So I recently ventured back to the good
old USA and had what could quite possibly be the best vacation of my life. I couldn't have asked for a better trip, with sunshine and perfect weather in gulf shores and a bit of good old Michigan snow on my way back home. I am so blessed to have seen so many friends and family on my short trip home and share my experiences over on this side of the world with them, along with catching up on everyone else's lives. I will never be able to thank my parents enough for sending me home nor will I ever be able to express how truly grateful I feel.
On one of my last afternoon/nights home my mother hosted a great get together for friends and family and asked everyone to bring something small for my babies here in Malawi. I can't believe all of the great things that were gathered and am truly thankful for all of the support everyone has given me. My luggage was about 120 pounds (only about 20 pounds overweight) and eventually all of these wonderful things made it back to my village. Some wonderful things (art supplies, hair accessories, older toys) are staying in the city for my girls camp in July (hosting 60 Malawian high school girls!) I'm sure they will love it all.
Now as thankful as I am, I am starting to feel a bit guilty. I have these two Barbie dolls in my possession and they are great great toys, but thinking back on my childhood having boxes full of barbies I hardly played with compared to the two barbies I have now to entertain an entire village of little girls is sort of depressing. I know I can't change these things, and that this is life here but it just makes you realize how fortunate we are as Americans to have so much of everything we never even truly learn the meaning of sharing. I expected hitting and screaming and hair pulling as you would see with many young girls learning to share but what I saw was the complete opposite. Here in the village what's mine is yours and yours is mine and I've never understood the concept as completely as I do now. I also receive some great handmade dresses from a mother of a family friend- those have quickly flown out of my possession and onto the bodies of cute little village girls here. I love being able to see the smiles on these girls and families faces when they get something new and from america. It's truly an amazing experience.
On another note- I haven't updated my blog since December so a lot has happened:
I've done two borehole projects, both funded by friends and family, (thanks aunt Cheryl and the 46 bar posse) and am looking at another borehole on Friday . Hopefully all goes well and borehole number three will be complete by the end of the month. Fixing these boreholes is an experience I won't ever forget, it's amazing to me how the entire village can come together and work towards a single goal. And water is such a luxury we take for granted, i even still find myself being wasteful every once and awhile. (im still such an American)
Pad project: my favorite project: my project baby... Well guess what!!?? The old project rep just ended her service and I got the most incredible offer to be the new head person/point of contact for this project here in Malawi. I am trilled to be able to call this project my own and am so happy that the responsibility of keeping this project going has been given to me. I get so much joy from this project and watching the women really grow and become empowered by this simple solution to female menstruation.
Youth friendly: youth friendly is a program set up at the health clinic on Wednesdays after school to specialize in youth health. We have extra staff on board to assist the youth with any questions/ concerns they have and to provide health services that they sometimes struggle getting based on age (mainly sexual and reproductive health issues). It's also a great time for the youth to relax, listen to music, sing songs, do dramas/skits and mostly just to PLAY and be kids! I brought back a variety of sporting equipment (thanks to everyone who supplied those) and we start youth friendly again next Wednesday. Btw the turn out was suppose to be around 20-70 kids and has been around 200-250 a week. It's amazing how many kids keep showing up and hopefully they continue to find this service helpful.
These are the big things that are happening in my life right now.. Of course millions of other things are happening- like having no electricity all day and severely missing America and constants :)
Hopefully this post finds you all well. I'll try to remember to update this more than once every five months :).