Group 1 2011

Kiel Beltinck, Brian Queen, Dan Bouchard, Dave Hotwagner, Daniella Frank, Dan Woodall, Amanda Freschauf, Sarah Servinsky, 2011 (w/pictures “Malawi 2011,” “Elephant”)

Things We Wish We Had Known

  • Best ways for family/friends to get a hole of you (other than email) or have them skype to the students’ phone. It’s cheaper for them to call you. (You can try skype but internet too slow; Google Talk works with internet here).
  • Ask Terrie for a reliable taxi driver if you go out at night. Check taxi for red letters on license plate. This means they are legit.
  • Better exchange rate if you change US $ vs. the ATM
  • There is a park in Majete where you can see hippos, water buffalo, elephants and zebras. But if you go, 4-wheel drive is a must. (Also tell them you work at the hospital and it is 1000 kwacha instead of 3000.)
  • Blue Elephant is a bar/restaurant with good food. Nice crowd with a DJ (and dancing) on Saturdays.
  • TJ’s is similar to an American bar. Watch out for their hot sauce.
  • When buying a bicycle, check brakes, handlebars, pedals, etc. Do NOT buy local Indian-made bicycles. They will fall apart in 1-2 days.
  • Don’t underestimate Mount Mulanje. Also note: There is a steep trail vs. a not-steep one. A guide, porters, sleeping bags and flashlights are highly recommended.
  • Pay the school (College of Medicine) in kwacha – get a better rate.
  • Pedicures (1500 kw) Impact Looks in Chichiri Shopping Center (across from BP station). Ask for Lucy or Maggie. M-Sat. 8-5 p.m., Sun 9-5 p.m.
  • To go to Shoprite/Game (like Kroger or Family Fare) you can pick up a minibus across from the hospital (about 50 kwacha on weekdays, 70 on weekends). To come back, hitch a different minibus and tell them to drop you off at “Mandala/Mackie” or “Sea Fowl” = CFAO, which will get you near Terrie’s. Or just walk. It is about 1-2 km. Or use Terrie’s bikes.


Bartering Tips

You can barter at the market, but these are guidelines on how to survive hassling at the wood market.

  1. Introduce yourself. Talk with them. Tell them you are volunteering at QECH.
  2. Bring old T-shirts, shoes, etc. to barter with. You may even see a guy named Joseph wearing an MSU SOMA T-shirt.
  3. Laugh at high prices.
  4. The longer you talk, the more impatient they can get, price down.
  5. Most of the time they will overshoot high. Start low and meet in the middle where you are comfortable.
  6. Buy in bulk.
  7. Never say how much is in your wallet (unless you are willing to pay that much).
  8. Sarcastic humor is not understood by Malawians.
  9. Walk away from the sale. The price will drop.
  10. If you are done shopping and want to close a sale, tell them you only have (amount willing to pay) left if your wallet. It can make your purchase cheaper and allows you to have an excuse to leave the market without others following.
  11. Finally, be polite. This is how people earn a living.
  12. Bubble wrap for souvenirs can be found nearby at Paperwork (1 meter = 360 kwacha)

Group II 2011

Adam Hung, Colleen Hoehne, Brendan Collins, Julie Kozlowski, Amy Corrigan, Kelli Brackema, Chris Sci, Maggi Lewis

We went weekly to Noah’s Ark Orphan Care to hang out with the kids. They love to read books, and we taught them “Head Shoulders Knees and Toes,” Duck Duck Goose, Red Rover. They love if you teach lessons, too. It’s super easy to get on a minibus for a quick afternoon.


From Blantyre Market minibus hub, ask for Chrimba bus (they are usually toward the front of the van lines). Ask to get off at Chiweto Stage. Should only cost 100-130 kwacha. It’s best of you have those destinations (Chrimba/Chiweto) written on paper to show them. Should be a 20-minute ride. Call Nancy, 0888515248, when you get off and someone will walk to meet you. Only a minute from the road.

Nancy is a super-sweet grandmotherly missionary from Flint, Mich. Loves visitors.


Block III 2011

Erin Darlington, Jessica Johnson, Candace Johnson, Emma Rodgers, Sarah Schrauben, Jennifer Saultz, and featuring Karen Geukers, research


Medicine was a great experience, but be warned … there’s much less structure than you’re used to and navigating the rotation takes quite a while. My best advice would be to figure out who your intern is on Day 1 and attach yourself to him/her. Spend some afternoons on 4B — the admissions ward — ideally with one of the interns on call. You will get a chance to do lumbar punctures and taps, although without anesthesia. Also, set aside time to do clinics. Kaposi Sarcoma clinic is worth going to at least once.

Jennifer Saultz

The Peds dept. is HUGE which means that the sky is the limit OR you get lost easy. Avoid this by deciding on a clinic that you can do every week with the same consultant. I regularly went to sickle cell clinic and neurology clinic. Both were great experiences. Cardiology clinic with Dr. Kennedy is amazing but very popular.


Erin Darlington

Don’t worry! You’ll be fine!

If there are other students, attach yourself to a smart 5th year to get the swing of things. If there are no Malawian students, find an intern who likes to teach.

Dr. Taulo is NOT the head of the dept. even though he acts like it. He’s a funny guy and his bark is worse than his bit. He likes it if you do a presentation on a common OB/GYN topic seen in the U.S. not seen here.


This rotation can be as laid back/hands off as you want OR if you’re a real gunner you can get involved if you let them know.

ALL females change in the nurses room down in the theater. You can get samosas in the nurses room for 20 kwacha each!

Endoscopy is at the END of 2B, through a sketchy looking door when you think you’ve gone too far.

University of Maryland researchers