A Malawian wedding and a construction project🏠

Well I am so quickly into my first month here and in some respects it feels like I have been here forever and in others the time has passed so quickly! I can’t believe that I had to go to Blantyre on Thursday to the immigration office to extend my 30 day visa- seems like only yesterday I arrived! Very efficient they were too – 30mins from start to finish – I wonder if a visit to immigration in the U.K would be so quick😀

Work is going well even though technology is conspiring against me! We all take high speed internet for granted at home yet here the internet often goes down and I have learnt I can only have my email and one other webpage open or else my lovely super fast GSK laptop collapses! It amazing how much you rely on internet without there is no email , no printer, no Skype etc and so having all documents in a Dropbox on my c drive is the best way to work I have been taught!

No blog last week sorry, as I was kindly invited to spend the weekend in Mulanji a beautiful part of Malawi about 3.5 hrs from Neno for a traditional Malawian wedding! Mulanji is famous for its tea plantations and the huge mountain – Mulanji Massif or Mount Mulanji.


Beth and Joe met here in Malawi and they were generous in inviting many of the PIH staff for a beautiful ceremony, also attended by many of Beth’s family and friends from America, at a beautiful place called Kara O’Mula lodge that had the most fantastic views – the title picture is from one  of their many viewing areas

I hope you can see a great time had by all – apart from the slight room challenge when we arrived that meant the two rooms we thought we had booked – was reduce to one room for 5 to share!

The other exciting event this week was the site visit by contractors to bid for building 2 guest houses for the district council. PIH have been asked to run the open bidding process and so I am helping Procurment work with the infrastructure team in the first ever joint construction project – a huge achievement and my first procurement construction project – but don’t tell anyone!!

IMG_0629Bids are due to be open on Tuesday when all the contractors and relevant people attend to see the bid box opened. We are ploughing ahead with procurement processes, policies and procedures, identifying contracts (and contract gaps) and working with the brilliant Faith and Ivy to really embed procurment in the purchasing process

It was Gary’s birthday last weekend and we agreed it was the first birthday we had not been together but we did FaceTime and Moonpig is a great invention! Happy birthday Gary  🎉

Water and electricity continue to be intermittent ( 12 hour power cut is the record so far) and I am getting a dab hand at flushing the toilet with a cup of water, although my housemates might disagree with my aim – with the water I mean! But on the positive side here in Neno they have the most fabulous fabric and amazing tailors and so I am having a dress made to measure in 3 days for about £6.00 – I’ll let you know how that goes next time



  1. Great to read about how you are getting on and looking forward to seeing a photo of your made to measure outfit-those Netball meetings are going to have a new dress code on your return!

  2. Hi Sylvia it is great to read your blog again what an amazing opportunity! It looks amazing and I am sure the power cuts and lack of technology or internet will really make you appreciate ours when you get home., I thought it may be the first birthday you and Gary have spent apart that must have been hard for both of you and so I am please you git to FaceTime or Skype him. I have only seen your first blog and this one and so I am investigating to see if I can find the others.
    Continue to enjoy the project I can’t wait to hear all about it.

    Love and all the best Allyson xx

  3. Hi Sylvia
    This is the first time I’ve managed to read one of your blogs I don’t seem to have got any others . I’m so pleased it’s going ok it sounds like you’re getting to grips with it all and can’t believe you’ve been there over a month already . Keeping this short and sweet incase you don’t get it I’m not so good with the technology lol . Looking forward to pics of your haute couture outfit lol
    Missing our coffees love Jen xxx

    1. Jen,
      Yes got your message fine – lovely to hear from you and definitely missing our coffees. hope all well with everyone at home and keep the messages coming!
      I did put a link to the other blogs in the e-mail I sent – it was my mistake I forgot to send emails out with the links – which I will do from now on! xx

  4. Well done Sylvia busy busy as ever! You’ve achieved so much already. FaceTime this week, i’ll PM you to arrange! Lots of love x

    1. Hi sue thanks for you message – this week might be difficult as I accidentally dropped my phone in a bowl of water so am without phone at the moment – can FT using iPad but will have to email you

  5. Hi Sylvia – really glad to see your blog – sounds as if you are travelling about and seeing so much more of Malawi. I can’t believe you’ve been there for a month either – building project sounds very interesting and hope that goes well. I just had a weekend at Burghley watching the eventing with Tamsin – really good fun – great weather and lots of horses and cross country jumps that are unbelievably big – very scary. On the one cup of water for the loo – managing with so much less resources is a lesson we should all learn – we waste a lot here in the UK. Take care Lorraine

  6. Wow! You really are experiencing all that Malawi has to offer!! That is fantastic!! I also love that you are doing something so completely different than what you do at GSK. That is so cool. I am really enjoying the pictures – really helps me visualize where you are and what you are doing. Keep up the good work!!

  7. Make a Quantity Surveyor of you yet Syliva with that the construction tendering!! Sounds like your having fun. Hope to see u guys in Cape Town xxx

    1. Hi Jill Yes thinking of a change in career!! If I can get these flipping SA flights booked and paid for I’ll be there – Gary has booked his so at least he will be there from the 1st Nov!
      cant wait!! xx

  8. Fab blog Sylvia! Wedding looked great how lovely they invited you all.
    Bet the wifi is just the same as at your house!!
    Very quiet without you – all missing you lots but trip looks incredible and we are of course all mega proud (and I’m jealous!).
    Look forward to the next post (and photos of the £6 dress!).
    Lots of love xxxx

    1. Hi Holly so glad you like the blog – i am quite getting into it now – I’ll be a techno wizard by the time I leave (I dont think!) So excited about your house hunting let me know how it goes and looking forward to the next FT XXX

  9. Hiya Auntie Sylvia,
    So so proud sounds amazing, love reading all of your adventures & accomplishments every week!!
    I am looking forwards to seeing a photo of you in your new tailor made dress next time you make your blog!
    The traditional wedding must have been amazing to be a part of, look forwards to hearing about it & more at Christmas.
    The loss of power and water must be hard, every time my phone runs out of charge I think of you! We take it so for granted!
    Stay safe and enjoy yourself!
    Lots of love

    1. Hi Katie and thanks for you lovely comments. How all the prep for uni going? are you excited? When do you head off? XXX

  10. Blimey you have been busy Sylvia! I bet all your procurement expertise is coming back to you – what an exciting project. would love to see the new outfit when you get it. sounds like everyone is so friendly and welcoming – you’ve not got any time to think about home! Keep the blogs coming, I enjoy reading what you are getting up to and the pictures.

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