LILONGWE, MILAWIJuly 16, 2017 in Malawi
After a slightly shady money changing transaction in a parking lot in Chipata, had an easy-ish border crossing into Malawi and a short drive to the capital of Lilongwe where we spent just one night. We decided to stay in a hotel, and what a great decision. The front desk guy knew a guy who might be able to fix our winch (which John had sort-of broke). The guy came with his assistant on Sunday night, in his best Sunday outfit, removed the winch, and then took it somewhere (via taxi) overnight turning up at 7am the next day. He had managed to untangle the cable and fix the motor. He installed it, demonstrated it was working, and we happily paid him and on our way by 9am.
We’d heard that re-filling gas bottles (which is how we cook our meals) was difficult North of Zambia, but luckily, Christy saw a guy in the parking lot near the supermarket, where we were stocking up, with a gas bottle and quickly went up to him and found out there was a refilling station right across from the Shoprite. Very exciting.
We next were trying to get some cash from the ATM, but because it was Monday machine after machine was empty. Finally, on our way out of town, we saw an armed guard at an ATM at a filling station and were told they were putting cash in the machine. We decided to wait to withdraw some cash (no credit cards are accepted at filling stations). While waiting, we had a great conversation with a few of the fuel station attendants. One was very curious how we were finding Malawi compared to other African countries we’d visited. He’d worked briefly in South Africa, but had to return because of the “xenophobia” he found there (his words). He was focused on raising his 2 kids (only 2 so he could give them a good life and education). The other guy found out we were headed to the lake and reminded us that where we were going was not the “real Malawi” and that whatever we could do to buy from local people and give them work like washing our laundry during our travels could make a big difference.Read more