August 2017
A short but fine adventure by LouisaJames
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  • Day 1

    Arriving in Malawi - Chitimba

    August 4, 2017 in Zimbabwe ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

    After a lunch in between two countries waiting for visas to be issued, we drove into Malawi. A hill range with tea plantations marked the end of Tanzania and the beginning of Malawi, quite a marked difference. It's known as having the friendliest people in Africa and so far it seems to be the case. Lots of waving, shouting and running to catch a glimpse of the big yellow truck and it's strange cargo of musungu (white foreigners) leaning out the sides.
    The camp is on the sandy shore of Lake Malawi, more like a sea than a lake.
    Today we chose to visit the local town to have a look at the infrastructure and facilities including a school, hospital, day centre for orphaned children and the local witch doctor!
    More happy people who were very friendly and loads of children who just wanted to play and have their photos taken (in order to see the results on the screen). Not once were we asked for pens, sweets, money or passports.
    The school has 13 teachers with up to 120 children crammed into each room, with no desks or electricity. Louisa thinks she has a hard time with 30! We support UNICEF so it's interesting to see how vaccines are supplied, stored and administered by them. The doctor said that without that assistance the hospital wouldn't exist at all. The state of the hospital was shocking to see, with basic facilities and instruments. The doctors and nurses are doing what they can but funding from the government is limited.
    From this to a visit to a witch doctor who provides alternative mental, physical and spiritual treatments. After a quick dance demonstration to see how he gets into a trance we looked, smelled and snorted some treatments for various ailments - including a hangover remedy which is mixed with beer...... It's easy to be sceptical, but the fear of bad spells from evil witches is widely believed in here, so a great deal of faith and trust is put in this person.
    At the day centre all the children wanted to do was play and try on sunglasses, so we arrived, caused chaos then left! I'm sure the children see a few tourists but all they are interested in is playing and being entertained now!
    Quite an interesting but also thought provoking day.
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  • Day 3

    Kande Beach, Lake Malawi

    August 6, 2017 in Zimbabwe ⋅ 🌫 19 °C

    What a way to celebrate a crew members birthday, go to the market and buy a fancy dress costume for someone else to wear! Think the ladies of the group got off lightly whereas cross dressing is apparently illegal in Malawi so just as well we stayed in the camp all evening. Not sure what the campsite owners children thought of us. We spent two nights here which gave us plenty of opportunity to swim in the clear blue water that felt more like the sea than a lake with the white sand. Lou swam to the island and back, about 1.6 km or 62 lengths of a pool, not bad with a hangover, and jumped off one of the high rocks there. The nearby river has crocs but they only occasionally venture into the lake at night, thankfully there were none around while we were there. We also had the use of old windsurfer boards to play on as well as a rubber ball that we picked up while driving through the rubber plantations on our riute to here. We were treated to a massive hog roast and jacket potatoes for tea.Read more

  • Day 5

    Rural Malawi

    August 8, 2017 in Zimbabwe ⋅ ☀️ 31 °C

    We arrived in the outskirts of the capital yesterday, called Lilongwe, and left this morning but I don't think we missed much as it seemed like any other town. All the rest of our driving has been through rural areas, vastly different from home and very interesting to see. Apart from a problem with blue plastic bags littering the edge of each village, the scenery is very picturesque. Most villages are made up of rectangular and round mud houses, each home having a collection for either sleeping in, cooking in or washing in. All the water for the village is collected from a central hand pump and carried back on their head, age not mattering as we have seen very young children with small bowls on their heads. Apart from farming, people make money by making bricks or charcoal which they sell in white bags by the side of the road (this is what we use to cook with daily). Roads are pretty bad here so we are thankful for seatbelts when sitting at the back of the truck as you get thrown into the air a few times! It's much less bumpy at the front and less windy than the back when we drive with the sides up or the beach roof up.Read more