Written on Saturday 12 October
This morning I watched the truck depart with a heavy heart. On the one hand I am glad to be going home on the other I am envious of the adventures the rest of the truck will be having.
I have spent the last 24 hours extolling the virtues of a unlimited hot showers, a comfy bed and ever present wifi, but I would happily swap another five weeks travelling across Africa for each of those things.
I’m now sat in Malawi airport. One of the more unusual airports I have been too. It is small and basic. None of the duty free shops are open and there is just a small smattering of passengers milling around, all of them white!
It took a while to check in because the check in desk’s printer was broke so they were unable to print a luggage label for my bag. The lady was incredibly polite, more than could be said for the check in staff at the London end who just about managed to grunt at me as I handed over my bags. But in Malawi they apologised for the wait, asked me to take a seat while I waited and apologised again for the inconvenience when she handed me the baggage details.
At passport control the girl was chirpy to say the least. She sang along to her radio as she looked through my passport, asked about my lip ring and enquired as to how I eat! Then when she took my picture she enthused about how lovely it was and asked me to pop behind her desk so I could see the lovely picture!
I like Malawi, also known as ‘the warm heart of Africa’ reports that it is much more laid back than other African countries appear to be accurate. And despite being one of the poorest countries on the continent the infrastructure and quality of house building appears to be much better than Tanzania.
My only complaint would be the amount of people who see white people as a money box. At the border crossing into Malawi the truck was surrounded by children saying ‘give me money’, ‘give me sweets’. At the side of the road people put their hands out for money, on our walk to the local village at Kande the children all wanted something whether it was pens, water bottles or money.
It strange to get your head around a culture where kids are brought up to ask strangers for things. I am much more inclined to give when the request is subtle, rather than a small child standing outside the truck for an hour saying “hello, hello, hello, hello, hello, hello, hello, hello,” then when you look out the window: “Miss give me money, miss money, miss give me money, hello miss give me money.”
That said the Malawian people we came into contact with as were very nice and very welcoming.
Now it is time for me to depart. In about 24 hours I will be at home with Andy and the cats chilling in front the TV wishing I’d had the foresight to take Monday off work!