Welcome to Africa

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
After a long first day we were all exhausted and ready to settle in our rooms and go to bed. I was unpacking my stuff and suddenly it was dark. “Ahhh! Are you serious?” Screams echoed from all the MSU students’ dorms, including my own. I ran out to the hallway, where we all met to assess this tragic situation.

We lose power in America, but not frequently. We take electricity for granted, I suppose. I thought about all the things I would’t be able to do tonight, like charge my camera or phone or computer.
The eight of us talked outside our dorm rooms, using the flashlights on our smartphones to see. A local man who is staying in our line of dorms opened his door. Looking back on it, we probably woke him up. He explained to us that this is normal, and the power goes out often, and we don’t need to worry. It will come back on at some point.
“We don’t know when it will come back on? We can’t just not have electricity. This really happens all the time?” we all chattered.
“Welcome to Africa,” the man said.

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