Bike Taxi of the Day

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a stand-up bike taxi before today, but I was really impressed that this guy was texting on his phone while riding/standing on the bike! Although… considering the skill with which Malawians handle dugout canoes, I shouldn’t be surprised!

Lights Out

The long power outages began earlier this year than last year, and just this week they have rolled out the new load-shedding schedule. Long just got much longer. Here’s what the next few days look like for us (screen captures from the ESCOM website: includes time /day power will go off, time/day it will come back on, the duration of the outage, and which areas are affected, ours being area 47).

Monday-Tuesday:

Wednesday-Thursday:

Thursday-Friday:

Saturday-Sunday:

As I read it, the week looks like: 25 hours off, 15 hours on, 25 hours off, 7 hours on, repeat. I’m just hoping our new solar panels start pulling their weight! This will be their first big test.

For those of you in Lilongwe who need to figure out the schedule for your area, you can find ESCOM’s load shedding schedule for the central region HERE.

Last Day of Three

Today was Naomi’s last day of being three. I do think I may have given her more hugs and enjoyed her snuggles that much more just because I can’t believe we are almost done with three.

This girl is so ready to grow up! She was over being three about a month ago! And just in the last few days, I’ve seen that sweet four begin to emerge: extra (and actually) helpful, growing more and more articulate, and becoming independent in so many ways. She still has that cute little girl voice, and I can say without a doubt that her zest for life and sparkly things and her spunky sense of humor have only increased! We have loved her as a three year old, and we are excited to see what four looks like!

Sneaky the Chop-chop

This morning the girls found a small chop-chop in their room.

It was mostly dead (due to the Fendona we sprayed last week).

But not completely, because it walked off the paper!

And then Matt left for CAPA for the whole day, and FORGOT TO REMOVE THIS THING FROM MY KITCHEN COUNTER!

I composted him in short order. Don’t tell Naomi. She had named him Sneaky, and informed us “he’s the bad brother.”

But this isn’t the first time we’ve had a chop-chop in the house – check out Matt’s post and photo shoot of our last, larger chop-chop.

Last Week

Things were a little too busy and chaotic to post much last week. We spent the week living in a half put-together house,

finding our toiletries in the hallway,

storing our laundry and all miscellaneous chairs in the living room,

and navigating the rearranged furniture in our rooms.

Meanwhile, we had all the white door frames throughout the house and all the tiles in the master bathroom painted with stinky oil paint, and then sprayed the interior walls of our house with Fendona, a crystalline version of permethrin.

And so we spent 3 nights sleeping in our tent, in our backyard, to avoid the various smells in our house.

Despite all the chaos, we had fun camping! Our family loves to camp! And it’s nice now to have so much of our house “finished” and back together. We are not quite done, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel!

Summertime Garden

It’s summertime! We heard rumors of 49C/120F temps in Mangochi this week, but we have only hit about 97F. That’s hot enough, without air conditioning, and half the time without power at all. But the garden is loving the sunshine! Here are some shots from around our garden…

Flamboyant tree:

Albizia tree:

Ginger:

Queen palm:

Rose of Sharon:

Garlic:

Jasmine:

Jacaranda tree:

Boganville:

Mangoes!

And avocados!

Rainbow Shield Bug

This afternoon we found one of our favorite bugs in our backyard!

The girls were about to lie down in the hammocks for rest time and this rainbow shield bug was just hanging out on a hammock. Yay for cool African bugs!

Electrified!

Apparently when you start reworking wiring for inverters and solar panels and such, things can get a little shocking… Since about noon yesterday our house has intermittently been “live.” At various points the metal roof, the bathroom faucets, running water, and the breaker boxes have all shocked people. Thankfully most of the shocks have been pretty mild, and neither of the girls have been shocked.

So early this morning, Matt drove to the other side of town to pick up our electrician, Adriano. At one point several years ago I jokingly suggested that we build Adriano a flat in our yard because it seemed like he lived here anyway. I’m revisiting that idea now…

By the time the girls and I left for swim lessons this morning at 7:45, they had figured out that there was a problem with the grounding wires. Power was leaking from the neutral to the ground line… which is why it connected to the plumbing and roof. Not that I understand all that, but the people who need to understand it do. 😊 Hopefully we’ll be less electrifying soon!

Kiboko

There are not a lot of places for kids to play on play equipment in Malawi. Now, before you get concerned that my kids don’t get to play, you should know that they play ALL THE TIME, with things like sticks, bugs, dirt, sand, etc, etc. They love it, and so do I. But play equipment is a treat. So for a special family outing yesterday, we went to the Kiboko Hotel restaurant for lunch, because they have some play equipment. And not just any play equipment!

Yes! They have a Land Rover playground! It’s this awesome?!? I am told that the rocking zebra likes to run away with little girls though, so one must be careful! 😉

In addition to the awesome play equipment, they have great smoothies…

And wonderful banana pancakes!

To top it all off, we — all of us — decided to eat our lunch in the Land Rover, just because we could.

All fueled up, we’re off on another adventure!