4th of April 2016:
Welcome to Malawi. Border crossing always leaves you with a surprise and my god another traveller left that for us. Our tour leader tried to get the transit visa, as we are spending less than 5 days in Malawi. The border patrol refused so we had to pay the holiday visa. As we were talking about this in the line a lady all of a sudden snaps and starts yelling at us, accusing us of complaining about not spending the extra money when there’s dying African children. This lady honestly came out of no where and her husband looked straight ahead ignoring his angry wife. Our tour leader explained that, that was not the case the law changed recently but we are all paying it. Then the lady stated that she was living in Tanzania… Unfortunately the flaw in her argument was quite simply the government system is corrupt and if she was aware she would realise the poor starving African children are not getting a cent no matter what visa we get she may have said nothing.
After an hour we were back on the truck driving into a storm. Today was another long driving day filled with card games (4 hours of Romy) and chatting. When we arrived at the gate to our campsite we were in the middle of the storm! A quote from Nick, “Are we driving through a creek?” Unfortunately no we weren’t that was just the road. Imagine Jurassic Park when the rain is hitting the windows so hard you can’t see out of, and the trees are swooping so low that you fear your window may smash! I honest to god don’t know how our driver George got us there in one piece but we were thankful he did! Our tour leader told us that we should 100% upgrade otherwise our tents would get flooded. Kate, Nick and myself went into a dorm room, and I wish to god that we didn’t make that decision! As we arrived so late and due to the torrential rain and thunder above us we had a local dish cooked for us by two local women. Of course pap was on the menu with a whole fish. It was delicious and reminded me of our last night in Laos when we ordered a whole fish on a stick in a buffet lane.
It was now time to drift off to sleep and I honest to god wish that, that was all that had happened. However for everyone that knows me knows I cannot tolerate ants. No matter what size or type I hate them all. Well what happened to me was beyond any nightmare I could ever have dreamt of. After falling asleep for an hour, Nick jumps into my single bed saying that there’s heaps of ants on his. So as we squash in a tiny bed they start to come. These black ants may have been small and unnoticeable if there was only one on my bed but when there’s hundreds crawling around they can make any man squirm. I’m not exaggerating when I turned my head torch on and saw my mattress had gone from white to black and moving! They were everywhere, all over us, all in our hair just everywhere. Even writing this I’m getting itchy. At one point Nick decided to put the mosquito net off the ground and tuck it into the bed. Well this just made it worse! They would start crawling up the mosquito net and drop down onto you. Yes they were now catapulting ants! At 4am we had had enough and walked outside sitting on a seat waiting for the sun to rise! At 6am we were at the point of exhaustion that we slept on the cement by the truck waiting to set up our tent to go to sleep!
5th of April 2016:
Last night was absolutely horrifying. I felt ill with the lack of sleep and stress I had endured throughout the night. We had a slow morning with breakfast and chatting until brunch. I wanted to organise a room to sleep in so at least I could sleep during the day. After waiting 30 minutes for the manager he said that the ants were not his problem and if we didn’t like it we shouldn’t stay in it. So after that remark Nick didn’t want to give him anything so we slept in the tent. Kat and Andrew were so kind and let me sleep in their room for a couple of hours during the day. After this I felt like myself again I think I just needed more rest and my own time for a bit. After lunch Nick and I watched a movie outside then played some beach volleyball. It was an enjoyable afternoon and I’m glad the day turned around for the better because I cannot predict it going any worse!
6th of April 2016:
Today I feel like I can actually enjoy laying by the lake relaxing and just wasting the day away reading my book. In the morning though Nick, Kate, Kat, Andrew and I went to a children’s school. Unfortunately it was school holidays so the only 3 children there were orphans. In which we had to wait till they came back from the hospital as the little boy only about 5 had Malaria. Two men were running the school with one being the caregiver and the other working as apart of the government (but with no benefit). He takes care of all the children in the villages to make sure they are going to school and are not being abused both physically or emotionally. I thought what he was doing was beyond incredible for a volunteer. When he found out I studied psychology he was so excited and was saying I have to come back to help him and to possibly bring a computer, as all the documents of all the children are written out by hand, and at one point the rains destroyed all the documents so he had to start again. The school was basic with a roof missing as the community were currently building it. The school were run by the community with no support from the government.
Another Acacia truck arrived when we were out. They were a more active group with everyone playing cricket together.
In the afternoon Nick and I played soccer with some of the local children. It is exhausting running around for an hour and half in the sand, and they really knew how to play and equally to the child’s age. The young ones (5 to 8) would go up against the other kid their own age and the teenagers would share and pass to the young ones.
It was such an enjoyable and exhausting hour and im so glad that Nick wandered down the beach to the local fisherman. Even I kicked a few goals, surprisingly. When we were walking back Kat and Andrew were playing volleyball by themselves so we tried to play with four but as were all not pros it didn’t end terribly greatly as well as it had become dark so couldn’t see the ball properly.
After a delicious dinner (home made burgers and chips) we went to “party/ talk” to the other truck. They were hilarious and definitely loved to drink.
7th of April 2016:
I was awoken suddenly by Bella calling our names through the tent! Somehow we had slept in! This never happens and no one ever wakes up happy trying to stuff the sleeping bag in the bag in 1 minute plus pack down the tent! I felt all flustered but thankfully after a quick breakfast we just sat on the truck getting ready for another long driving day. We drove until 5pm where it was our night to cook dinner as a group. It was fun but when you have so many people from different countries you realise how differently people cook one dish. We were making Mexican and wow if only we had our Mexican friend come a few days earlier and teach us the true way (but maybe without the real Mexican spice). Nick made bruschetta which was delicious and an amazing entree to begin with. The main course Kat and Andrew seemed to have been more in charge as I had no idea what they were making but we ended up with chicken marinated in a lot of soy sauce and beef, Mexican rice (rice with tomato paste & spices), guacamole, salad, random grated cheese (which I did, and still had no idea what it was for) and the best corn ever. I also think we used every single pan and pot in the truck because our washing was huge! When we were just about to pack everything away a huge storm rolled in causing sideways torrential rain. I was soaked even after ducking under the table. I ran into the tent where I enjoyed an early night listening to the rain pelt down on the side of the tent.
8th of April 2016:
We could of woken up early to start a hike to a waterfall but Nick and I were enjoying sleeping a lot more! When 7am came around we jumped out of our tents to find Kat, Andrew and Kate were still sitting by the truck having breakfast not yet had started walking. Bella thought I was interested but after 2 months in South East Asia seeing waterfalls every second day I was pretty content to have a chilled day, and I was more interested in doing the wood carving. At 10am Ellie, Rhett, Nick and myself followed Patrick out of the gate to do wood carving. If I didn’t have to carry my bag everywhere I would have made a bowl but space is limited so a key ring it was. Nick didn’t participate in the wood carving. My key ring has my name on one side with an elephant on the other. We used boot polish to varnish it, and as a result my hands and legs were covered (somehow). I looked like a child was given paint and just went crazy!
The rest of the day was very chilled comprising of literally nothing, it feels as though we have had quite a few days like that!
9th of April 2016:
Today was definitely another nothing day! We drove from 4:30am to 8pm, that’s 15.5 hours. We were suppose to stay at another campsite 2 hours earlier but they were having a wedding and we were leaving again at 4am the next morning so our driver needed proper rest. At 7am we stopped off to have breakfast where we were all still asleep. Andrew ordered Goat soup, no matter what time it is it is never time for goat soup. As it sounds Andrew said it was horrible and “tasted like what goats smell” .. Yum! Our driver however loves it and took Andrews in his lunch box to have lunch (cold goat soup.. Even better) but I guess to an African man it’s exciting. I have no idea what our campsite actually looked like as we arrived in the night as well as leaving in the early morning but it looked kinda creepy. For dinner we had spaghetti Bolognese my favourite.
10th of April 2016:
Today is our last day with the seven of us as tonight two extra girls (an Aussie and Mexican) will be joining us. We left once again at 4am and arrived at our campsite at 3pm. I am becoming very use to sitting on a truck for long periods of time doing absolutely nothing and yet watching the day roll past. Today we did however cross into Tanzania which meant changing time zones. Thankfully we only had to put our watches to an hour forward. I am beyond excited to go to Zanzibar and finally tomorrow we will be crossing the ferry to relax on a beach by the ocean. We had dinner at the restaurant in our campsite which was delicious, beef and chicken skewers with rice and salad. We met Kelly and Andrea who were really nice.