already, heh heh!)

I hope your communication with the staff gets better; if not, can't you hire new ones?

So glad to hear from you, either way, friend!

Jill said...

I think I told you that Malawi was on the top of our list ... before we ended up going to Chennai.

We do hear that it's a great posting. But I'll agree that it takes a few weeks / months to get over living in a 3rd world country.

Thinking of you!

Bfiles said...

It does take a while to adjust to Africa...give it time. Maybe the burning is a seasonal thing or more potent right now bec of the weather?
The fact that the people are kind and welcoming is a really big deal and I hope that will pull you through. all the best.

Monica said...

smoke thing is weird. i remember in mexico in the country that would happen often, but not so much the city. i remember it being unbearable, but can't really remember what it smelled like. i'm happy the people, at least, are friendly. you guys are the best and i know you will be adjusting soon. hugs to you both.

Anonymous said...

They used to burn trash in Mauritania. Drove me crazy! And that was a windy place--I imagine you have it worse.
Ugh. Hang in there. I remember the feeling of total desolation as I wondered what I'd done. I believe it will get better.

Connie said...

Cairo was a burning place too. All year. However, there is hope, in Cairo at least, it was the end of summer and fall that was the most horrible. All the chaff and other field waste would be burned... every where. Add that to the garbage burning and it was very dangerous. Most of the year it was just random garbage burning. Hope the air clears soon! (and in the meantime, I hope you are blessed with strong winds to remove the smoke!