Hey folks! It has been a busy month - my drive south to Zomba went well, and then began the overwhelmingly large task of learning a new city, a new team of coworkers, a new role, and getting moved into my new home. I am living with another single lady who arrived a few months ago and is also in the stage of learning the culture and language.
As of today, half of my belongings are still in boxes and suitcases... because for the last month, we have been working on painting the house. Yesterday I finally unpacked my food into the pantry, and hope that the kitchen cupboards are dry enough that my pots and pans can get unpacked today! Thankfully, some missionaries lived in this house previously, and left quite a bit of furniture for my housemate and I to purchase and use.
Once again, I am re-learning how certain tasks (seemingly small) can be time-consuming and energy-draining in this culture. For instance, ordering a couch... it was already completed when we visited the carpentry shop - but we asked for it to be varnished, which took over a week and three visits to check the quality of work before we were able to bring it home. Then came the funny part - my housemate and I could not get the couch around the corner of the hallway and through the doorway into the room! One of our colleagues came over and helped us figure out a way, but for about 24 hours, we thought we might have to resell our new couch!
We were incredibly grateful to have the international supervisor of new missionaries come for a few days to lead us in reflection about the many changes we are experiencing. It was great to talk with someone who has experienced the frustrations of cultural change and language barriers. I did not expect to find much new when I returned, but the complete change of setting has proved full of new challenges and blessings. I am loving the greenness of this city (there is a ban on cutting any trees without city approval - even on your own property).
I am slowly finding my feet here. I am enjoying learning about my new role and the many strange little quirks of the Malawian systems that we need to work with. For example, the local water board comes to shut off your water if you haven't paid your bill in three months - but my co-workers most recently received their bill for July! So, you go and pay a small amount every month even without receiving a bill. I am visiting churches in the city and enjoying seeing the different ways that the body of Christ practices their faith.
I am impatient to finish putting my household in order, find a home church, build friendships... but those things take time, so I am reining myself in. As the supervisor of new missionaries said during one of our sessions - the first while in a new culture, 80% of your time and energy is spent dealing with daily life, and 20% is spent on your job. How wonderful it is that my mission recognizes this reality, and gives new missionaries time to settle into their new home and learn the local language and culture before asking them to begin their official jobs.
So, that is a basically what I've been up to for the last month! I am trying to post one picture a day to my Instagram and Facebook, so feel free to check in there (links on the right under my author profile)! Internet has not been the most reliable and I haven't always been able to match my available time with working internet to get a blog post up. Thank you for your prayers and well-wishes as I begin this adventure.
Welcome! My name is Katiana and I am a development professional pursuing my dream to live out Isaiah 1:17 to the best of my abilities. I am passionate about teaching and working with vulnerable families and children to improve their lives sustainably.
This blog is composed of my personal opinions, which do not necessarily reflect the opinion or views of institutions or organizations that I may be or have been affiliated with.