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RoadTrip

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years ago

7-18-07

So we are gearing up for a road trip on the southern end of Malawi. We hope to be off tomorrow by 8. Tonight we are planning to lull the kids into submission with a movie as we pack and prep the vehicles.

 

Today we ran errands. Luckily, Brian has been generous with his leave time and has been able to take a bunch of days off as we get ready and travel. He and I drove both the Toyota Hilux a 4door, 5 passenger truck with a cap and the Landrover Discovery to drop Maria off at her horse lesson and bring the rover to the shop. On our Northern swing to Nkhotakota on Lake Malawi, we noticed a noise coming from the engine compartment. It turns out the turbo is eating itself, and the motor needs some help as well. Brian has found a good mechanic, and he explained that it would need to be done in the next 15 or 20k kilometers. So we're good to go on that front.

 

We got an influx of american dollars at the national bank, which were then converted to kwatcha at another stop. He made safari reservations for Liwande while I took the kids for an ice cream at the convenience store nearby. Brian shopped at Shopright while I hung in the car with Nicholas and Caroline. While we were doing this, Angela and Maria had Courtney over. She's a school friend of Maria's who moved to Malawi from Zimbabwe.

 

Mike and Liz went to the market. Liz tells me the wooden bridge over the river was quite a ride at 10 kwatcha entry. They took the low one over, then the high one back. Unfortunately I didn't plant a camera on her. When we return I want to get an escort to the market. There are a bunch of makeshift stands selling american clothing, probably coming from goodwill or something. They were looking for shoes for Caroline, who like a good african child has feet of leather. She is thrilled about her new pink shoes and is clomping around in them right now.

 

There are the hustlers moving and shaking, the guys at the stands and the mamas laying out on the piles of clothes with the babies suckling away.

 

There was a minister preaching and the people yelling hallelujah, bowls belts shoes, foodsellers, chips, There were tailors making alterations, pressers to remove the wrinkles. People were trailing along asking what they wanted and getting it for them.

 

The local people eating nsima for lunch. Nsima is a white mush kind of thicker than mashed potatoes. Very starchy. It is a common dish in the country, it fills you up, and stays with you for days. I made the mistake of eating three servings in one day and felt bloated and uncomfortable. I felt like the nsima was a sponge in my intestines and had soaked up all the moisture in my system. The next night I drank about a gallon of water and still was thirsty and dehydrated.

 

It isn't hot, but it is dry here. There isn't much dew on the grass in the morning. When it is this dry, you definitely need to drink water, but you don't think about it as much because you don't sweat in the cool weather.

 

So here is the basic outline of our next few days:

7-19 start

Leave Lilongwe around 8 Drive to Liwonde, about three hours for Brian solo, will take longer with 4 kids. then we will camp for 2 nights there and have a boat safari. We will see Hippos and probably lots of birds.

 

From Liwonde we will drive to Zomba, get some supplies in town, it will be cold there at night, so we will need firewood for the fireplace. Then we head for the Zomba Cottage, which is operated by the embassy. Top of a mountain. I recall Brian telling of it in an early email of his, I will have to see if I can dig that out of the archives.

 

From Zomba, we will pass through Blantyre, where we would like to see a place where they manufacture bicycle ambulances. We are hoping to see if we can organize the purchase of a few for a community based organization. We will have lunch, then head off to Mulange Lodge for two nights. Not sure on the details of that location.

 

Next up is Nyala lodge, I think this is the one with the walking safaris. The first day we will be near the lodge, then the second we will go to Majete national park.

 

We intend to be back by Friday the 27th, then on the 28th we will go to the Paradio project where they do a once weekly feeding of AIDS orphans and have them play and other supportive activities. We visited that community a week or so ago. Their community's distinguishing feature was that they had a mountain that has a quarry. All along the road leading into the village were people of all ages sitting on the ground hitting rocks with rocks or sometimes metal tools to break them into smaller rocks so that the gravel could be sold.

 

The people are nice here, though reserved, and for lots of them English isn't a strong suit, though many do speak basic English pretty well. Mike and Brian have a good sense of community around them, a mix of Malawians and expats. Lilongwe is a small city. Bikes and feet are the main way of getting around. There are some van taxi's and car taxis. In the other towns there are a lot of bicycle taxi's, where the passenger sits on a cushioned rack over the rear wheel. The bikes are chinese one speeds that look like the old school raleigh three speeders. Westerners seem to be in cars or suv's. Not a huge amount of tourism. Cell phones are everywhere. There are telephone bureaus, small phone booths with cell phones inside that you pay a fee to use. I saw the same idea in South Africa, but those were in shipping containers.

 

Well dinner has come and gone, and there is much to be done here. The kids are riding each other horseback style in the living room. The electricity keeps kicking off and on with the generator filling in the gaps. Yesterday the internet connection went on vacation, but the IT guy from the embassy came over and got it running again. Usually when it won't connect for me or Brian Liz can just click on it and get it going. At least somebody can work these computers. I have been trying to upload photos to flickr in order of shooting them, but am still at the first week or so of the trip

 

 

7-18-07

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