June 3, 2002

Dad,

Thanks for your great email. It really has turned my day around. I
also got an email from Shippee saying he is off university July 20th and flying
to the states Mid-August. Looks like our paths are definitely going to
cross this time.

I know I just told you that Nadia had malaria three times, which is very
scary, but I have had enough of this Larium brain! I quit! I will
transfer onto Doxycycline on Thursday. This Sunday was dreadful. I
was hanging out on Likoma Island, enjoying one of
the most luxurious lodges on the lake (Kaya Mawa), and still life felt
heavy and my moods were swinging like a teenager’s. Enough! I only
have a month and a half left here. I do not want to spend my time
battling Larium.

My time in Malawi was nice. The Bay is a small getaway for backpackers.
Downtown consists of two main streets, and is packed with stalls.
You would love this, people selling everything from
vegetables to motor parts. I stopped for lunch in a cafe in the middle
of the market. The cafe is a wooden platform, precariously built up
around a large tree. It is cluttered with simple wooden tables covered
with stained table clothes and wobbly chairs. It costs 50 Kwacha/75
cents for my lunch (rice, beans, tomato and a bit of meat).

Being the only white person eating at the local café, I spent my meal returning
stares, smiles and even having a short conversation with a Rasta wood
carver. It was one of those great moments - the reason why we travel.
After I was stuffed I handed my plate onto a begging boy and followed
the Rasta to the second hand clothing area of the market. They call
these bend down boutiques, where you bend down to sort through the
piles of old clothing scattered over large pieces of plastic.

Charity companies from the US, Australia and the UK donate these clothes.
They are supposed to be handed out to the people, but instead the government
sells them by the kilo to merchants. The clothes then are sold in the
markets for very cheap prices. They are filled with Calvin Klein, Gap,
Levi... Great buys! I spent a good hour sorting through clothes with my
new Rasta friend (Easy Cat, they call him :) I bought a few new outfits
for only a few dollars. I then headed to the other end of the market to
look at local carvings, paintings and jewelry.

I know most of the carvers by now, and don't get harassed too much.
They all know I will come through again. Walking through town is a million
handshakes, hello-how-are-you's, stares and the whole time being followed by a
couple of begging children. 'Give me money,' they say. 'Give me money.' I
laugh and play games with them. I never gave away a dime.

Sadly people in Malawi are starving right now, as a result of poor
agricultural skills and economic failure that comes from political
incompetence. Malawi also has the highest percentage of AIDS in the
world. However, I have not seen any of this death. The people in
Mozambique have plenty of food to eat, and I have watched as the lake
steamboat, the WWII Lady Ilala, was filled with maize to export to
famine stricken areas in Malawi. It is difficult to imagine that the
few dollars I spent at the bend-down boutiques will save a large
extended family from another day of starvation. These people live on so
little. They consider one dollar a day to be a good wage and with that
they can support their large family, send children to school and support
newlyweds.

When I go to Nhkata Bay I always stay at Ngila Lodge. Patrick rents a
small house there where I can sleep for free. The place itself is very
beautiful, and a day can easily be wasted away on the beach. Or we
escape into the TV room and enjoy technology, listening to music alone
is great. I personally like walking around town, watching the hustle
and bustle of an African city. It is nice to see things happening. You
have to understand how incredibly easily amused I have become. Anything
with a slightly faster pace is great!

Patrick and Stew are about to leave for another business trip to
Lichinga. I will stay and manage the lodge. For the next few days this
computer is MINE!!! Except that Nadia returns tomorrow, but no business
emailing:) I will write more later. Please forward this to mom and
Erin. Thanks

Love Always,
Shauna

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