18 candid (and conflicting) Malawian responses to "What's America like?"

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Food Fridays: Mafe (Senegal)



This delicious recipe for lamb and peanut stew comes from Amber Patterson in Massachusetts:



  • Cooking oil
  • 1-2 lbs. lamb
  • 1 C peanut butter
  • 1-2 C water or beef broth
  • 1 Maggi cube (chicken bouillon also works)
  • 1-2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2-4 tomatoes, cut into sections
  • 1 hot chile pepper
  • 1 or more chopped vegetables: cabbage, carrots; eggplant, potatoes, squash, sweet potatoes, or turnips are commonly used
  • Salt & black pepper (to taste)


  1. Heat oil in a large pot. Sauté meat & onions over high heat.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes.
  3. Add all of the remaining ingredients except for the peanut butter & water. Simmer for about 30 minutes until all ingredients are tender.
  4. Reduce heat and add peanut butter. Stir.
  5. Add water or broth as needed to make a smooth sauce.
  6. Serve over rice.

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One day a GIANT stick bug fell out of my roof. How cool is that?! It climbed right back up the wall, except for a brief stint where I tried to pick it up. Did you know stick bugs have wings? I did not, and it sure did give me a start! They can’t really fly as their wings are disproportionately small to their bodies but it does let them glide or rather fall gracefully from predators or overly curious Peace Corps volunteers. After that I left it alone and it is probably still living in my roof. I mean, I can’t tell since it’s a stick bug and my roof is made of sticks but I don’t see why it would want to leave.


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Peace Corps Volunteer Builds First Bathroom in Senegal School

Peace Corps Volunteer Karen Chaffraix is working with her community members in Senegal to install the first bathroom facility at a nearby elementary school. The new three-stall facility is complete with running water for hand-washing and will help prevent water contamination and disease through safe and effective waste disposal.

“Continued community participation is essential to the success of the project,” Chaffraix said. “Hopefully those involved will be empowered to undertake future projects and will contribute to improved health and sanitation for all.”

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Take my picture



What you see in this picture comes from a place where the road surrenders to the earth.

What you see in this picture is the reason I traveled 6,400 miles.

What you see in this picture is the reason I am learning to speak another language.

What you see in this picture is braver than you or I.

What you see in this picture could have been you or I.

What you see in this picture is a girl who will learn to tend her own garden and avoid malnutrition.

What you see in this picture is the reason I will not leave Africa.

This picture is so many things, but it was made possible because you were a great friend, teacher, farmer, or family member that believed in me.

This picture

is for you.

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New arrivals in Malawi are not so different from me

New arrivals in Malawi are not so different from me

This piece originally appeared in full at “The Enterprise.”

The first few days and weeks in Malawi can be overwhelming. The 20-hour flight seems endless, and with hardly any sleep it’s easy to get flustered. Reading any of the hundreds of books about this continent can never be a match for learning about Africa when living here. Years ago in grade school we were taught about Africa as a continent…

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Camp GLOW: Girls Leading Our World…in Funyula


Camp GLOW: Girls Leading Our World…in Funyula


“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud” -Coco Chanel

I coordinated a Camp GLOW: Girls Leading Our World, in my local community where we focused on character development, health/healthy living and professional development. Camp GLOW is a PEPFAR and Peace Corps initiative, they hold large regional camps annually in Kenya. I applied for a grant through World Connect to host…

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Camp Sky!

So Camp Sky finished a couple weeks ago, but I’m still excited about it. It was mos def the best week of my Peace Corps service, and the most rewarding. Personally, I was taking pictures and videos for our blog to share with the world (campskymw.tumblr.com if you haven’t checked it out yet!) and I taught a lesson about poetry vs. prose using my ukulele and songs by Simon & Garfunkel, Bon Iver, and T. Swift. Oh also, I cleaned a lot. If you want to know more about the week, look at the blog or feel free to ask me anything about it. Camp Sky was real amazing and inspiring and made my whole service! From cleaning up in the beginning, to watching kids shine creatively, to watching them get super into activities like flip cup (with water!), scavenger hunts, the Macarena, asking questions to guest Malawian professionals, singing songs, creating songs in 30 minutes, and engaging in lessons, to seeing some use a computer for the first time, to watching them also try spaghetti for the first time (some enjoyed more than others), to hearing some students recite lines while watching the Romeo and Juliet, to saying goodbye…for now. Thanks to everybody involved…no matter how. That week was tremendous, and while our goal was to do it for the students it also did a lot for us PCV’s involved. YEWO CHOMENE

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