We had our first visitor this weekend. Stanley came all the way from my nephew Julian's elementary school in Leander, Texas to visit Africa. Some of you may be acquainted with Stanley. His full name is Flat Stanley. He is quite the traveler. Too bad he missed our trip to Zambia last month so he didn't get to see any elephants or giraffes this trip. Just like in America the big animals usually only live in special parks. The rest of this post is a message to the kids back in Texas from their friend Stanley.
Dear Julian and all the kids in Mrs. Moseley's class,
I had fun visiting your Uncle David and his family in Lilongwe, Malawi. Malawi is a small country in the southeast part of Africa. Lilongwe is the capital city. Since Lilongwe is south of the equator it was summer when I visited even though it is November. It was hot, but not as hot as Texas in July. Lilongwe is about 14,700 miles away from Leander. Wow! That is a long way. I hope I can make it back to Leander before Christmas.
Check out the market where they buy all their fruits and vegetables each week. Unlike the grocery stores back home this market is outdoors. There are a lot of different people selling all kinds of fruits and vegetables. It is noisy and dusty. There are no signs telling you how much anything costs, instead you ask the seller how much something costs then you have to bargain to get a good price. Here I am with the man they bought some apples from this week.
Here is Julian's Uncle David picking out some carrots at the market.
Another view of the market. On the right side you can see potatoes and onions piled up waiting for someone to buy them. The stall where we bought the apples is in the middle of the picture.
A river runs right through the middle of the market. Julian's Aunt Shannon and I are standing in front the bridge that connects one side to the other. You have to pay 20 kwacha to to cross the bridge. That's about 13 cents in American money.
I was also able to visit the Kumbali Cultural Center to learn about Malawian culture. To get there we had to drive a long way down dirt roads. Here I am with Mr. David's car. It is a special type of car called a four wheel drive. They need it because in a lot of places the roads are made out of dirt and are very bumpy. If you look very carefully you will notice the steering wheel is on the wrong side. That's because in Malawi people drive on the left side of the road.
Just driving to the Kumbali Center was pretty cool. I saw these women carrying baskets full of stuff on their heads. Look at how they are dressed. Most women here wear long colorful skirts.
Then a little farther down the road I saw this boy driving a donkey cart all by himself.
Julian's cousin Colin and I are at the entrance to Kumbali Cultural Center. This round building is a traditional Malawi house. It is made out of mud and the roof is made out of grasses. I saw whole villages of houses like these.
At the Kumbali cultural center I saw some of the crafts made by people in Malawi. There were toys like this wire man. When you push him his legs go up and down like he is walking. Boys make these toys our of sticks and scraps of wire.
Malawi is known for beautiful woodcarvings like this hippo I am sitting on below.
Pottery is another thing made in Malawi. Here one of the men at the Kumbali Center is showing Alonzo how to make a pot out of clay.
When the pot is all finished and has had a chance to dry then it will be put in a big oven called a kiln, where it will bake until it is waterproof. The little boy holding me is Grayson.
Alonzo watching a man make a wicker chair. Sometimes you will see men selling these chairs by the side of the road.
I enjoyed my visit to Malawi. It is very different from Texas, but very interesting to visit.