Thursday, 1 December 2011

In Uk but still living in Malawian time

Jenifer from Mapanje school
Almost one week since I came back from having the time of my life but still have plenty of stories to share with you.

Miky in the volunteer house
 On the other hand, posting from UK is not as exciting and mainly challenging as doing it from my dear Malawi.

Miky and Olleny (brothers). In the sun hut

I miss the warm and sunny weather, but the most I miss is the warm and sunny people there. They really deserve the name of the Warm Heart of Africa. Dimakukonda ku Malawi.

Children from Cape Maclear practising drums

I was so excited on my first visit to the supermarket here. Lot of colours, nice smell, plenty of choices, all good quality products (compare to Malawian standards) most of them cheaper than in Malawi. Sound silly, but my Malawian diet is not my best memory from there. Being able to choose what I want to eat every day, and for every meal!,chose the flavour, the brand, have a fridge to keep it, cook with gas, ... Felt like a child in a theme park.

Going to the market for the grocery shopping

It is so good to come back to have some comfort: electricity, internet, phone network all the time, no fuel problems, drink the water from the tap, have a warm shower, sleep in a comfy mattress, not having to spray myself the whole day in mosquito spray, sleeping without my mosquito net, not sweating at night, having a quiet night without the orchestra of rats, mosquitos, bats, goats, the cock crowing at 4am with the Malawian sunrise... In general happy of having eveything you want/need with a simple fingers "click". Do you realise that?
Having the sunrise at 4am (Kwacha time)mean that everybody!! (Malawians not the volunteers) and all the animals got up, and start working, playing or just hanging around. Meanwhile I tried to sleep every day till 7.30am when I got up to go to school but wasn't very successful.
The sunset was at 6pm and at 7.30pm (Chicken time), or so, everybody went to bed. I tried to keep my European hours and didn't go to bed before 9.30pm, so I have spent a lot of money in candles :)

Kwacha time means, get up and go to earn some Kwachas, the local currency.
Chicken time means, they put inside the house all the chickens over night and the release them in the morning at Kwacha time again. And means time to go to bed.

My flatmates at night. Seven cokcs and hens sleeping next to my bedroom, with no door in the rooms and crowing at 4am everyday...

It seems like I am complaining but is not that. It is just realising the contrast and appreciating what we have in the Western World. And despite of everything I really miss Malawi and I of course I want to come back. So, you can imagine all the good things they have down there :D

I want to talk now about my last week there. I went to Lake Malawi, to relax, to prepare myself to come back to this side again, and to say goodbye, or see you soon, to Malawi. I stayed on my own for 4 days and 6 of the volunteers came over for the weekend. After the weekend they  came back to the village and I left to Blantyre for one night to make sure I was on time to take my flight back to the UK next day; you know all the fuel and transport issues there.
I have such an amazing time and the best ending to my stay in Malawi. Acutally, the saying of The Warm Heart of Africa comes from this part of Lake Malawi, CAPE MACLEAR, and once again I can confirm it.

Monkey Bay, another part of the lake close to Cape Maclear. I stayed there for two days
Last dinner with the volunteers in Cape Maclear
Enjoying the sunset in Cape Maclear

Something that I think I didn't mention before is that Malawi is a very safe country. Just arrived at the UK and heard about 4 Spanish that have been kidnapped in Africa during this year. Malawi is one of the 10 poorest countries in the World but it is ranked as the 39th in the Global Peace Index out of 153 countries and as the second most peaceful country in Africa after Botswana.

Last day on the village me and two other volunteers went to have lunch with our favourite njinga driver (bike) and to meet his family. We provided them with some food and they cooked it for all of us. One of the volunteers gave him pasta and went we were having lunch he said to us that it was the first time in his life he ate pasta. He is 35 years old and had never tried pasta before... He liked it by the way. Pasta is 3 times more expensive than rice and anyway they cannot afford to buy rice very often.

Below njinga driver Laurence and his family. We had lunch with Miriam and Steve as well.
Laurence was always in the best mood and he says he loves his job. With a perfect English, he taught us Chichewa all the way up the hill during the 30 min  ride in the bike. All for MK150= 60p

Pasta meal, first time for all Laurence's family

Still few more posts to come...
Zikomo kwambiri

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