Monday was my first full day in Masinda. The day started at 5am as the sky was just starting to change from night to day. The bike taxi arrived at 5:30am to transport me and my luggage to the cassava starch plant. We got off to a bumpy start as the weight of me and my pack on the back of the bike raised the front off of the ground. So, an extra bike had to be hired; one for me, and one for my bag. It was my first trip on a bike taxi, and it was pretty fun, even though we wiped out once going down a sandy hill.
I spent the morning at the plant gathering information and trying to think of possible solutions for the wastewater issue. At lunch I got to see my new home for the first time. I am staying in a fairly typical rural Malawian household. There are four houses clustered together. Everyone is related in someway, so it is really one big family. I am staying with a newly married couple, Chance and Elius. I have a 7’x7’ room to myself which consists of a wire to hang clothes on and a reed mat to sleep on.
The first night I was there the moon was so bright you could read by it. Signing and clapping could be heard in the distance. I was told it was to announce the up coming circumcision ceremony. The women in my compound formed a circle and started dancing and singing songs of their own. They laughed, but welcomed me as I joined in. The voices in the distance got closer, and a group of about 20 boys emerged from the bushes into the clearing of the compound. They formed a line and we one opposite to them. The dance party began with everyone clapping and singing song after song. A group of women and girls arrived and joined our side. In twos or threes dancers from one side dance across and pick a partner to come out and dance, then return to their place. I was having so much fun; despite having a bad headache. I figured I was either dehydrated or getting Malaria; both very realistic possibilities.