Happy Anniversary

Trip Start Sep 30, 2006
Trip End Dec 24, 2008

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Flag of Malawi  ,
Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Its two years ago today we packed our bags and left the UK, we have been living out of a bag for 730 days which is, well a bit mad to think its that long. Whats more mind bending to consider is that we are entering in to the third year of being on the road. Only our bank manager feels the most pain from this fact. Haha.

It was another 5am start and we are back to the bus station for our final leg to Lilongwe. On the bus we meet a nice couple from Holland who recommend a campsite called mabuya, owned and run by an English couple, so we all head over. The Dutchies are finishing a month of travel in Malawi and offer us Tupperware pots of food, spices, ground-sheets, clothes washing liquid and some great advice about traveling in Malawi all of which is gratefully received.

Annoyingly Kat is short by one or two blank pages in her passport to pass through the rest of Africa and so the next morning we visit the British embassy, again, to hand over 130 pounds in Kwacha, 2 passport photos and her application form to apply for a passport renewal. We have both had our passport renewed now, which is a wee pain in budget-side.

We spend the weekend relaxing in the hostel compound, with a swimming pool, a cheap restaurant, a bar that resembles a living room, a good book swap and loads of travelers hanging around, its very easy to pass some time and six days fly by.

A few ex-pats wander in during the evenings and we meet Richard, from Nottingham who has emigrated here and runs his own marketing company. He explained he has a contract with Zain, Malawi's largest mobile phone company. Zain's colour is pink and Richard plus team drive around Malawi offering business's the opportunity to to have their shop front painted pink and their shop sign professionally stenciled back in, along with the Zain logo.

We talked about how much Zain are helping or exploiting the shops in Malawi. The fact is that 99% of shop fronts in Malawi do resemble a war zone. They are filthy, dusty, cracked, peeling plaster, illegible and badly spelt signs, that just fade into the dirt in the street. Shop owners are unable to afford the paint and labour costs for a refit. Then along comes Zain who offers then free paint, free labour, a bright pink shop front, a clear new sign and the chance to stand out from the rest and attract more business. For a poor shop owner its a clear winner.

Richard explained Zain want to paint the whole street pink, every town pink all over Malawi. Isn't it just Zain taking advantage of poor shop owners exploiting their poverty to market their company. No need for expensive billboards for 1 month when you can have shop fronts for ten years. If coca-cola turned up and distributed 12 million free t-shirts, 1 free to every Malawian then I'm sure 99% of them would wear it, helping the poor or marketing exploitation?

Cooper Out

Love Dan & Kat
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barryc124 on

'helping the poor or marketing exploitation?'

both I reckon - hey, could be a job prospect for you Dan - painting towns pink!

tashac on

Let's not hear a word against all these poor marketers, we've got to earn a living too!

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