Scottish Charity Number: SCO36069

15th December 2011

14 Mangos a Day by Naomi Dunphy

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Report 4- this is crazy! Time definitely flies when you are having fun. Its actually pretty sad that I am nearly half way through my time. Well this month we have had births, weddings, funerals and installation of chiefs so its been a busy time (I have also managed to increase my mango record to 14 in one day and pretty sure Ill manage to break it again – they are really addictive).

First was the chief installation ceremony. This was for one of the cooks of the school. She was a cook in 2007 when we came and then was promoted to house mother of the oldest boys house but then her grandfather died and so she became chief so stepped back down to being a cook again as she was too busy to be a house mother. I had never been to one of these ceremonies before so it was really interesting although I didnt particularly have a clue what was going on but it was still really good and was a good excuse to have a dance which all Malawians like and I have to say I do like a wee twirl!

Next was the funeral which was the brother of one of the house mothers. I went with Emily, who is a former gap student who has returned to Aquaid for three months over Christmas. On our walk there people kept stopping us and asking us if we were going to the funeral which we informed them we were but when we got there, there was no one there so we had to walk all the way back. Since we were too embarrassed to walk back past all the people we had just seen we went the long way round which neither of us had ever actually walked so we ended up slightly lost and basically just walking in the general direction of home, which we did eventually manage.

After the funeral was the wedding which was a little weird as it was about 100 metres away from the funeral which finished about 4 and the party the night before for the wedding started at 8 and pretty much the same people went to both. We actually went to the party -although only for a short time- it was pretty good and was really good banter with all the kids. The next day was the wedding of Offman who is in charge of the stores at Aquaid. -his wife looked so pretty. Again I wasnt always sure what was happening as we had no translator but it was still good and we got the gist of what was going on.

Last but not least was the birth which was a guinea pig which I named Yamikanie which means praise. Although technically it was born a long time before I got hold of him he has been named my baby since I was being silly and tied him to my back one day like a baby and went round showing everyone. Everyone out here thinks white people are crazy. I guess I dont really blame them!

This month has also seen our first girls football game. It was third time lucky but it happened in the end. First time we were supposed to have a game we were just getting on the truck when a phone call came through to say that a teacher at the other school had died so there was no game. Everyone was pretty gutted. Second time we actually got there and then the other team decided that they were too scared to play and so there was to be no girls game. Thankfully there was a boys game and some netball games so it wasnt a total waste as they got to watch them although they were all really disappointed. Thankfully third attempt we got a game! Aquaid were all over the other team and were only in their own half about twice but we need to practice their finishing because they could not get anything in the back of the net. To be fair they only played 10 minutes each way which is a pretty short time.

Just now it is so unbearably hot that even at night you are sitting doing nothing and the sweat actually runs of you. its disgusting. The other day I was running after one of the boys in the middle of the day with no shoes on which is never a good idea as when you run the sand acts like sand paper on your feet. It gets sore really quickly but if you then slow down to a walk the sand is so hot that it burns your feet. Sadly I only remembered this fact when I was at the opposite end of the village from where I live – yeah I could hardly walk by the time I got home.

I am really excited as my parents and sister are arriving next week to spend Christmas with me. Whatever you are doing this Christmas I hope you have a really good time. Will speak to you in 2012!

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