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Muli Bwanji? My trip to Malawi ... This journal is about my trip to Malawi. Find out everything about what I did, the people I met and the blessings I received. Share the experience with me!

Days 1,2 & 3: First days in Malawi

MALAWI | Wednesday, 12 September 2012 | Views [687]

Days 1 & 2 (Saturday & Sunday September 1st - 2nd) 

Travelling to Malawi is unlike any other travel experience I've had! The plane is tiny and instead of the usual "chicken or beef?" you have "chicken or fish?" It was a fairly uneventful flight although it had to be me who ended up sitting right in front of the one guy who snores! Finally arrived in Ethiopia for my connection. Beware: Addis Ababa airport = madhouse! It is a small airport but it is divided right down the middle with a massive glass wall. On one side are all the shops and restaurants and on the other are the gates. As the signs directing the transfers all but vanished, I was directed by one of the staff up the boarding tunnels. Only problem was that I ended up on the wrong side of the glass wall: the gates. I really wanted a bottle of water but I couldn't get to the other side! So I spent four hours staring at a screen and waiting for it to tell me which gate to go to. My plane to Malawi was delayed by an hour but I spent that time befriending a Dutch medical student on her way to study medicine in Blantyre for five months, and a Malawian guy. He gave us the lowdown on what's happening in Malawi and also gave us lots of handy tips! I even got to practice some of my newly-learned Chichewa! 

So I finally arrived in Malawi! I was a bit worried as I got off the plane because I know that suitcases being lost in connections is a norm in Malawi! I had two suitcases with me and the first one arrived pretty quickly but the other one wasn't there. I started panicking a bit because the second suitcase had all the presents in for the orphans I was going to meet later on in the week. Finally, after waiting another hour, the other turned up ... Phew! So I made my way through customs and met Enoch and his wife Dorothy at airport. They are such lovely people! While we were driving to where I was supposed to stay for the night they explained the different areas of the city and what the different monuments and buildings were. I was supposed to be staying at the Assemblies of God school of Theology with Lynn Nwagbara (good friend and director of African Enterprise in Europe) but her flight was overbooked, so she was catching the next flight out on Monday. So on Sunday night I got to stay in a beautiful lodge in Lilongwe (Kuka lodge) and relaxed for the rest of the day! Bliss! At least I got to catch up on the sleep that the snoring guy robbed from me on the plane!

I had dinner at the lodge and I had some chambo and chips! Chambo is a fish that is only found in lake Malawi and it is the most delicious fish I have eaten! I even got a bottle of proper All Gold tomato sauce to go with the chips ... Yum!

 

After dinner I headed back to my room and as I walked through the door there was a power cut - welcome back to Africa! I couldn't sleep for quite a while so decided to go out for a walk. I found three members of staff in the parking lot and talked to them. One of them, a very lovely man called Heartly (I think his parents knew that he had a big heart from the day he was born!) was telling me all about the struggles that he has in Malawi with trying to provide for his family. He also asked me lots of questions about what life is like in Belgium and England so in return I told him about the advantages but also the disadvantages about growing up in first-world countries. I explained to him that people were believing in God less and less because they don't need him anymore. I also explained that I am not grateful for the things that I have anymore and that I sort of expect to have them, which is very much a western mind-set. We ended up talking for three hours in the end! He was so thankful for my company and when my body decided it needed sleep, he said that he will remember me for a very long time because I've been the only white person, so far in his life, that he's met who hasn't judged him for being black or who hasn't treated him as a lesser being. I will certainly be remembering him for a long time too. 

Day 3 (Monday September 3rd) 

After having an omelette breakfast and packing my bags, Enoch picked me up at 10 and took me on a tour of Lilongwe. The city, despite being the capital city of Malawi, is quite small and is only beginning to rise up from the ground. There are a few hotels and offices, the president's residence (which is huge), the international conference center and the parliament building, but other than that the rest of the city is housing. There are some malls being built and a few shops here and there but there are more shops at the road side, even mechanics set up shop in the dust beside the roads! My favourite shops were the furniture 'shops.' They literally consist of somebody taking a couple of couches and chairs and tables and putting them outside next to the road! 

After my little tour, Enoch took me to the spur to get a takeaway for lunch and then dropped me off at the Assemblies of God school of Theology, where I would be sharing a room with Lynn for the week. It was a very basic room but it is all that you need! While Enoch was picking Lynn up from the airport, I got a chance to unpack my suitcases and sort out the presents I had brought for the orphans and various other people. (I also got to take a nap for about two hours!) When Lynn and Enoch arrived, we went shopping for food (and two cans of cream soda!) and some mosquito nets. We got home and Enoch helped us to put them up so we were all set for the night! As there is no fridge in the room, we had to buy really basic stuff and couldn't get milk or cheese etc, so Lynn likes to say we did indoor camping for the week! With the mosquito nets hanging over us like a tent, it did feel like indoor camping! 

Well the next day the real work would begin!

 

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