After 10 months of preparation and excitement I am finally on my way to Malawi! I left St. John’s yesterday morning at 6 :10 and I am currently in the EWB house in Toronto. I am spending 2 nights in Toronto and then tomorrow I leave for Malawi. I am flying through Washington, on to Ethiopia, and then to Lilongwe. I know it’s been a while since I have posted, so I want to check in with you all. Physically I’m a little tired but healthy; mentally I am excited to get to Malawi and start learning; emotionally I was pretty sad yesterday to leave my family and friends behind and I was a little bit nervous about the unknown, but I am finally on my way, so I’m excited!
I finally have some information for you on what I am going to be doing in Malawi for the next few months! I will be working in the Thyolo district which is in the south of Malawi. The capital of the district is also called Thyolo and there is approximately 500 000 people living within the district. I will most likely be staying in a village shortly outside Thyolo. As a bonus, Thyolo has internet cafes, a good hospital, and it is about an hour from Blantyre.
So what am I going to be doing? I will be working with the District Water Office (DWO), which is a part of the Malawian government, on a water monitoring system for the district. Basically the two main issues Malawi is facing with its water infrastructure is that many water points (boreholes, pumps, etc) are not equally distributed throughout the district and that many water points are no longer functional. Mapping the location of water points and their functionality provides the District Water Office with important information for drilling new wells and fixing non-functional ones. The software that has been used in other districts for water point monitoring is quite interesting as well, you can read a bit about it on APS Owen’s blog.
Anyways, that’s about it for now, I’ll try and post when I arrive in Malawi. I leave you with some interesting facts about Thyolo. It has quite alot of tea plantations and it’s a pretty hilly region which makes in a little bit cooler than other regions. I like this fact because the hot and dry season is now commencing in Malawi, so it is going to be quite warm when I get there. The rainy season begins in mid-november, so I’ll get to experience a bit of that as well.