Tuesday, September 23, 2008

sour cream!!!

they had sour cream at foodworths (one of the grocery stores...very small...if you saw it, you would probably laugh at my calling it a grocery store, but it is!) when we first got here. i loved it...i am not normally a sour cream kind of person, but i love it on baked potatoes here. then suddenly, about a month ago, there was no more sour cream :( it was a very sad last month...okay, well i am being melodramatic, but i really did crave sour cream. its like that here...you never know if you will find something at the store. i mean, imagine, going to wal-mart and not finding a single thing of sour cream...not just low-fat or a certain brand you like...i mean NO sour cream. thats how it is here...crazy...

so anyway, i had a rough day today. the girl who teaches ballet with me on tuesday was gone (her cousin in town and she told me about it ahead a time), so it was just me...just me and 12 3 to 6 year olds. needless to say, madness ensued...it was a rough ballet class. i mean the girls seemed to have a good time but the throng of parents watching probably didn't think it was all that great. so after class was over, emily, bech, and i headed to foodworths. i had only eaten an apple all day, so i was starving! all i could think about was buying a bag of barbeque fritos...they are really good here for some reason. they have had them at foodworths everytime i have been, so of course i assumed they would be there! and of course...TIA...they were not.

but guess what was? that's right...SOUR CREAM! and i got three things of it!!! whoooo! its amazing that sour cream can make me that happy, but it can! i mean i am so happy about this! so we decided that when God closes the door on bbq fritos, He opens up the door to sour cream. okay, not sure that is theologically correct, but its how i feel!

on another note, i have a prayer request. i have a student who is one point away from failing my class. i just don't know what to do about it. i mean, i have given study guides, extra credit opportunities, etc. so please pray that i will figure out what he needs me to do, how i can help him. he's malawian, and went to a malawian school for several years, so he's just not up to par with the other kids.

the sour cream!!! only one kind, but its good!

bech got me roses for our anniversary...they are like the ones i carried in my bouquet.

our wedding cake! since we couldn't eat our actual wedding cake on our first anniversary, katy sent us cake mix and icing.

my homemade tortillas! i'm not going to be opening up a mexican restaurant anytime soon, but they were pretty good, if i do say so myself. not very symmetrical, but i'll work on that next time.

emily and josh came over for mexican night...here emily is helping make the tortillas.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

More pictures...

Here are more pictures, out of order. This is a picture Marley took on our way to the lake. This picture now seems funny to me, only two days later. What was so remarkable to us were the valleys and mountains we were driving through, but as I consider who I'm presenting this to (all of you back home in America), I'm thinking that the extraordinarily balanced bicycler will seem to you to be the obvious subject of the picture. But this is so ordinary here, these huge loads--sometimes one to two other people even--being carried on the backs of bicycles, that we missed this part of the picture for the mountains. I have seen men ride with stacks of wood that rise up into the sky and curve over their head. Here I am, with all of my objects lovingly arranged for the camera, immediately after getting back from the lake on Sunday. This reminds me of the pictures children get with Goofy or Mickey at Disneyworld. I'm so satisfied in this picture. There is a rough, wooden bowl, about seven woven baskets, two beautiful watering cans (made by a crippled tinsmith at Four Seasons nursery), and two pots (on the far left) made by a man named Rickson. Most of these baskets were bought this weekend in Salima. All of the materials needed for basketry grow by the lake, so this is where most of the baskets in the city come from.
Here is a good picture of the three gardeners teaching us how to build a fence. Fenton on the left, Mustaf in the distance, and Jonah on the right.
Here is a good picture of our two new baskets (on the floor). I'm posting this picture without Marley knowing. She is so good for me--always reminding me that not everyone is as obsessed with handmade objects, or interested in seeing still lives of them (or tools) on our blog. But I am, and I can't help it. When we arrived, I felt (rightly so) like we had left everything behind--mostly things I didn't realize I was leaving behind--and despaired for a few days. One of the things I left behind was the life of an art student, spending almost my entire day making things, with any materials I could want at my disposal. These handmade things have held me over until I can set up shop and begin making beautiful, functional things myself. On top of the basket on the right is a woven hat I bought.
Marley and I miss all of you so much! We love you!

Art, Inside and Out!

Here are the first pictures of my students. The classroom pictures are Reception Two, which is the second group of four year olds. I teach three year olds to sixth grade. By Friday afternoon, I have had fourteen different art classes! The Reception classes are some of my favorites. I don't know if all four year olds are good-natured and happy, or if this group is an exception.
Each teacher is required to participate in the afternoon activity program. The program includes soccer, swimming, netball (a British game), cross country, etc. Since I'm so athletic, I created my own activity: the Outdoor Arts and Crafts Club. Below are pictures from our second meeting. Our first project is a fence for our very own garden. Three campus gardeners--Mustaf, Jonah, and Fenton--are sharing some local knowledge and their time to teach us how to build a fence with some typical Malawian construction materials: bluegum tree trunks, bamboo, and reeds.
Here is the plot for our garden. In the left 1/3 of the picture you can see Mustaf (wearing the denim jacket), Jonah in the middle 1/3, and Fenton walking out of the picture on the right. Truth be told, these men have done all of the hard work. Hiding behind the right half of the fence is Emily Ketchum, the third grade teacher (and neighbor) who runs the activity with me.
Many of you will recognize this Outdoor Artist and Craftswoman. This is Amber McDonald, oldest daughter of Sam and LeAnne, from Faith Presbyterian Church in Brookhaven. She is the unofficial president of the club and a true artist.
I was nervous that Outdoor Arts and Crafts wouldn't be as "cool" as the other activities. We had over fifteen come today.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

From Bech

Well, I finally got my own khasu. You may remember me longing for one of my own in my post from many weeks ago. I don't know whether it is a distinctly Malawian tool, although every Malawian owns one, but it is beautifully simple and well-designed. Above the khasu are two of the first baskets I bought at the biggest market in town. Baskets are to Malawians what plastic is to Americans. Even the trashcans are woven. The ubiquitous baskets are one of the things I love most about this place.
Marley and I left for Lake Nyassa, or Lake Malawi, yesterday to celebrate our first year of marriage. She found this in the Seven Eleven right before we hit the road.
Marley took this incredible picture below as we drove to the lake. Village landscapes like these have already become ordinary to us. This is ordinary here.
Here is a view of this vast lake from the porch of our room. We stayed in the government-owned Sunbird Livingstonia Hotel.
Here I am with a hat I bought yesterday at the curio markets, which are distinctly African and local and always far richer than the American souvenir shop, though no less predictable. The sellers are always smooth-talking and oily, poised and desperate, falsely sincere, and always uttering over and over phrases like "looking is for free."

Sunday, September 7, 2008

1 month update

well we have been here over a month now! we have learned alot but still have a way to go. the car is great. if you had told us a year ago that we would be this excited about a toyota carina (its a japanese brand, not even done in the u.s.), we would have thought you were crazy. but we love our little car...it takes us places, and thats what matters!

we got our camera this past week! my parents bought it and sent it overnight to a team that left from seattle. so we will put a picture post up either monday or tuesday. we have just been so busy! we have school from about 6:45 (well it starts at 7:15, but we are supposed to get there at 6:45) until 1:10 (but we are supposed to stay until (1:40). then on tuesday and thursday, i teach ballet from 3 to 4, and bech teaches outdoor arts and crafts on tuesday from 2-4. plus staff bible study on wednesday night and potluck on friday night. plus grocery shopping takes like 3 hours to do! hopefully this week i can start going to do some orphanage ministry stuff...thats what i am really excited about over here.

we have visited two different churches the past two weeks. mclaude (pronounced mcleod, though) works at the academy and took us to both. the first was a combined chewa/english service at an anglican church in lilongwe. it was interesting, but very long. the malawian music was really good. bech LOVED the music! then this morning, we went to a CCAP church called Kafiti (i think...oh and CCAP stands for Central Church of Africa Presbytery). we went to the 2+ hour chewa service. we were the only white people ("mzungus") there, and we couldn't understand anything they said. we went with mclaude and nweene (pronounced, neh-way-nie...sorry, i have been studying my vocab cards for the gre, so i am really into pronunciation today) his wife, and katherine, his niece.

we went to the market yesterday with vicky (from england) and rachel harper (from jackson, ms). we took them to the largest market, which can be intimidating. they really liked it. i got my first present for a family member...playing cards that say world cup 2010 (bc its in south africa). obviously, these are for blaise. we also got some peanuts and boiled them when we got home...so good! it reminded me of the summer we boiled peanuts from my uncle mikes land.

anyway, i wanted to do a couple of praises and prayer requests, so, if you are praying for us (and if you are, we are very thankful for it!), you know what to pray for specifically...


* the carina!!!
* our sweet students...they make teaching fun!
* our new friends
* our one year anniversary is a week from tomorrow, so we are going to the lake!
* our new camera

prayer requests:

* they "fixed" our water heater last week...um, its definately not fixed! we are still just able to take baths, because the water is either burning up or (when the hot water runs out) freezing cold)! we are going to call again this week and see what can be done!
* our stove broke! the top part works, but the stove itself doesn't work. this is definitely not good, because the apartment manager isn't responsible. you have to provide the stove and fridge yourself. we got these from an expat leaving, so if it isn't fixable, we will have to buy another stove!

that's all for now...it's almost bedtime for us! we will try to put pictures up soon!