I awoke early this morning to see the sun rise, and caught the last 5 minutes of it. I felt pretty tired, but throughout this trip, I’ve been pushing myself to experience as much as I possibly can. I wasn’t disappointed.On the way out of town, we picked up our dresses. We couldn’t believe how beautiful they turned out! When Colleen slipped into her dress, it fit like a glove. This tailor had added lining, darts, and zippers for each piece. But given our quick turnaround, he hadn’t finished the sleeves. Life tends to run on "Africa time" here, which is something Colleen has taught us. We couldn’t wait for the tailor to finish them, so we paid him the remaining Kwacha (Malawi’s currency) and decided we’d find a tailor to finish them in Blantyre.Today we visited World Vision projects in the field. We met the representative in charge of Chingale, who led us to see several projects funded by Watering Malawi. But on the way, we encountered a few transportation hiccups. The rainy season already passed this year, but today, the rains came anyway. When we travel between cities and within cities, we’re driving on paved roads. But when you head to villages to see water projects, the roads are dirt. And rocky. So when the rains come, they become more treacherous.While en route, we also learned that President Banda was campaigning in the very area where we were traveling!! We giggled like schoolgirls in hopes of seeing her, and immediately decided to put on our new Malawian dresses in the car just in case she saw us. A flurry of primping began while police directed us to the side of a dirt road to let her convoy pass. Colleen jumped out of the car to wave at her; I jumped too. A dozen cars passed, and we think she must’ve been in the one with the darkest windows. The whole experience was exhilarating (here we are, runny mascara and all).But then as we headed out on a new route to avoid traffic, we slowly fishtailed off of the road. The road was very busy, and another bus carrying loads of young men also slid off. Our driver hopped out to evaluate the situation and people gathered outside of the car, staring at us through the windows. I was tempted to snap photos, but didn't want anyone to notice my expensive camera. In certain neighborhoods in Chicago, this moment would’ve surely ended differently. But here, people tend to remain calm. Malawians for the most part are very peaceful people. Colleen, her mother Charlotte (we call her GoGo, which is Grandma in Chichewa), and Amanda looked cool and collected. So I took a deep breath and felt much better. Lucky for us, President Banda’s back-up caterpillar was there to pull us out.
And then just a few moments later, we’re stuck again. But this time I didn't feel as nervous. We knew it could've taken all day to get us out, but we had faith in our driver's abilities with a little help from some locals. By stacking rocks in front of the back wheel, we lifted the car up out of the ditch (I helped push!). Colleen described it from her perspective here.Rather than turn around, we pushed forward. After all, our work wasn't done and we were there to see a well and meet a mother’s club—the group of women who care for the well and educate the children about sanitation. We were thrilled that the mothers were willing to teach us each us how to use a cloth to hold a baby on our backs (As you can see, I was lucky enough to hold the chunkiest nugget in the village!). We may have had to use a translator to speak to one another, but it was clear that our women understood their women. Mothers speak an international language of love. We also meet a man who, with the support of World Vision, is raising thousands of fish for his family and his community. These people work so hard, and are so happy to share their work with us.