On the Streets of Lilongwe
Trip Start Jan 02, 2017
10Trip End Dec 31, 2017
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This week we had the experience of doing some shopping for wholesale items with two of the ladies who work at the LifeNets office. We definitely got some strange looks from people since we are so out of the norm for some areas around town that we went to. The good news is, I had a chance to improve my driving skills, and I only got pulled over by the police once for turning down a one way street the wrong direction. Thankfully they let me off with a warning this time, although they may have preferred a small bribe or a nice cold bottle of water or a Coke instead.
I've learned (so far) that groceries are much cheaper at local produce markets - again I got funny looks from most walking through a local market in a slum area. The mangos in Malawi taste amazing so far. The avocados not so much, although I think they may have been picked too late. I've also learned that there are a lot of people trying to make what little money they can, and some are very persistent. People sell paintings, beg for change, carve wood, sell small trinkets and stickers, offer rides on the back of their bicycle, and some have sob stories about their lack of food and lack of work. The reality is, there is a lack of food and a lack of work. There is also a lack of sanitation for many people. And a lack of nice homes to live in. People here make do with what they have, utilizing scraps from the trash of others to carry produce or create a tool they can use
We can't help them all, no matter how much money they think we have to spend. I always appreciate when someone is willing to work to make or sell something or to provide a service if they are capable. That isn't always the case. But in some cases there is absolutely a willingness to put in a full day worth of hard work. This week I saw some of the working conditions of weldors and mechanics. They set up shop between houses, on the side of the road, no doors or roof and sometimes only the ground beneath them to work upon.