Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Some commemerative thoughts

So in commemoration of being back in America for almost 2 weeks now I thought that I would throw out some observations and answer some FAQs and provide some of my infamous lists from my time in Malawi as a sub-Saharan spaz. 

A lot of people have asked me multiple questions like: 

 “So, how is it to be back?”

Since all anyone wants is a short answer, I give that to them, but the people that really care I tell them that it is really good to be back and see Sarah and my friends and family again although I miss Malawi and all of my friends there. I am excited to get my back taken care of ASAP and it is nice to be back at Carinos.

“What do you miss most about Malawi?”

I think that other than people, I miss the free time, especially that which I devoted to reading. Since January of 2008, I finished 169 books and finished half of Pride and Prejudice. In the two weeks I have been back, I have read approximately 10 pages – total.

“What is the weirdest thing about being back?”

 The fact that I am not leaving again soon. It feels weird to think that I am not heading to Africa and have no plans to head overseas anytime soon.  Also, eating good food and drinking good beer whenever o would like; that is really strange. Oh, and there are overweight people EVERYWHERE. Coming from a country in which malnourishment is one of the biggest problems, moving back to one of the “biggest” countries in the world can be a bit of a shock.

“What is next now that you are back?”

Well Sarah and I are getting married in August, then, after our honeymoon we are moving to Austin. Sarah will be doing the whole nursing skewl thing and I will be teaching and working on my Master’s degree in Science Education. For the first bit of time there I will be substitute teaching and working at Carinos while Sarah will work as a nurse’s assistant. We are both really excited to see what the Lord has planned for us!


Well I think that that covers most of the FAQs. In my next blog I will include some of the lists that I have made including “You might be a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi If”, “Quotes of the Day”, “Things Spencer Has Had Stolen From Him”, etc… If you have any other questions or comments please don’t hesitate and I look forward to seeing yall soon. 

Osadandaulu Sangalalani “Don’t Worry Be Happy”


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Back Home

Well everyone, if you didn't know already, i am back home and done with the Peace Corps. After talking with the doctors, we decided that the best decision for me was to come home and try and get my back all healed up. As much as I miss Malawi and all of my friends there, it is SO good to be home with my friends and family here - especially a beautiful girl named Sarah.
I am starting back at Carinos next Monday am am excited to get back into the groove of things here. Pretty soon I will have some more blog posts including my famous list of "You Might be a PCV in Malawi if..."
Anyhoo, thank all of you for your support and feel free to contact me anytime. I will catch u later!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sad update

Hello all,

Well I have interesting update….As u may know I have been having some serious back problems. Living 13 Km away from any paved road doesn’t help that fact. I have been talking to the Doctors here and we have come to the realization that I may need to go home soon to deal with the problems in the states. I am giving it until the end of the term (mid April) and if it doesn’t get any better then I will request a medical separation. If that happens I am at peace with it. I will miss my students and fellow teachers, but there are many days where I simply cannot function at site. There was one night last week where I didn’t sleep at all because of my back. Anyway, I would appreciate any thoughts and prayers and maybe I will see y’all in a few months.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Back problems and a good school term

Well everyone, I thought I would write a bit more about the action here in the big MW! School is in full swing even though the school is not close to being finished. For those who don’t know, I want to tell u a bit about my lovely school. First of all, when we were doing site announcements I was told that I would have a fully stocked lab with electricity and running water. Awesome right! WRONG… I am supposed to have those things since the date of completion for the construction is October…2007!!!!!!!!!!!!! As it stands right now, it isn’t even remotely close to being finished. And now the builder has gone bankrupt. “Well” you say “that is a relief, because now we can get a good builder who can finish the project”. My thoughts exactly… then I found out that the law says that you have to give him 90 days to earn the money before you hire a new contractor. AWESOME – that is one whole term! I now hold out no hope that I will be able to see the completed school before I leave Malawi.

School is going very well this term. Going home and getting a fresh perspective was really good and this year starting out I knew what to expect and how to manage the classes in Malawi better. I really wish I had known that teaching in Malawi is a totally different profession than in the states. I knew it would be different just not how different. I am really having a better time this term and part of that is the fact that I have figured out what really works as discipline in my classes. Since I have 100+ students sitting on the floor at any given day, if a student is talking, not taking notes, doing the exercises, etc…I tell them to get out because they obviously don’t want to be here. It works like a charm. If the whole class is acting up, I leave until they come and apologize and ask me to come back. It all helps with classroom management and making the classes a more manageable size. I would never do any of that in the States but here there is no other immediate recourse. Grades don’t matter and they really don’t care about any other recourse that I can think of.

I am in Lilongwe, the capitol city, right now because of my back. I have had a bad back since I was 18 and it has been getting worse here. Normally I ride my bike about 55 Km/ week (roughly 35 miles) but now I cannot even ride for more than 10 minutes without my back really starting to tighten up and spasm. I am getting an X-ray on Monday and going to an orthopedic surgeon on Tuesday and maybe getting an MRI soon. From there I may have to have surgery but we will see. If any Peace Corps Volunteer is out of the country for 45 days then that Volunteer is medically separated. I don’t want that, and if I have to have surgery it might be cutting it close. The timing might be strange as well because I am getting married to the most incredible woman on the planet in 6 months!! Woot woot! I love you Sarah.

I think that is all for now. Please feel free to send me any questions or comments and I will talk at yall later!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Back in the big MW what what!!!!

Wowowowowow So, I must beg, plead and otherwise ask forgiveness for my egregious lack of blogging. Sorry all, I have been a bit busy. “What?” you ask incredulously, “Too busy for your thousands of devoted readers?” “Well”, I respond bemusedly, “First of all stop exaggerating, Secondly, yes I have been busy but mainly I just didn’t take time to write my blog.” “Oh,” you respond understandingly “well what has been going on then?” So here it is, in response to your questions and wonderings; a bit of my life.

For all of you who contributed to Camp Sky thank you so very much. It went VERY well aside from a bit of theft and a pretty scary time involving an HIV exposure scare (it ended up being no problem) it went off with a bang. The student enjoyed themselves and I speak for other teachers when I say that I enjoyed doing the first bit of real science that I have had a chance to do in the classroom as of yet. Ian, MaryBeth and I team taught a physical science class and were able to do some inquiry based labs that worked out really well. I really enjoyed it. I think that I can say from a teaching science perspective it is the first time I have really enjoyed teaching in Malawi just from a teaching/learning perspective (there have been plenty of classes that I have enjoyed but this was the first time that students were able to go beyond the material etc.) unfortunately, in my classes at site, they are too big and the students aren’t remotely motivated and I don’t have 2 other teachers to help.

After Camp Sky I headed for the US of A, and for anyone who didn’t know (which at the time I am pretty sure it was just Sarah), I proposed to Sarah at the airport making use of a basketball team who was on the same plane with me. She did not say yes….. as a matter of fact she yelled YEAH!!! So we are engaged. Huzzah!!! Lord willing, we will be getting married on August 1st in Lubbock, going on a week long honeymoon (Mexico???) and then embarking on a 3+ month long honeymoon in Beautiful Malawi, Africa. It will be the last 3 months or so of my service in Malawi and our first 3 months of marriage. I am looking forward to it. the best thing about all of this, I have the best excuse EVER to skip out on wedding planning (just kidding Sarah).
Anyhoo, I don’t have time for more now because I have to ride back the 13 Km to my house before the rain hits. We are in FULL swing of rainy season now and everything is SO green. I love y’all and if able any prayers sent our way for the 7 months of separation before the wedding and our upcoming marriage will be much appreciated. Thanks and Zabwino Zonse (all the best)

Friday, September 12, 2008

a bit o' fun

Hey friends family and whoever else might be around and reading,

In honor of Sarah leaving me here and the first year rapping up (September 23rd I will have been here for a full year!) I just wanted to dedicate a blog to some fun stuff and forget about the nitty-gritty for now. I am sitting at the Teacher’s Trainer’s College in Kasungu and having trouble seeing the mountain which the town is named for because of all the haze and dust in the air. When the rain is not around everyone’s favorite pastime is to burn garbage. Therefore Malawi gradually turns into what you would expect from Mecico city or LA only not as grey – just hazy. By the by, the aforementioned mountain comes from a Chichewa word. If you would like I will let you guess what this word means ….. no guesses? Well when you put the prefix ku- in front of a word that means little. –sungu comes from the noun which mean pimple or zit. Kasungu, then literally means little pimple. If you have seen the mountain then you can gather where they get the name from.
Here is a list of my favorite Malawian names – I am not kidding I know all of these people. Keep in mind that most of the time “L”s are “R”s are interchangeable. This first group is funny from the exchange of the letters and after that are just plain funny. Gradess, Gelsom, Lowlence, Mollis, Halord , Grolia, and Frolence. Then we have Esnart, Eveless, Loyder, Loveness, Goodluck, Mel Gibson, Giraffe, Rejected Stone, Obvious, Washington D.C., Whisky, Archangel, Henery and his twin brother Henury (from Ali’s class), Nashion, Diet, Gribetta, Funny, Happy, and then my student who on the same test spelled his name Alinaphy and Alinafy.
At a future date I will have a list of my favorite words that they say when the letters are mixed up (e.g. do you think Barack Obama will win this eLection?). I do want to say that I am not making fun of my friends here, I just find this amusing and thought u might want to see another aspect of the culture that we experience here.
Life has been good (aside from Sarah leaving and adjustments there) and I am really excited to come home at the end of November and see everyone before coming back for my last year!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

a bit better

Hey everyone! I just wanted to throw aout a quick mesage that like all Peace Corps volunteers i have ups and downs and the last blog was me venting during one of the down periods. Life is a bit better now and things are pretty good. I will talk more next time, but i wanted to say dont worry about me (for now) hehe! luv ya!