1. Malawians are so friendly! “Hello! How are you? Welcome! My name is [insert adorable name here. Recent examples include Gift, Happy, and Gracious.], and yours?” Add entended warm handshake. So starts every conversation with a Malawian.
2. In fact, they are the friendliest people I have every met. You have a conversation with virtually every Malawian you pass on the street. Everyone just talks to everyone all the time, and usually without reason. People aren’t trying to sell you something or get you to fall for a bus ticket scam (as people often were in Tanzania), they just genuinely want to talk to you and find out why you are here. The person sitting next to you on the bus gives you his email address. The stranger who sat down to join you for a meal in a restaurant invites you to visit his village. They person walking down the street next to you offers to take you to a church service. Coming from anonymous New York City, such interactions are quite a shock, but you can’t help but love it.
3. Aaaaah, sweet, sweet water. Malawi is a lush green country full of lakes and rivers. Just seeing so much green makes you feel cooler, especially after the dry, dusty yellow landscapes of Egypt, Jordan and Tanzania. And, passing through villages on the bus, you see that almost every town has a well, and wells are almost always being used. So often in Tanzania we would pass through poor dusty villages and my first thought would be to wonder where they got water. It is so nice to see such an abudance of both natural and man-made water sources.