Thursday, July 17, 2008

1st presentation to Malawi Met

This morning I made my presentation to Malawi Met. Pretty anticlimatic considering how nervous I was about it. Actually, it went very well. They seemed very interested in the project, and our willingness to include them as a full partner not just as a data source. I'm meeting with the director tomorrow, to confirm that they're on board.

They were definitely all wearing jackets and ties. I at least had a belt on and my shirt tucked in. Guess I'll need to buy at least a jacket for my next trip. Actually... I might be able to buy one here. A lot of my longsleeve button-up shirts I bought in Uganda. Recycled from clothing donations from the US and Europe. Pretty cheap for good stuff.

The most memorable part of this morning though was probably the breakfast and walk to the met office. Full buffet here at the hotel - and I mean everything. There was a woman making eggs made-to-order, so I had a tomato/green pepper omlette, fresh pineapple, some small croissants, potatoes, juice and coffee. But they had a few different types of yogurt (real yogurt is hard to find in Africa!), and tons of other meat and breakfast things, all impractically presented on big plates with cloth napkins all around. Nothing yet has shown me that this isn't the nicest hotel I've ever stayed at.

But the walk to the met office brought back the out-of-place rich foreigner feeling (if the super fancy breakfast hadn't yet). Several times in the 5-6 min walk I was approached by street children, and walked past mothers begging. Once, a small girl walked past, with a baby bundled on her back - pretty common to have kids here take care of their younger siblings - only this girl was only slightly bigger than the baby. The older one couldn't have been more than 4 or 5. It's just shocking... you think you get prepared for it, but then it's like nope. Not prepared. The worst part is that it's not that great of idea to give to people begging on the street in Africa - b/c you get swamped. So unlike life in America, you can't buy your way out of this one.

UNICEF is high on my list. Donate now.

The whole meeting process, from leaving the hotel to back in my room, including a breakfast meeting, only took 4 hours. So, I'm about to change into jeans/t-shirt and walk around for a bit. Wish me luck... I'm sure I'll have more stories tonight.

malawi met building


becca said...

There are 4, 5 years old in America taking care of baby siblings too. Just not as many, and parents keep it hidden if they can because they know it is not looked upon too nicely. I would have a hard time wisnessing that. Thanks for sharing your stories.

Anonymous said...

lol...why am i picturing an elevator at our first hotel in mumbai???

Les said...

Glad things are going well!