Well, the preparations for my upcoming adventure to Malawi are underway. I’ve been approved for a leave of absence until June. The parents and staff at my school have been told that I am going to Africa.
I am of course very anxious. I’m nervous mostly about what needs to be done here. I have to find someone to rent my apartment. A real estate agent is helping me by listing it on MLS. It will be listed as a short term furnished rental. I hope that someone will take it. It will alleviate a lot of my anxiety.
I’ve contacted three travel agents who are researching flight prices for me. So far the cheapest flight is through London on Air Canada and Kenya Airways at a cost of $2600. I was really hoping for a much cheaper ticket. My usual route is on KLM through Amsterdam, which I’ve grown a bit bored with but it’s easy and familiar. I hope an agent will call me back with a better price.
I will soon visit the dentist for a cleaning. I also have to go to the travel doctor to get updated vaccinations and medications. I need to research malaria more thoroughly because I think it’s not safe to take the prevention medication for a prolonged period.
I have not yet told my students. It seems cruel to do that to them at this point. They are just little and they get attached to their teacher.
I’ve sent many emails and text messages to Malawi. I’m very lucky to have friends there who want me to be happy and safe. I have written to ask many questions about the availability of goods. Do they have chart paper? Do they have coloured pencils? Do they have parmesan cheese? Tofu? Can I get a wok? How muddy will it be? Do Malawians fall in the mud? The list of questions goes on and on.
I’ve received emails from the school. They will meet me at the airport and a driver will take me to buy groceries. I will meet the principal and the other grade one teacher to go over the syllabus. Stationary supplies have been ordered for my classroom. All in all I feel like I will be well taken care of.
I know I will miss many of my creature comforts like lattes, pesto, Magic Bullet, cable TV, high speed internet and a washing machine. I will surely be writing home to ask for care packages.
As the time draws nearer I become a bit more excited and a lot more anxious but I know that I have made the right decision. I will learn a lot and become an even better teacher.