Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Christmas in Malawi

Christmas in Malawi was definitely different, but very memorable. There was no snow, of course. The weather here is very hot and humid.

I knew I wouldn’t be having a day off or finding presents under a tree in the morning. Baby monkeys need to be fed every hour, so it was a working day for everybody. But before going to work, I decided to have a video chat with my family back home. When I woke up at 5 in the morning on Christmas, it was Christmas Eve evening back home so that was perfect. 

It took awhile to find the proper connection, but we did and I could finally see my parents and younger brother. It was great seeing their faces and chatting with them. They were curious about what I had been doing so I told them about how I was caring for 4 baby monkeys and some other animals. We chatted for almost an hour. Then I had to rush to grab breakfast before going to work for the day.

One of the staff members made pancakes for everybody. We usually have toasts or whatever we can make ourselves so the pancakes were a special treat, and they were delicious! We had also decorated the hang out room. I cut out some paper snowflakes and we had a small fake tree with a little ornament and one string of lightings. It was just enough to make it feel like Christmas.

After filling my stomach up with pancakes, I went to work with my four little monkeys—Frank, Aboo, Affe, and Trouble. They have to be fed every hour—even on Christmas! I was feeling really good, full of happiness about the work that I am doing. I worked until 3 and then had the rest of the afternoon off—a nice Christmas present which gave me a chance to catch up on my sleep.

After my nap, I was getting ready for Christmas dinner. I checked my phone and noticed there was a post from my older brother’s girlfriend. I wanted to be sure I was getting the message right, so I stopped by the reception before dinner to use the Wifi. That message was the best Christmas present ever. I’m getting a sister! Well, actually a sister-in-law. My big brother popped the big question to his beautiful lady and she said yes. I was so excited for them that I shed happy tears. I love my two brothers, but all my life I wanted a sister. And now I feel like I’m finally getting one, thanks to my big brother!

At dinner, there were presents on the table for each volunteer and staff member. We had picked people for Secret Santa gifts, and my Santa got me a bottle of my favorite beer and a chocolate bar. Even though, I could see the Christmas spirit all around me, I started to feel like I used to feel at home. Everyone was talking and I couldn’t follow the conversation. I know it’s just the way it is, but I could feel the Christmas spirit draining away.

After dinner, there was a plan to go out to a casino and play blackjack. I didn’t want to go out with another large group where I would feel left out, and I certainly didn’t want to lose money. I was about to say I would be staying behind when one of the staff mentioned that she and another staff member would be going to a local bar. She offered to take me along, and I chose to go with her instead of the bigger group. It was a really good decision. I had so much fun chatting with them and the local people we met. After a beer or two, we decided to dance the rest of the night away. I completely lost track of time and fell into bed a few hours before dawn.

All in all, it was a great Christmas—and one I will always remember.


  1. Thanks Jessie! Sounds like you're having fun. Can't wait to hear all about it when you get back!

  2. What a fun Christmas!!! Your descriptions make me feel I'm right there. And congrats on your new sister!