Why are we here? Work and school are the reasons. Off to meet the boss and headmaster before the jet-lag cobwebs have cleared. The new boss had bigger fish to fry the day after we arrived. The secretarial staff at the University was on strike. The changes in the economy have limited how far a paycheck can go and the workers were peacefully striking for higher wages. No threat to me, but clearly the college was not working as usual. The Dean was gracious, said hello and I told him “I’m here and I will see you next week.” Everyone knows that secretaries, (now called administrative assistants) run the world.
School for the secondary school student is on the other side of town. We decided to walk there. It is a bit far, about 3 miles and took us an hour. No wheels and no understanding of the buses so walking seemed to be the way to go. We arrived during the lunch break which is when we seemed to arrive everywhere. There was staff in the office and they encouraged us to walk around and check out the grounds. Students were arriving to discover their score from recent exams, O-levels and A-levels or something like that. Most were walking out happy which made me think that it must be a good school. The headmaster was English and he spoke slowly for us to understand. There are compulsory classes and some choices. Overall it seemed like it will fill the bill for the year. They wished he were staying for 2 years and then he could sit his O-levels. One of the staff was so kind. She walked us out to see where to catch the bus and put us on a bus back to the guest house. We were all ready for the ride.
What do you need to plug-in in 2012? You need cell phones and internet. There was a helpful person at the guest house who told us how to get cell phones and some internet. We had some ideas before coming and course correction was needed. Found that some internet hardware is in short supply but cell phones are everywhere. The youngest women carrying babies on their backs have cell phones and it is one of the few things in Malawi where the price seems to be going down. Internet requires a dongle. Great word, don’t you think? It is a card that you plug-in and converts 3G to internet for one computer at a time. We got a dongle to get us through the weekend to be able to send and receive contact from our western world. We need a different dongle to set up the Wi-Fi for the room but they are not available yet. The genius first born child thought we should just purchase a log-in and off to a hot spot to download information. We will see if that works. Now that the cell phone is working we can call for help getting the hot-spot to work. That is a 10 minute walk from the guest house.
We are walking a lot in Africa.
Now we are plugged-in, partially at least.