Monday, 18 February 2013

Indie and I are back!

Hello everyone! Muli bwanji?*
Indie and I are back! We got back to Scotland at lunchtime yesterday after a bit of a punishing 30 hour journey. It’s nice to be home though Heathrow appears to be staffed by horrible, rude, inept, jobsworth staff. I was ashamed to be British when I arrived, Heathrow was so awful.

Anyway, how did Indie get on? Well I’m sad to say there are no pictures of him out and about with me because it’s the rainy season in Malawi at the moment and BOY it was rainy! Far too rainy to have him out in it while I faffed about taking pictures of him. But apart from that, he worked pretty well. In the end, I didn’t use him much for note-taking as we were using the Whitelines Link paper (more on that in another post) to take meeting notes, but I did jot things down in him and I did use the diary pages. He was also superb for holding money and cards and for my cheat-sheets for Chichewa. I had given him a bit of leather-treatment before we went and I’m glad I did as otherwise he would have suffered a bit in the climate, which was very humid, warm and rainy.

He’ll certainly be with me on my next trip out there and since that will be after all the rains, I will try and take pictures.

*this means: How are you? in Chichewa. The response (assuming you are well!) is Ndili bwino, kaya inu? (which means: I am and well, and you?) or Ndili bwino, zikomo (which means: I am well, thank you).

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Indie and I are off to Malawi!

Heavens, it’s rolled around quickly, but I am off to Malawi again. [And I have a head torch. And it flashes. Yes! – tell me in the comments if you know where that’s from!]

Anyway, away I will be and Indie is coming with me! He’s now almost all set up for the travels to act as my wallet and my organiser. I will be putting the few cards I take with me in the card slots, but otherwise, he’s all set.

Indie - my beloved Mulberry agenda
First up: my basic Chichewa phrase sheets. I am SO bad at Chichewa (though at least I try! None of my colleagues have ever bothered in the four years we’ve been going out to Malawi). I can manage muli bwanji and on a good day, trot out ndili bwino, kaya inu? in response. On a really good day, I can even manage mwaswera bwanji (late afternoon) or ndaswera bwino, kaya inu? in response. Maybe I’ll manage to learn a bit more this time…?

Then I have my flight itinerary (folded and punched, with the edge trimmed slightly to fit – another joy of the binder being A6!). This is followed by a series of packing sheets (printed on index cards, cut in half – the card is sturdier than paper).

Reverse of my flight itinerary (can't show you the front!) and one of the packing lists
Then I have a diary for the time I’m away – appointments on one side (from the A4 two pages per day file from Philofaxy) and notepaper for the other side. Again, the delight of A6 is I can just print four to a page, slice and punch. Perfect.

2DPP from Philofaxy (just the date part) plus notepaper
After that, some straight notepaper, printed on Clairefontaine cream paper, for extra notes during the trip.

At the back (though they will get moved to the front to make writing on the paper easier…) are two plastic document wallets (A6), punched to hang on the rings. One of them has Malawian kwacha in it (don’t be fooled by the 500 or 1000 into thinking that there is loads of money there – there are 600 kwacha to the pound!); the other has Bank of England notes, ready to swap at the bureau de change.

In the zipped pocket at the back I’ll pop a data stick or two and any other cards I need.

So, that’s him all set to go. I think his rugged Indiana Jones’ notebook look will work well in Malawi! What do people think?

As I will be away from Friday, tionana! I’ll be back blogging after the 18th.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Stickers have arrived!

[Warning: picture heavy!]
Well, my diary is now looking MUCH more decorated, thanks to the arrival of a heap of stickers from Etsy (shop = rikyandnina).

Lovely parcel, wrapped with the Union Jack flag bag:

This is what my diary looks like now…

As well as adding stickers (at the end of the day…) I have also been adding a couple of cartoons or drawings (nothing fancy… I am a scientist, remember!).
The stickers I ordered were some cartoon rabbits (because they made me laugh), some pandas and cats (because they made me laugh), some colourful ones (because they had diary tabs) and some washi tape that looks like stamps (because it looks like stamps).
Picture time!

The rabbits:

The pandas:

The cats:

The colourful ones:

The washi stamps:

[Apologies for all the crooked/poor quality pictures!!]

I’m fairly pleased with it all. There are more than enough stickers to be able to choose one that sums the day up and I may even keep my diary at the end of the year (I normally toss them as they are usually dull and only have planning in them).