Hey there. The dust is starting to finally settle after another major cross-continental move, this time from Myanmar, where I lived with my family for three years, to Lilongwe, Malawi.  I arrived just over seven weeks ago, and on one hand it feels like I’ve only been here a few seconds. On the other, seven years feel like they have gone by. Well, since a picture is worth a thousand words, maybe I can start explaining a bit more about what I have been up to in images instead of my usual long, rambling blog stories. Let’s give it a go.


The Setting Up and Settling In

OK. I know that I have made major moves before, but all that experience still doesn’t shield you from how absolutely stupid you feel upon arrival in a brand new country. We had finally sorted out everything in Myanmar only to realize we had to learn everything all over again, from how to get potable water, how to use the electricity, where the trash goes, not getting lost on our own street, not getting killed driving on the left, and everything in between.


  Greetings from Malawi

Walking around our new neighborhood shortly after moving in. July 2019.  


Greetings from Malawi

Lilongwe is really spread out and it’s not really practical to walk everywhere or take public transport like in Yangon or Rome. Enter our favorite tuk tuk driver Clement. I’m sure he was miffed when I finally rented a car and started driving on the left and learning the lay of the land on my own. Sorry! You’re still on my speed dial though.    


Greetings from Malawi

First order of business was to start learning Chichewa and actually use it around town. More Doodles From Abroad  


Greetings from Malawi. Some Exploration


Greetings from Malawi

Monkeys in Lilongwe. As far as neighbors go, I’ll keep them.



Around Week 3, the boys and I took a day hiking trip to Dedza, close to the border with Mozambique. The local boys were quite curious about my two mzungu boys.

Pause here to explain what a “mzungu” is for those not familiar with the term:  


Sigh. Yes. It happened. Thankfully it was hilarious to all who were present.  


In Dedza, we looked at rock paintings dating 10,000 years ago as well as more recent pottery made in the area.  


Malawi and Mozambique, side by side. Dedza. August 2019.  


Not everything is so nice. My two cats think they are great hunters of the African wild in our backyard and are constantly bringing me little gifts all over the house. “No really. You shouldn’t have!” Lilongwe. August 2019. RIP Lizard, one of many corpses delivered daily.


Being Hyper in a Laid-Back Country and Trying to Find the Right Kind of Work



When I finally got the house and car situation squared away, the next step was getting my sons enrolled in school. Check. Next on my to-do list, meeting people here working at universities, art organizations, and NGOs to see how I might match my skills with local needs. Easier said than done, and sometimes my imagination did not want to cooperate. More Doodles From Abroad


My First Malawi Crowdfunding Project

Wilson Mvinyo, the founder of Hands of Hope, was one of the first people I met in Lilongwe and I have been to his feeding center and school where I have seen his initiatives in action. There, I met some of the kids and saw how I might be able to help via a crowdfunding project, similar to the ones I have done at AurasHouse.com.  


Kids taking lessons in one of the container classrooms


Wilson writes:

“We are a local organization running a feeding center called Hands of Hope in the village of Mtsiliza in Lilongwe district. These children are affected by HIV and AIDS and many are also orphans. We feed them Monday-Friday and we are also running a container school at the same place. The results have been overwhelming, seeing a lot of kids registering with our school and the containers. Currently we are full with kids and we came up with a simple structure to shelter them all. However, we need to put a permanent structure in place because school starts on the 9th of September. We feed 600 children and the kids that are using the school container classroom are 70. We believe as we keep feeding the vulnerable children, we can also teach them so that they can be responsible citizens when they grow up.”  


This is Esther who cooks for 600 kids a day, making rice and porridge over an open fire.  


Anyway, even though August is the WORST month for starting a new fundraising project, it was also my (gulp) birthday on the 27th, so I set up my first Malawi crowdfunding project to help Wilson and his school get resources for a new classroom. As luck and fate would have it, it funded in a few hours and we more than doubled our goal. The classroom is under construction as I write! Visit the project.


Exploring With Style and Birthday Goodness


After all that intense crowdfunding, I also got a chance to rest and explore a little bit on the weekend. This was our lovely spot by Lake Malawi at Blue Zebra Island Lodge.  



Greetings from Malawi. I’m feeling a bit wistful as I look at these pics. How nice it would be to lounge by a lake all day, every day. But, there is work to be done…


A Campaign for the UN’s Population Fund (UNFPA)


So, I have a new job. I’m creating illustrations, graphics, animation, and video for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). It’s a three month-long campaign and I am just at the start of it. I’ve also been in touch with UNICEF and some other organizations who are asking me to teach their staff how to do what I do in-house, instead of having to farm out multimedia work abroad where it costs time and money.

Once again, as in Myanmar, my field (digital media) is not taught in the local universities here in Lilongwe. So once again, instead of waiting for doors to open, I need to build my own door and find a way to teach under unusual/difficult conditions. Challenge accepted.



This is Nthambi, a character I created, who represents UNFPA beneficiaries. Namely she is a teen from rural Malawi who is looking out for opportunities so she can create a better life for herself, her son, and her family.  


These illustrations will soon be part of a web animation campaign. More to come.


Well, that’s not everything that happened in the last seven weeks, but this is a lot better than the big fat nothing I had written on my blog since June! Thanks so much for reading and hope to have more to share in the weeks and months ahead.



Greetings from Malawi

Just a birthday selfie at Lilongwe Wildlife Reserve, sans selfie-stick.