It was becoming very real that we were running out of time in the month. People started working harder and everyone had become a lot closer, breaking down the touch barrier meant that the house was full of hugs and even better, massages. One night brought about 10 of us together for a massage chain in the living room, which looked a lot weirder on the outside than it did for us. There was also a small group of us that always stayed up late, having a dance or a chat and postponing sleep until we couldn’t keep our eyes open.
Despite the late nights I started getting up for the home workout a bit more and tried the gym for the first time, something that surprised both me and everyone in the house upon my return. I mainly went for a hot shower to wash my hair, but that’s beside the point. The view from the gym was also incredible, I would have had a lot more motivation to go to the gym at home if I got to look at a mountain while I did my workout.
Our culture activity this week was an Amazing Race experience, giving us the opportunity to run around the city doing certain things to earn us points. The teams were out for a couple of hours, eating the weirdest things we could find (chicken feet and crickets just to name a couple), having samba shots (a famous South African spirit tasting like Sambuca), finding other white tourists and jumping in pools with all our clothes on. Upon our rush home, we also found a couple of our friends who went the extra mile and shaved their heads, both of which were part of teams which somehow only came last. They only regretted their decisions a little bit…
This week I was lucky enough to have a meeting with two head clinicians, explaining to them our project and exploring the ways in which it would benefit them. It made the whole month feel a lot more valuable, and I was able to see the impact that this project would have on people like them in the long run, working to improve the health system as a whole. It was lovely to get to know them both and to see the inside of a clinic which was a mild shock to say the least; overcrowded and noisy, and questionably sanitary.
We skipped having leftovers for lunch as regularly this week and went back to enjoy some of our favourite restaurants we’d found over the past couple weeks. It didn’t save us money but man it was worth it, and exciting to finally have our bearings (mostly) around our area. This was a big achievement for me in particular as I am quite geographically challenged. We were talking about placing bets on how long it’ll take until I get well and truly lost in Africa, unfortunately my new family isn’t super optimistic about my welfare this year.
On Friday night we headed out to dinner with our teams. My Health team hit up the popular Indian restaurant and indulged in the best foreign food I’ve had in some time, whilst drinking the best wine I’ve had in some time. I assume neither of them were actually that good and it was just because it’s been so long since I had either of them, but it was great nonetheless. Dinner became a teary affair, accepting the reality that our month was about to draw to a close. To make ourselves feel a little better, we met the other teams at the night club down the road and drowned our sorrows in $2 tequila shots, a danger that I would certainly come to regret the next day. We tried to match the dance moves of the Malawians, but when I failed to succeed I decided that their hips have been created in a certain way to allow their dancing, as it’s just impossible to try and move mine in the same way.
The group leader came and picked the stragglers up at close to 3am and we piled into the van, pretty ready to stumble into bed when we got back.