Thursday, 30 April 2009

No.47 Malawi Moments Part 2

Day 5

Day 5 and we've travelled a lot already having bagged Monkey Bay, Llongwe, Mvuu national game reserve and today a gorgeous place by the western edge of Lake Malawi. It was here that David and I gratefully slept overnight under two huge mosquito nets barely 50 metres from the water's edge and who knows how many crocs and hippos hungry for their tea.

We're coming to the end of week 1 which is the holiday part. Week 2 is when we get to do a bit of work. We're both conscious it will be very different to what we've experienced so far and probably like nothing else we've ever experienced before. Bring it on Malawi. What a great country!

Day 6

We finally arrived at the house of Deb's parents in Northern Malawi, Helen & Robin. They're lovely people. Early the following morning we went out to see a lady who been to Helen for help. Her husband had taken a second wife which sometimes means in Malwai abuse for the first one. She had left him and was living in a hut with no roof. Littered around were lots of children one as young as a few months others 5 or 6, 8 or 9 may be older still. The mother was a proud and friendly lady. Her own mum was there too joking that she was too old to be of use to anyone now (the "old and past it" humour I thought seems universal). No-one was wearing any shoes but many had ragged clothes and a few what appeared to be clubbed feet. The all greeted us warmly. Helen talk about the logistics of getting her a steel roof. When she asked what they were going to have to eat the mother looked around and said "Today we will have nothing".

Next we visited another hamlet barely a minute's drive away. An elderly lady came out to greet us and dropped to one knew as she shook my hand and looked me warmly in the eyes. She showed us around and to where she slept which was just on a plastic sack in the corner of a tiny mudded hut. In another hut a few strides away lay her son aged in about his early 40s I guessed. He's epileptic. A condition he's had since birth. He was there on the floor with no light no medication and nothing to do except no doubt wait for his next fit - the one that may kill or certainly the one that will dame his brain just a little more.

Outside young children watched us strange white folk closely. Some smiled. Some posed for photos and waited eagerly to see the results on Deb's digital camera. All waved as we disappeared in our fancy clothes with our watches, our cameras, our phones our landrover and hurried back for a big breakfast.

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