We’ve had a couple weeks to recover from jet lag, and time to catch-up on life here at home. Now I have to catch up on blogging! I have lists of categories to blog on now, as our recent trip to Malawi gave me so much to think about, and so many things I want to share.
First of all, wildlife. Everyone knows that animals and bugs are different in Africa from what we’re used to in the US. Here are a few of our friendly (and some not-so-friendly) encounters:
Mosquito netting. No mosquitos in this picture, but the netting tells the story. Every night we untied the little slip knots to let the mosquito netting down around our bed. This makes for grand entrances and exits, and you do kind of feel like royalty. But the best part: sleeping soundly knowing that you won’t be awakened by annoying mosquitos buzzing around your head!
Yes, they do eat mice-on-a-stick. Matt asked a Malawian friend what was left when you finished eating the mice. The friend looked confused, so Matt offered suggestions: bones, teeth… Oh no, not quite. “Just two sticks!” They eat the whole thing: teeth, fur, tail – all of it. To help you feel slightly better about this, I should tell you that they do boil them in salt water, remove the intestines, and then let them dry in the sun until they’re essentially jerky. My favorite part of the picture is that Brian pulled these mice out of a pizza box in their freezer. Thanks Brian, but I’m going to be a little hesitant if you ever offer me frozen pizza!
There are quite a few cows and goats wandering around. There is always someone watching them, but they do seem to wander where they like, including on the roads. She looks like a nice cow, though. Maybe I could get a cow! Hmmm.
This is the famous “chop-chop” spider, as it’s called in Malawi. We spent quite a bit of time trying to find a more official name for him, and the closest we could get is the huntsman spider. They’re fast, they’re large (that’s a regular sized piece of paper!), they’re hairy, and the ones we saw had pinchers. We killed 4 or 5 of these… my husband is so brave!
And last, and least, the infamous water buffalo. This is a hard post for me to write. I have bad news. There are NO water buffalo in Malawi. In addition to being brave, my husband is also very sweet. He ran back to a little curio shop on the side of the road and bought the above pictured water buffalo for me. So, I do have a water buffalo, just not one that will assist in the cheese-making process. I think he’ll be my new cheese mascot.