Blessings Furniture

We arrived in Malawi with no furniture. About the closest thing to
furniture that we had was our two sleeping bags. The house that we
moved into was completely empty, so we have been slowly trying to
furnish the place. A guy from church lent us a desk, 2 chairs and a
little table, all of which have been critical. Expats are always
leaving and selling their furniture, so we thought that would be a good
way to go. I soon discovered that what someone back home would throw in
the dumpster or give away, expats charge $500 for. There seems to be a
value added through import mentality that the expats try to levy on
other expats. It is sort of fair I guess, it is difficult to find stuff
many things here, so if someone else has managed to get it , they might
as well compensate themselves for their own efforts. If only I could
have a morning of garage sale-ing through some wealthy American

So I was happy to meet a guy at the hash who knew a furniture maker.
The joiner's name is Blessings, and I went right away went to meet him.
Blessing's shop is pretty simple. It is a very outdoor area covered by
a tin roof. Blessing's claims to be able to make just about anything,
so he has an old Argos catalog, an Italian furniture magazine, and some
pictures of his previous work in order to inspire customers. It takes
him about two weeks to make a big piece of furniture like a bed or a
table. When your furniture is all done, a dented up pickup truck
arrives in a cloud of diesel smoke with your new furniture hanging off
of the tailgate, along with a whole crew of guys to help carry it
inside. Our bed was about $150, the table and 6 chairs $250. The price
is definitely reasonable for Lilongwe, and it feels good to be
supporting a business, "Blessings M's Unique Furniture", that is
utterly local.

Our table under construction:

It looks much better now!

At the moment I am anxiously waiting a sofa and two chairs to go along
with it. I have gone for a design that looks simple on the outside, but
Claudia's requirement that it be comfortable (many we have sat on here
are cushions on wood - not comfy) has required a fairly intricate
internal design. I am responsible for the cushions, which will probably
be a combination of cut mattresses, something fluffy, and some beige
material to cover it. If it is a success pictures will follow.

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