Only 5 weeks left in Malawi.
03.11.2014 - 16.11.2014 32 °C
This weekend it has really set in that there are only 5 weeks left of my time in Malawi. That is still 20% of my total time here, but it seems so short. A major factor to that is how busy the clinic construction is, and also how busy the next few weekends will be. In order to try and meet our completion goal, we cannot afford to have any lulls in progress. Additionally, I am going to Cape Town this week for a long weekend. The following weekend is Thanksgiving and the weekend after that we are hopefully meeting up with friends from Lilongwe one last time before we leave. There will then be one last full weekend in Neno before spending the weekend we leave in Blantyre. Whew, it will go far too quickly. I was asked the other day if I will be ready to leave. I'm really not sure.
The last few weeks in Neno have been status quo for the most part. Last weekend, Marco, Ernest, and I went into Blantyre for the weekend. Sometimes just being able to go to a bar, having multiple options of take-out food, and walking the aisles of a supermarket are enough the refresh the batteries. Tuesday was a late Halloween of sorts in our house. My sister and each grandma sent me packages and CfC sent Marco and me one a piece. All in all there were 5 packages of goodness. Part of that goodness, 4+lbs of Reese's PB cups. One Wednesday I took a bag to our jobsite for the crew. They were a smash hit. The kitchen has been active this past week. Last week while watching the 'Hawks, I made an attempt at mango bread, with oats and coconut. It was a little bit dry, but still good. Wednesday I made goat and mango curry, with plenty of leftovers which aged wonderfully. Within the packages were two different kinds of snack mix. One had oreos, M&Ms, peanuts, and goldfish. The other pretzels, peanuts, PB chips, and Reese's Pieces. I took a cup and a half of each, plus 2 cups of oats, and some coconut and mixed it up with melted peanut butter, sugar, and honey. Once pressed into a pan, I froze it. Bam, snack bars. They were so good that I made another batch today. This time using the Archer Farms Peppermint Hot Cocoa snack mix my grandma sent and the second mix from the first batch. Tonight, I'm making ice cream. A batch of peach mango and a batch of chocolate. I was originally going to add Reese's to the chocolate batch, but it has come to my attention that a friend has TJ's cookie butter.
Work on site continues to move forward. This coming week we will begin rafters and then begin laying the roof. Hitting milestones feels great. That said, we are a bit behind our original schedule. It will be interesting to see how much work we can get done in the next two weeks. It will go a long way to determining what stage of completion is realistic to expect by the time we leave.
After out usual site visit on Friday, Steve Mtewa took us on a drive. We left the site and continued to the border. A while back, I posted an entry with pictures from the border. We were on a different portion of the same road. He showed us the area that his parents are from and also where he owns land which has been inherited from relatives. Most of the areas will be directly served by the clinic that we are currently working on. He told us about how hard it was to receive medical treatment when he was growing up. If you were sick, that was that. It was an impactful trip. Being here has been a crash course in the international health field and the operations of NGOs. The politics. The often ideological and impractical viewpoints. Driving through the catchment area of the clinic helped to bring the human element back. To remind me why I am dedicating half of this year to making sure this clinic is built properly. The people.
This is how my Sunday ended..