So I happen to be in the city twice in two weeks which is highly unusual- but since I don't know when I'll be back in the city I figured I would holler at you guys.
It's been kind of a tough week. When I came home from Mzuzu last week I was at my table (just one table in my house... its all you need) when I noticed that there were a lot of little kids sitting outside my house- and not the usual little kids (we PCVs like to refer to these little kids as "iwes", iwe means "you" informally, and Malawians call the kids and each other "iwe" as well) who are my neighbors, but weird iwes who were staring at my house. I mean, I am pretty famous for what I like to call my "neighborhood" but never have random people just come to stare. That's when I heard the sound of my neighbors crying (wailing, loudly) and I thought to myself uh oh.... someone has passed away. I wasn't sure what to do, so I texted my counterpart telling him I think someone died near me and what should I do to be respectful. As soon as I sent that text one of my neighbors came to my door and let me know that she was sorry for the noise, and that their aunt died. I told them not to be sorry at all, and that I was sorry for their loss. My counterpart called me minutes later to let me know that I shouldn't go to work tomorrow, and I should just be around for support.
I slept terribly that night- not just because I was really sad about my neighbor (my first big cry in country) but because I was getting sick. I woke up feeling terrible, and stayed in bed until my counterpart let me know that he was in my neighborhood sitting w/the men. I went outside for the first time since the death, greeted the group village headman, my counterpart, and my friend Mr. Dina. I told them I was sick (and I was, and I looked and sounded like crap) so they told me to rest and they would pass the message onto the family. So on behalf of the funeral and the mourning (which lasts several days) I spent a lot of the weekend inside, and all of it just in my neighborhood.
My neighbor passed away from HIV. This is my first dealing with an HIV related death- and it took just a month at my site for it to happen. It was really hard, and I'm not sure if this is something that will ever get easier. How could it? It's a person's life. Its not something I want to deal with again soon, but I would be naive to think that there won't be more loss near me in this next two years. I'm proud and happy to be a health volunteer in Mlowe- a sweet, beautiful village full of wonderful people who are happy to have me there.
On the flip side, a new life will be joining me at my nyumba (house) this upcoming Monday. The nurse at my health center had puppies, and she is giving me one. This puppy will be a Malawi puppy and live forever in Malawi, a happy life, being passed down from PCV to PCV- this puppy is in no way competing with the pup of my life Bernard, of course! My Malawi puppy is really to protect my house and to keep little kids away (this is only a half a joke). I haven't named the puppy yet, but I'm sure it will be a B name, and it will be happy to eat fish and rice with me everyday.
I received my first mail at my village post office! Thank you, Emmy Z!! It was so exciting- I went in doubting that I would have any mail, but I was going to buy chippies and it was open so I thought I'd check. WIN! So, now that I know it works, please send me mail :) I am working on a Wish List here on the blog- and of course it is not exhaustive and I will completely appreciate anything that may come my way in the mail. Also, my unnamed Malawian puppy is expecting mail too- it told me last week.
I hope you all are great, please continue to keep in touch, I am doing my best to keep in touch as well! Love you all!