Thursday, January 28, 2010

Malawi : Eddie + Mwai's Wedding Day!

September 26, 2009 | 8:18pm

Well, today was the day. The reason we've traveled so far and been inoculated so many times. :) Wedding day. We were up at 5:00am. I showered while Nic went with Mwai's mom to meet up with our bride. An hour later I was picked up and taken to the house where Eddie was getting ready with his groomsmen where I hung out and shot until we left for the church.

Apparently this beautiful church does several weddings every Saturday, so we had to hang out in the parking lot to wait for the earlier wedding to finish up. The wedding started almost immediately once we got inside. It was a long ceremony and a bit confusing, since just about everything was in Chichewa. :)

It's here in my journal that I begin complaining about the local photographers that were also shooting the wedding. I will sum it all up right now by saying no one wanted them there, they were always in the way, and at one point Eddie had to do a little threatening to get them to back off. Enough said.

After the wedding we took some photos at a beautiful house and then drove to the "resting place" for more photos, food, and a little guidance for the couple from their elders. Then we were off the the reception which was held at the College of Medicine. The reception was very much like the wedding shower we shot the day we got here. Lots of dancing, music, speeches, and tossing of Kwacha (bills). They even had Nichole and I hold the money baskets for a dance with Eddie and Mwai. Everyone said how happy they were to have us there and specifically how Christian of us is was to follow Mwai and Eddie all the way from the States for their wedding. All the while, all we could say was how honored we were to be there!

Once the reception ended, Uncle Pat drove us back to the house. On the way we stopped by the Superette for snacks and water. And that's when it finally hit me: I am in Africa. I don't know why it took so long for it to sink in, but that was it. I was sitting in the back seat of Uncle Pat's car, Nichole in the seat in front of me. My window was rolled down, wind in my face, listening to African hip-hop mixed with music from the States and somehow that did it. :) I wanted to just soak it all in. It was such a great feeling. We have had such a great trip - even though my hands and feet and back and neck are all killing me right now - it has been so incredibly amazing. Tomorrow should be another lazy day, which I am completely looking forward to. I see lots of editing in my future! More tomorrow, I am beat.

Here are just a few images from the day (isn't their ring bearer Sly the cutest kid EVER???):


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Malawi : Day Five & Day Six

September 24, 2009 11:05pm

Time for bed. Dinner was nsima, chicken, rice, and beans. Yum as suspected. Tonight was fall asleep once again to the sounds of the obnoxious barking neighbor dogs and their incessant fighting. Yay.

Today we drove out to the beautiful Lengwe National Park. The drive was, of course, beautiful. We saw bushbuck, African buffalo, impala, kudu, warthog, baboons, and monkeys! We decided to take the self-guided tour and have Mwai's mom drive us through the park, and seemed to drive on forever for awhile. The signage was a bit lacking and I don't mind mentioning I was a tad afraid we might never make it out! :) We tried Carlsberg beer for the first time today, bought at Lengwe's gift shop. It is an awesome beer and not like the Carlsberg we get in the States.

On the way home we stopped to buy maize on the side of the road and photographed some local kids. We had the maize for a snack once we got home, just like corn on the cob, only a bit chewier. The power went out again just for a few minutes tonight and we went without water for about two hours this afternoon, not sure why, but assuming it's for the same reason for the power restrictions. Starting to get nervous for the wedding, only two days away!!!

September 25, 2009 7:30ish

I have no idea what time it is, but it's dark outside and the crickets are chirping. However, we haven't been called to dinner yet and the dogs aren't fighting across the street, so I'm going to take a stab that it's somewhere between 7-8pm. :) Today we just lazed around the house again. Had breakfast, read out in the sun (without ants this time), took a nap, and read some more. We were hoping to make it to the wedding rehearsal tonight, but there wasn't time to come get us in the rush of things. We're getting more and more nervous about the day tomorrow, but I'm sure everything will go well. Well, back to more reading... wish us luck for tomorrow!!


Malawi : Day Four : Power Outage!

September 23, 2009 | 5:42 pm

Today was another lazy day. Mwai and Eddie have had so much to do to get ready for the wedding that they've been gone much of the time over the past few days. We're just been spending our time around the house napping, editing, reading, and eating. This is a nice vacation. Tomorrow we're headed off to...


September 23, 2009 | 7:45pm

Sorry about that. We just sat through our first two hour scheduled power outage. Apparently this is normal around here, sections of the city have scheduled outages to save power. You can find out where and when in the local paper, but no one really bothers because they know they only last exactly two hours. At any rate, as I was saying, tomorrow we're headed off the Lengwe National Park to seem some animals. Dinner tonight is liver and onions, which I'm a little afraid of, but will power through. :) We're also having banana fritters called zitumbuwa which are completely amazing. Matter of fact, they are my favorite thing about Malawi so far. Yum! We're off to eat dinner here in a minute now that the power is back on. Mwai cooked the liver and onions on the back patio over open fire while her sister, Vivian made the fritters. I also had some pineapple Fanta which was also great. Back to editing for a few more minutes before we're called to...


I write this by laptop light. The power just went out again... And now it's back on. Let's hope it stays on this time. My laptop battery is getting low. Time for dinner.

Here's some fun images I shot with available light during the outage. While we were out back waiting for the power to return, I had a little camera fun by dragging the light of the moon to spell out Eddie and Mwai's names:

Monday, January 25, 2010

Malawi : day three

September 22, 2009 | 5:43pm

Today has been fantastically lazy. :) The trip to the game preserve has been bumped for another couple days. Our schedule of events today was something like this:

8:00: wake up, read
9:00: breakfast
9:30: edit photos until laptop battery dies, recharge
11:30: read
12:30: lunch (beef + rice)
1:00: return to editing photos
2:00: read outside in the yard
2:45: find ants
2:46: read inside
3:15: find bird in Thandie's room
3:20: free bird (after taking photos, of course...)
3:25: read + finish Harry Potter book 7
4:30: back to editing photos
5:00: Snack (Cherry Plum drink + Lays potato chips)
5:30: shoot sunset from the yard

What a wonderful day. It's so nice to just be able to relax.

September 22, 2009 | 11:03pm

Well, the rest of the day ended just as lazily as it began. Dinner was chombo (tilapia), cauliflower casserole, potatoes, and nsima (a thickened maize mixture that you eat with your hands). Everything was amazing! All of our food here has been so tasty. It's still foreign to Nichole and I to have three set meals a day at the table, but we're catching on. More reading before bed... good night.

Here are some photos I took around the house today...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Malawi : end of day one + day two

September 20, 2009 | 8:00pm

Whew! If all wedding showers are like that in Malawi, I want to know where to sign up! Basically, as far as I can tell, it's a just a huge party full of dancing, throwing money, speeches, and amazing food. Everyone - and I mean everyone - has been so incredibly gracious, charming, and grateful to us for being here. The latter seems so odd to us, but we're finding that people find it so wonderful that we've come so far for Eddie and Mwai. We feel so blessed to be here at all, let alone to shoot a wedding!
Tonight I tried a snack called bwemba. It looks a little like a dried edemame pod. You suck on the pod and spit out the little smooth, brown seeds that look like perfect little beads. It's super sour, but surprisingly yummy.
This evening a mysterious black chicken hopped the wall of the compound and arrived on our window sill... we've named her Charlene. That's all for today, it's been a long one.

September 21, 2009 | 7:40pm

This morning I took my first shower since I left Seattle. There's no stand up shower, just a tub and hand-held unit. At this point, I could care less. Hot water and soap does wonders when you're sleepy and greasy. :)
Today was a beautiful day! We drove out to Kara O'Mula Country Lodge at Mulange Mountain. Along the way we passed several small towns and villages, as well as lots of tea farms! The scenery was amazing! The mountain was awesome. We walked around a bit and then had dinner at the lodge- roast chicken, potatoes, rice, and some fantastic Carlsberg beer. We're now back at the house uploading and editing while watching DVDs of House with Eddie and Mwai. Tomorrow we're headed out to a smaller game preserve. Hoping to see some cool stuff. Later-
xoxo, Amy

Here are some of the images from the day...