Elections!!! Grrr…elections, the whole country was dysfunctional for over a month and at a standstill for the whole week before and of elections. It was impossible to do any work and also not allowed for us to leave our sites or travel. As for any African election up rival, there was very little and in my village almost none. I just made sure not to go to any rally of either party. It was interesting to hear people’s view on either side especially in my area since it was split almost half and half. At one point there were flags of blue on side of the tarmac and flags of yellow on the other. I think the most interesting part was how interested I was in the whole election process and who was running. I think since just coming from an exciting year of elections in the states to a small country where you are immersed into the politics, the last year has certainly gained my interest in politics to some extent. After all of it though I can say I am happier that they are over. People are now almost back to their normal lives and work.
Also in the month of May, possibly myself running away from all of the election drama, I went with the scouts into the Rhino sanctuary to go Rhino tracking. So the first day we set out in a direction I have no idea why but I just trusted the trackers. We ended up finding a day-old spore (rhino track) that was actually going in the opposite direction. To make sure that the other family of rhinos were not in the direction we were going we kept going looking for any other clues. We followed all the way to where the rhino’s had slept the night before and then decided to head back since we knew by then which way the rhinos had gone. When we reached camp we had some tea and waited for lunch to be cooked. Since the bwanas came too we ate like kings! The next day we set out at 6:30 am, this time in the opposite direction with the bwanas and with more determination. We luckily found a fresh spore in some mud at one of the waterholes. We followed its direction until we found the freshest spore yet! After circling back to the waterhole we realized that they had to be in a different area. So we split into two groups to cover more ground. The group that I went with was instructed to follow a dirt road until we hit a certain tree and then turn back until we met back up. While walking down this road we didn’t find any spores but we did run into some buffalo. They were quite far away but I got some good pictures. When walking back we shortly ran into the other group and talked about our new plan. We decided that my group had not gone far enough so we should keep going. This time on the way back the buffalo that we had ran into were much closer. When they spotted us they were a bit alarmed so they started to charge. I had orders to run, so I turned faster than you could imagine I could and started running. In front of me was a scout with a gun who abruptly stopped to scare the buffalo away so I had to dodge him by ducking left and hopping over some thorn bushes. When the three scouts with guns stopped and cocked their guns to scare them they stopped and turned away. We waited a bit and then continued on our way. As we follow the same way for a while Christopher, the head tracker, spotted another fresh spore. We then turned left to follow the spore. When we hit a gully we split again to find the direction of crossing. Christopher’s group went right and our group left. We had only gone about 100 meters before Christopher had called us back to tell us he had found the path. We regrouped and followed the new spore to a small hill. We climbed on top to see if we could see anything. With nothing in sight, Christopher decided that we should split up again. This time it was Christopher, Patrick, Mr. Skawanga and myself. We had only traveled for a short distance when we found the sleeping spot of the rhinos. About 2 seconds later, we heard a noise, we stopped to listen, and then Christopher took off running. So of course what did I do? I followed in the same direction chasing after the RHINOS! At this moment I am really asking myself what the hell I am doing chasing after rhinos, I mean in all honesty that doesn’t sound like a good idea at all right? I was out of breath trying to keep up but I felt somewhat safe since Christopher was in the front and Patrick in the back, both with guns. We finally stopped and realize that it was impossible for us to actually catch them. Apparently when rhinos are spooked, they take off running and don’t stop for a very long time. So we kept going until we found the next dirt road and followed it to the meeting point and sat down. About 2 or 3 minutes later the other group comes walking down to meet us. They didn’t see anything either but they did hear them run off in the opposite direction. We also all agreed that we were finished for the day since the rhinos were long gone by now. The walk back to camp was long but along the way we ran into some roan, eland, and zebra, which are all endangered species. We went out the next day as well and didn’t find anything but day old spores. Needless to say it was an adventurous week!
Yeah for 24! This I have decided is my birthday month! The first weekend we went to a Malawi Flames football (soccer) match. We actually did tailgating and ate pizza…it was almost like we were back home. I thought I had told a friend to get a ticket for me but of course the txt didn’t go through. So I get there and find out that I have no ticket. I had to go across the road and find a scalped ticket which I managed to buy for only 200MK more. Not bad if I don’t say so myself. Then the next weekend for my actual birthday I had a party in my village. It was interesting holding a party in a totally different culture but over all it was a blast. We killed 3 chickens and 1 duck, which is quite a bit but I knew that there would be lots of guest there. I also made a local juice from baobob and peanut brittle for dessert. Everyone loved the food, as they should since my amayi did all of the cooking. We finished it off with a dance party with the kids and a couple scouts who had came.
The next weekend, friday we had another party in Liwonde at my friend’s house for PCV friends, malawian friends, and the like. We killed a goat and made potato salad and bean salad. Kory, my site mate also baked like 3 or 4 cakes, including the funfetti one that Jolynn sent me (thanks you are the best!) and the best part was that we were smart and hid some of the food and cake for the next day. The party was a lot of fun for sure and they sang happy birthday for me…have it on video so I will have to figure out how the heck to get it on here for you all to see.
Now I am at Mvuu camp doing some work and visiting friends who live up here and typing this up for all of you. Next week we head to Lilongwe for 4 of July so I will try to also update you all on that as well! Loves to all and just so you know I am going to go on a trip to Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania, pry in August until September.