On reaching Blantyre I go straight to the local Peace Corps office. They tell me Rachel is staying in the Goliati village at the outskirts of the town. There is no address. I take a taxi, which leaves me in the vicinity. I am hoping she is home. But how am I going to find her cottage? There are children playing in courtyards. Some women just stare at me with a blank expression as they sweep their courtyards with a hand broom made out of thatch or grind corn to prepare the meal.
“American? American?” I keep asking waving my hand.
Finally a teenage girl speaks in broken English and points to a hut. It is similar to mine. I knock on the door. An American girl, but not Rachel, opens the door. She introduces herself as Agnes and says she is a volunteer worker for USAID.
“I’m looking for a PC Volunteer,” I say.
“Is her name Rachel by any chance?” Agnes asks.
Agnes says Rachel lives a few blocks away, but I wouldn’t find her there.
“What’s going on?” I ask.
“I took her to the Peace Corps infirmary in Blantyre this morning. She got sick from something she ate. Want to know how to go there?”
“I’d appreciate that.”