Trip Start Jun 05, 2012
Trip End Jul 10, 2012

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Flag of Malawi  ,
Friday, June 22, 2012

Up by 5:30 and I had to sprint to the bathroom 4 times during the night.  Breakfast was supposed to be at 6:00 but we didn't start eating until 6:20.  Then we finally left around 6:50.  We stopped at a gas station around 8:50, but were there for quite a while because they tried to cheat us.  There were lots of people who came over and there was arguing and fighting.  Basically we only needed 150 liters to fill up the tank.  We got 92 liters and the worker doctored it to say that we had used 200 liters.  Finally, the guy was caught, and we moved on, not before slapping and swearing.  It was all in a foreign tongue, but it was not good.  Then Ernie chimed in and I was worried for him :)  We went through a weigh station, then around noon we passed through a town called Ihambo.  After that we started seeing lots of crops. Corn, beans, tomatoes, and wheat all growing along terraced hillsides and far in each direction.  We stopped in a little village and bought a whole bucket of potatoes for 8000TSH and a whole stick of sugar cane for 500 TSH.  It was really watery and sugary.  Chalk it up as another experience!  We gave the people a volleyball and they seemed very pleased.  We traveled further to eat lunch in a soccer field. The school was on a lunch break so we played soccer with the kids.  I got a shot on goal but it was deflected.  We ate lunch of PBJ sandwiches, pasta salad, and veggies.  Then we headed to the border.  We transfered shillings into Malawi Kwachi.  It took some time but I think we did ok.  This was the only border crossing where we had people meet us at a gas station to do the currency exchange. To me this seemed a little fishy.  The Malawi money is considered unstable because it hasn't been that long since the president died.  People feared that the economy would collapse, so there are no banks or exchange centers that are dealing with this currency issue.  We had to think really carefully about how much money to get because this would be our only chace to exchange.  If we had too much money, we were stuck with it, and if we didn't have enough money they it was just too bad. Supposedly the economy might be starting to take a positive turn, but certain goods are almost impossible to get in Malawi.  We then crossed the Songwe River which marked entering Malawi.  We got to the border and they was no electricity to print our voucher so we had to sit and wait.  Victor made a deal with the worker to wait 30 minutes and if the power did not come back on then we would somehow be allowed to go.  I guess that sometimes people are waiting at the border for even a couple of days for their goods to be allowed to clear.  Patience is not a virtue that I have, but these people seemed rather content.  There were women weaving things out of plastic.  I should have asked for a lesson, but it looked too complicated for me anyway.  After an hour we finally got cleared to go.  What a pain in the butt.  We gained an hour as we changed time zones, but we still had two hours to go with our trip. We saw a lot of tea growing in the western part of Tanzania.  Malawi was full of fields as well.  Our driver Musoyoka has had to use the horn quite a bit because there are people riding bikes and walking along the road.  We finally get our first glimpse of Lake Malawi and it is gigantic.  It has its own waves like teh ocean.  We passed a huge fish market and Victor told us that there were seasons for fishing and that the government puts sizes requirements on the fish during certain times of year to let the fingerlings grow.  We set up our tents in the dark again.  We helped chop veggies and then Victor and I went through all the kitty receipts except the food which we will do tomorrow.  Miles and I then walked out to the shops, bought some tea and a soad then headed back towards camp.  We ordered a keychain for Bev, but thats it.  Then we ate dinner (beans and potatoes), and saw a little frog, then we did the dishes, used the internet, and went to bed in preparation for another day. 

Budget $40       Food 8500 TSH         Bathroom 50 K
Spent $11         Little shop 345 K         Internet 1050 K           Exchange $1= 250 K
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Mom on

Wow! The situation with purchasing fuel is a little unnerving! I'm sure there is a lot of corruption in areas that are basically unregulated. Glad your crew was proven to be correct without any further conflict.

The fields sound really cool! Glad you were able to buy potatoes; that way you can have "real" potatoes, instead of "wanna be" potatoes! lol!

There are a lot of things we take for granted like consistent electricity and banks. It would be hard to figure out your money situation. Hope you gauged pretty accurately! 4 days is a while to be there under the circumstances!

Glad you were able to play soccer with the kids and leave a ball, once again! I'm sure they are truly appreciative!

Awesome to hear from you and of your adventures. Love you both very much! Stay safe! Look forward to next blogs! :)

Claudia on

Agree -- that fuel situation would have me undone!!! I love reading the blogs! I can't wait to talk to you once school is back in session!!!!

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