Home at the Lake

by Jourdan Fairchild in ,

Each day I’m more and more amazed at the beauty of this country. After one final breakfast in Lilongwe, we hopped in the car to head down south to Lake Malawi. As you can see, it was stunning. Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 10.10.38 PMScreen Shot 2014-04-30 at 6.16.35 PMDoesn’t it look like an ocean? It’s longer and deeper than Lake Michigan (365 miles long compared to 307 miles, and in places, 2700 feet deep). It borders Mozambique and Tanzania, and its the southernmost lake in the East African Rift system. In the center of the first photo, you can see Bird Island, as well as a pair of men paddling the traditional canoe (you sit atop it rather than inside). The lake is filled with fish; the most common and popular is chambo (similar to tilapia). Many Malawian families vacation along the lake, and you can see why. On the way there, we stopped by at an orphanage with Watering Malawi-provided hand-washing stations and bathrooms. As soon as we pulled up, the car was surrounded with children. They were happy and appeared to be well cared for by the women working there. Besides Madonna (who used her power to bend the rules), international adoptions from this country aren't permitted. It's because Malawians deeply care for their own. Side note: We saw the ground where Madonna's school was supposed to be built. It's untouched.  Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 10.14.21 PMThis area also happens to be home for Colleen’s family. Her parents first moved to Malawi in 1962 as missionaries. They lived in a small village just steps from the water, where Colleen loved to swim as a kid. When we arrived at the village, we went to their church (here’s the story of what this church means to Colleen) and then spent the day with a childhood friend and his family. We snacked on local favorites like Fanta and cheese and tomato sandwiches.Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 10.14.05 PMWe also popped into a store in town where we picked out bright patterned fabric for custom dresses. This is the way many Malawi women fill their closets, working with a tailor to keep making new pieces throughout the year. A local man told me that men joke with their wives because, like American men, women are constantly ordering new outfits for celebrations and events. And even though it sounds extravagant, the price is totally affordable by our standards (we’re each paying $20 or less for fabric + tailor!). Where we shopped, tailors sit in front of the stores waiting for customers to buy fabric. We found one who was willing to make us each a dress (I asked for a top and a skirt), and because we’re leaving town tomorrow morning, he has to work fast. We drew pictures of the design we wanted, and then he measured each of us. We can’t wait to pick them up!Desktop


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