Below is the view from our kitchen window. We live in Area 9, and by Malawian standards, this is a very nice part of town. It has been hard for me to accept this. Home is a physical and an emotional and spiritual reality. My idea of home is being reshaped and reformed. I spend most of the day in a strange in-between place, between constantly remembering and often longing for the standard of living that I'm used to, and yet being constantly reminded that our "sub-standard" living is far more luxurious than the conditions most Malawians live in.
On a happier note, Marley and I house-sat for a family on campus. We only stayed with four of their eight. As usual, the children fell in love with Marley, especially the two little ones. This is Stephen, Charlotte, and Marley playing with three of of their baby rats.
This is Stephen, the two year old, demonstrating for me that the sense of hygiene that distinguishes homo sapiens from, let's say, dogs, develops around three years of age.
These are some of the first things we bought in the market. When we first arrived here I felt completely uprooted. Actually, when we were dropped off at our apartment for the first time, I walked into our bedroom, laid down on the bed and cried like a child. I felt completely untethered. Nothing was familiar, even the air I was breathing. The air was invisibly thick and acrid with the smoke from sticks being burned all over the city while dinner is being prepared. The market has been one of those solid places I have tied myself too for comfort and a sense of stability. The market for me represents food at its most elemental level, and the existence of the market has comforted me in a profound way.
Here is a basket that Robert made for me. Robert is a boy who sells wicker furniture. I asked him if he could make a basket for me to use while at the market and he so he did. Next to my basket is a pot full of vegetable and fruit scraps to be composted. Two Malawians who work in our small apartment complex are sharing their knowledge with me and teaching me how to compost. I think my first efforts entertained them, because they laugh when we talk about it.