Friday, May 16, 2014

Now We're Real Volunteers!

We wanted to update everyone that as of May 7th we are REAL volunteers, no longer just trainees hoping to make it to swear in. We survived some challenges during training such as: having all of our meals, and snacks, cooked for us, being fed way too much food at all meals, and having our bath water heated for us. Some other notable occurrences during training was having a termite mound chased into our house at one in the morning by fire ants, as well as the ensuing fire ant infestation the next morning, and some mild to medium heat diarrhea on and off over the last two months.
Our daily view on the way to class. 

Clara and William Zimba with their grandson Willy Jr.
This seems like a good time to mention our host family. Clara and William Zimba are super crazy nice and taught us so much about living in Malawi. Along side of making sure we were fed and the fire ants were promptly removed from our house they made sure we could cook on a fire, knew how to take a bucket bath, and how to use a Chimbutzi (outdoor latrine), but most importantly they taught us about Malawian culture. They were incredibly gracious and took us in for 9 weeks without compensation.

We moved to Lunjika in Mzimba district on May 9th and are currently working on turning our house into a home (a common phrase used among us newly minted volunteers). For anyone interested in sending mail (shameless plug, mail is like gold here) our new address is:
Box 20055
Southern Africa
Lunjika is a Seventh Day Adventist Mission that has a Health Center along with primary and secondary boarding schools. It is much different than our training village of Domberllara, which was a small village with only 40 houses that shared a lot of facilities with neighboring villages.

Our house is beautiful! It is the biggest space that the two of us have lived in together. We also have a large yard that we can't wait to put a garden into. There are four large mango trees and a papaya tree. The papaya tree is fruiting now and the mangos will be ready as early as September. Behind our house is Lunjika Mountain which should provide some wonderful hiking. The closest market is an hour walk away, up a mountain, so that is a great incentive to get our garden going.

A glimpse of our side yard and courtyard.

On our way to being dropped off, we saw a baboon just two kilometers from our house. The only other notable wildlife that we have seen so far is a scorpion and a chameleon. We saw the chameleon one morning on our way to class. We found the scorpion inside of our house on only the third day of being here. Fortunately it was only the size of a fingernail and died easily.

Now that we no longer have every minute of every day scheduled for us we will do better at making these posts happen more often than every two months.   


  1. Matt and Tara, I'm so excited to keep up with you guys through this blog! Sending my love ♥

  2. Sara told me you had posted. For some reason I did not get the email! Love the pictures. Sounds like a grand adventure so far!

  3. Matt and Tara, Please keep this updated - really enjoy following you. You are both an inspiration! Watch out for the wildlife!

  4. Thank you so much for sharing your adventure,
    I can't wait to share this with the kids at the Club.
    I promise, you will receive letters,

  5. Looking and sounding good. Can't wait to read more.

  6. Mangos and Papaya...Yum! Looks like much better housing than you had been expecting. Will look forward to every blog!

  7. Sounds awesome. I'm so pumped for you guys and your new adventure. Cheers!
    (Thanks for sending me the blog link!)