I thought I'd write to help you experience all of what Malawi was to me.
Moving here I was scared, I threw up on the airplane even, I accredited that at the time to smelly eggs but lets be honest, I was scared. I was unsure I could survive in a world without tv, a car, hell, even a refrigerator, but hey, turns out I could!
It seems everyone compares their Peacecorps projects "well he or she did more than me or less than me ect ect", and maybe some did more and maybe some did do less but I'm proud of the projects I have done, successful or not and have really learned a lot, mostly about myself.
I completed a few borehole projects, was part of an awesome girls empowerment camp and even hosted a few nutrition trainings. I saw joy and happiness from something so small.
My "income generating activity" was more successful than I could have ever imagined, though starting out slow, having the community really connect and work together made me see what is so special about this country, the ability to be all as one. Although i am, and will always be a little selfish, I think watching a community contribute money, time, skills, labor, when they may or may not benefit in the end, opened my eyes to the beauty of giving.
I met some great people, that will be the hardest part for me, people not only from Malawi but from all around the world. I don't know how I will ever say good bye to the people who I have grown to love here, people who have taken me in, feed me, cared for me, held me, laughed with me and at me, and people who i just awkwardly shared moments with me throughout my time here.
My neighbors who I call my second family, who come and check on me everyday and invite me to eat chickens with every weekend even though I've never returned the favor. I will always have a place in my heart for them and have even offered to help their daughter go to a private school next year, costing only 100 dollars a semester. It's amazing to me how much we take simple things like the right to a good education for granted. I want all children in Malawi to be able to get proper education but the girl child is often times overlooked when considering school. I can't wait to follow this girl for the rest of my life and see how she changes her Malawi in the future.
My family in Blantyre, even though my mom constantly asks "you're out of the village again"- I dont think i could have made it without you. I wish to say thank you, not only for keeping my sane these last few years but for always being so generous to me even when I couldn't return the favor. I will always remember all of you, from days swimming around, laying around, sometimes even sneaking around, to never-ending nights at doogles, your memories will always be with me.
My coworkers have kept me motivated, grounded, and impressed with their constant ingenuity and strength. I am so proud of each and every one of you and look up to each of you and your projects, relationships, and experiences. You all inspired me to continue in some way when I was down and and hating Malawi. And for that I thank you all.
As I close my last few months here I am wondering what will be in store or my future. I seem to be in no rush to figure it out and I am glad I have the support system to let me have that time of readjustment and just enjoy my family and friends awhile before my next adventure begins. I am looking forward to being home, hugging friends, holding babies, and dancing in real shoes. I am glad I have had the experience in Malawi. I am humbled by this place and inspired all at the same time.
With love. Kristi