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Malawi: Green, Red, Black and Brown

sunny 29 °C

After 3 days I can, once again, trust a fart.

I remember Billy Connolly talking about not trusting a fart as you get old, but now I know exactly what he means.

I'm not sure where I got sick from. I was the only one to get it and also the only one that cleans there teeth with water from the sink, so I'm guessing that was it. So from Kande Beach in Malawi to Iringa in Tanzania I have been not my usual self.

I have to say, I am lucky the Tanzanian border control didn't have a temperature gun, like the majority of other border crossings, to stop the spread of Ebola. Even though I had a fever, nausea, vomiting, running stomach (which I think is a hilarious way to describe diarrhoea - makes me think of a sixpack abs from numerous marathons) and about 80% of the 'do you have this...' list, I could just tick no. Ticking yes means immediate quarantine and being left on the border by my tour party. No was the correct answer. And they wonder how Ebola is spreading...

Also to add to the mix, toilet stops are tricky, as every time you stop for a 'bush toilet' a mirage of children appear from absolutely nowhere. The emerge out of the bush, trees, buildings, jeez I think they form from the air sometimes for waves and smiles. Cute, but they have no regard for the fact that you are in the middle of losing your internal organs, in liquid form.

The children of Malawi are EVERYWHERE. Lovely, affectionate and unharming, they just want to hold your hand and walk with you where ever you go. Even if it is in the complete different direction to their orginal destination. Malawi has almost 45% of their population between the ages of 0 and 14. We stayed at place, and I said to my driver that I was going down to the lake for a swim, he said I give you 10 mins down there, I'm going to have a cold shower instead. I thought that was odd, but didn't question it. When I got to the lake I was mobbed. There was about 25 kids of various ages pulling my hands, pulling my towel and more worryingly pulling the tassels of my bikini. When I sat down and proceeded to try and ignore them, they built sandcastles underneath the book I was trying to read. On top of my towel. It was only when one of them burped in my face (keeping in mind three things - my illness and current inability to stop spewing, my customs dog nose and my intolerance of children in general) that I picked up my towel and headed back to the campsite. In true Kayleigh fashion I made sure I waited 25 minutes, so I didn't lose the bet.

There was a sign that said, please don't buy anything from the children on the beach, they should be in school. Wish I had seen this first. Although a lot of them are not in school, a lot of them are.

We visited a local school and there were two things that struck me. Firstly the lack of resources, but secondly (and mostly) the expectations of hand outs from outside the community. The school we visited had 1600 kids, and only 16 staff. Most classes had 200 kids in them, the kids work in groups and then one person reports back for each group. And historically they have had a collection of teachers from a number of different countries come and help out for about 6 month postings at any one time. The head teacher spoke to us and pointed out 2 boxes in front of him, in broken English he stated one was for money and one was for school resources. Then sat back for us to fill them. Don't get me wrong, I am happy to donate, as I am happy to see the Malawian people thrive, but surely at some point they need to use their community resources to upskill. Maybe the head teacher was just having a bad day, or maybe he's not the best person to speak for the school. I am going to try to connect them with a school in London to be sister schools.

On the other hand, we went and visited a local medical centre and the man running it was really informative, helpful and didn't look at tourists as cash cows. He was proud of his (and his centres) work in reducing birth deaths from mother and child, he was pivotal in reducing the AIDS and HIV new cases in the community by making the clinic not a 'scary' place to go to.

The country of Malawi is dominated by Lake Malawi on the Eastern border, it is a beautiful fresh water lake that scatters white sandy beaches along the coastline. It is the a tropical island holiday of our trip so far. Apparently Kande Beach is the Vegas of Malawi. Might have danced on the bar.

It has been a big chance in scenery too from the previous countries, super green and hilly. Lovely really. In my liveability list, it has the mountains and water. The toilets can flush toilet paper (if they flush), but the roads are getting mad. So it's off the list. Strike that, they are MAD. I'm glad I'm not driving. I'd have a nervous breakdown.

By the way for those who are keeping track, my group changed from 18 people in Livingstone to 9. New six people are remarkably normal and actually good fun. Thank goodness for that, I was getting tired of my own company. I'm really annoying! How do you all put up with me?

Posted by kayles 07:22 Archived in Malawi

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