Editor’s note: This is one of a series of posts by students from Michigan State University in the U.S. and LUANAR University in Malawi who participated in the Frugal Innovations Program of the Global Center for Food Systems Innovation.
By Alyssa Cleland
Being here for only one day has already brought so many surprises. I told myself I was going into this with completely open mind; no expectations and no judgements, adjusting [to the best of my ability] to life here in Malawi for two weeks. Adjusting to life here is not as simple as I thought it would be. After all, the reason we adjust is because we are not used to certain conditions.
You hear things about places you’ve never been. You hear about different cultures, ways of life, laws, tragedies, but often times, none of it seems real. You know it’s happening, to an extent, but don’t think much of it until you are actually feeling an impact.
This really seems like a different world. I’m so accustomed to my comfortable life in Michigan, where I can easily communicate with everyone in my native language, where I know the seemingly logical do’s and don’ts, where I have constant access to wifi, where I can drink the tap water, and where I don’t have to worry about sleeping with a mosquito net over my bed. I didn’t even know those existed!
We met our Luanar colleague students today, and everyone is so sweet and fun to talk to. Tomorrow we will tour two of the markets as a group. I won’t go into much detail yet, but I’m so excited to continue to immerse myself in this totally unfamiliar environment and most importantly, as the videographer, capture the experience of the group during the project!