Andrea: Working to get caught up with laundry – washing by hand in a bucket. I'd forgotten how much work hand washing is!
One of the problems that remains to be solved is that of money. The Fulbright scholarship includes a resettlement allowance, living allowance, etc. – but that is paid in US dollars into our US bank account. Of course, we need Malawian kwacha (MK) to buy anything.
We can withdraw kwacha from our US checking accounts at some of the ATM machines here, at a rate of about $1 = 320 MK. The problem is that the highest note they make is 1000 MK, or about $3.13. If the machine is stocked with 1000 MK notes the most we can withdraw at a time is 40,000 MK or about $125, because that is the tallest stack of bills the machine's slot can handle. If the machine is stocked with 500 MK notes we can only withdraw 20,000 MK. There is a $5 transaction fee every time. Nobody here uses checks, and only a few places that cater to tourists take credit cards. When you consider that it will take at least a couple million MK to buy a used car, you can see how things get complicated.
|40,000 MK, about $125: a stack of forty bills|