Friday, January 20, 2012 - This is it - the day that the credit union coaching group leaves the Canadian cold and makes our way to the warmth of Africa.
There are 22 of us that have volunteered for this assignment that is organized through the Canadian Co-operative Association. We are going to three different countries: Uganda, Ghana and Malawi.
The group is divided into coaching pairs so that we all have a buddy to travel, work and share the experience with. We have all spent the past three days in Ottawa for orientation and are ready to get this show on the road!
This blog site will be updated by Bev Maxim and Dave Domes. Since we are from Saskatchewan and Manitoba we have dubbed ourselves Prairie Connection.
We are assigned to go Malawi - specfically the southern part of the country. There are four others on the Malawi team and while they will be working in different regions of the country we will all start out and finish together. The travel route today takes us from Ottawa to London, England where we have a long layover and all six of us will be enjoying the Air Canada arrivals lounge at Heathrow airport to rest and freshen up compliments of some passes that Bev got her hands on. From there we go to Johannesburg and then on to Lilongwe, the capital city of Malawi, which we should reach about mid-day on Sunday.
During the orientation this week, we have learned that there are two official languages spoken in Malawi: English and Chichewa. When we arrive in Lilongwe we will greet our host by saying 'Moni' which is the Chichewa all purpose greeting. It is customary for women to use the left hand to hold the elbow of the right arm and curtsy when meeting someone, so Bev will try to remember to do that. We understand that visitors are granted a lot of leeway with these customs. Good thing!
We will post as often as possible while traveling over this weekend, and while we are in country the next two weeks, depending on Internet availability. Check for updates often.
Tionana (Chichewa word for 'see you later')