Jan 17 2013

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What’s New?


Zanzibar Island, Republic of Tanzania


“No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.”
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! It has been so long since I posted. The last time I posted, I moved into my house and just getting to know the community. Well, it has been 8 months since I moved and have been enjoying my time in the village. Although, most of my time is spent in town or in other places due to work. I am glad that work allows me to travel.

Anyway, you might ask “John, what’s been keeping you busy these days?”. Well, come with me and I will tell you. I finished my database project that will be implemented at several health facilities. I’ve developed a tool that made reporting easier for data clerks. I attended seminars, workshops and plenty of meetings.

Enough about work, what have I been doing here for the past 10 months in Malawi. Let’s see, I biked a lot during the first few months in my village. Speaking of biking, I used to go mountain biking a lot back home and so when I first moved to my village, I went biking but since my village isn’t really an ideal place for biking since there are so many people. I decided that I would go visit the volunteer closest to me. She lives about 20k from me. So one weekend, I packed my bag with 2 bottles of water and some bread. I used my phone’s GPS to find my way around. I got there in less than 2 hours so hung out with a few friends for a few hours and decided to go back around 2PM. I figured since it took me less than 2 hours biking, I didn’t fill up my water bottle. Big Mistake!!! So I started biking back and did not pay attention to the road and just kept biking when all of a sudden the area didn’t look familiar at all. I had been biking for over an hour!! So I pulled out my phone and looked at my map… I was way off course! My battery was also getting low. I decided to keep going since most of these roads meet somewhere anyway. Another hour passed and I seem to have found a way back but my phone was completely dead so I had to rely on my lack of language and asked people. My Chichewa at that time was very very limited so it was hard to communicate. After biking for another hour, I was getting a little nervous since I no longer have water, no extra clothes with me and unable to communicate with anyone and the sun was going down. Luckily, I met a lady who was going to my village so she asked me to just follow her. I got home after 4 hours! I was exhausted and was sore for the next few days! I learned my lesson and take things slowly. As they say here in Malawi “Pang’ono pang’ono” – Little by little.

Anyways, to continue where I left off with the things I’ve done, I met the US Secretary Hilary Clinton, I ate at KFC in Blantyre (the only American fast food chain in Malawi), I got scuba certified (PADI), I enjoyed my brother’s visit, I went to South Luangwa National Park in Zambia, Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar island in Tanzania. I will post a new blog entry for each of the places I visited.

That’s it for now. Pictures will follow 🙂

John Mark Esplana

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