Guest Blogger Volunteer Brittney Sullivan: Mzuzu, Markets, and my Friends

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 Mzuzu, Markets, and my Friends” – GHSP Volunteer Brittney Sullivan’s post as featured on “Brittney’s Adventures” on  September 18, 2013:

Life in Mzuzu is taking shape quite nicely, and some semblance of routine is starting to pick up. That being said, I’ve still only taught one “official class” to First Year students. I did also volunteer at a Pediatric Palliative Care day at the Mzuzu Central Hospital (with my stellar nurse who oriented me, Elijah) which was a lot of fun.

I taught a small group of parents about pediatric congenital and acquired cardiac diseases which I think went well! They had lots of questions, and seemed very interested to learn danger signs and symptoms, and how to best care for their child when he/she is doing well. I’m thankful for all of the great innovations available in the US for cardiac disease in children – here they have very few options, and most children die at a very young age, if they’re lucky enough to make it through infancy.

On a more positive note, the First Year student class is growing – we started with only 15 registered students and are now up to 52! This year, the students are 100% self pay, though tuition has been extended until November, so I’m a bit scared the class will drop significantly in November. Janet is teaching many classes for the Fundamentals of Nursing course, and I helped teach Vital Signs today in the nursing lab – they have a LOT to learn! They were very excited in the lab though; there’s nothing like having a student use a stethoscope or blood pressure cuff for the first time and see the excitement on their face that, someday, they will be a nurse.

In addition to all of our activities at the University, we have been exploring Mzuzu and its markets in more detail these past few weeks. Everyone seems to know us now and taxi drivers know just where we want to go! We’ve tried out the myriad (ha!) of restaurants…there are two Indian restaurants which are fantastic! Other than that, it’s mostly chicken and chips (fries), chicken and rice, or chicken and nsima on the menu. The markets and shops of Mzuzu are pretty standard for a mid-sized African city. I made some stellar purchases in the past two weeks as well – a pair of Bass shoes, a Longchamp bag, and I didn’t end up buying it, but I found a Cape Cod sweatshirt! The things you can find in the secondhand market are quite incredible 🙂

Elijah, myself, and Dr. Eleasar (a pediatrician volunteering at Mzuzu Central Hospital) in the Pediatric High Dependency Unit.

The jacaranda trees are starting to bloom! Not quite a tunnel of purple, but they’re beautiful from around the city.

My new shoe friends – yes, I still love shoes, even in Africa!

Longchamp bag 1,500 MKW (i.e. $4.50)!! What a steal (I don’t think they guy had any clue what Longchamp was!)

The lovely store fronts of downtown Mzuzu

This has traveled a LONG way!!

The line up of fruits and veggies from the market ready to be chlorinated!

And, one of the most exciting parts of Mzuzu is that my friend Tarrah is here!!! We studied abroad together in South Africa in 2008 (and ironically enough, traveled to Malawi together on holiday); she is a primary school teacher who has been living in Malawi for the past 1.5 years (originally from Canada)! She just moved from Chilumba to Mzuzu and teaches 4th grade at Mzuzu International Academy. She lives pretty much as far away from me as one can get while staying within the confines of Mzuzu, but it has been wonderful catching up, hanging out, and reminiscing about the good ol’ days!

Reunited at last! It’s been about two years since we last saw one another in Hong Kong.

And, a gorgeous African sunset on the walk to Tarrah’s house on the other side of town; I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of these!

I also received the BEST package from my family last week!! Look at the bounty 🙂 My favorite part was the handwritten note and drawings from my 2 year old niece – now hanging on our refrigerator!

More to come soon – I have 5 friends coming up tomorrow to spend my birthday weekend on the lake shore in Nkhata Bay so will be sure to have more to share post-celebrations! Just to tempt you to come visit; here’s paradise in Nkhata Bay!

All my love,

Brittney