Malawi: first day, first sights

Lake Malawi from the plane

Lake Malawi from the plane

That’s it, after taking off and landing four times – Stockholm, Cairo, Addis Ababa, Lilongwe, Blantyre – I have finally arrived to Malawi. Once in Blantyre, my new friend and work partner picked me up at the Chileka airport with his wife and a kid from his in-laws. We drove to Blantyre city centre, had a bite to eat, picked up the two volunteers who have been here with Surcod for two months, and headed south to Nsanje.

After an about 3,5 hour-long (sometimes) bumpy ride, we arrived in Nsanje. That was not too long considering that we drove 182 kms. The road going from Nsanje to Blantyre is actually a fairly wide asphalted road in good condition except for some sections of it which are under maintenance (or construction). What’s more there were virtually no cars so we were not bothered by traffic.

Truck in the Shire valley

Truck in the Shire valley

Anyway, I wanted through this first post to share my first views/feelings. Not so much impressions yet, rather sights and facts that stroke me as they are out of (my) ordinary.

First of all, the heat is suffocating! I definitely chose the wrong period to come to Malawi, haha. Apparently, two weeks ago it was still “fresh”. Now we are approaching the rain season (I am really excited about that actually) – end of November to January/February – and the temperatures are and will be continually high.

Then I have noticed that, though there are very few cars on the roads, there doesn’t seem to be any visible traffic rules. At night on the way to Nsanje, we drove past a truck that had one single functioning light… it was in the front thankfully. Oh and by the way, they drive on the left here. Which is not a problem but slightly confusing. I tried to drive January’s car yesterday, it went fine. I just constantly tried to switch gear by putting my hand on the door armrest.

Women walking on the road

Women walking on the road

And yes, while talking about the night, I had a big chock coming right from Sweden as, on the road to Nsanje, I felt like it was 10pm when it was barely 6pm. Yes, the night was already pitch black. And finally, not only is the moon full at the moment, but it is also orange! I don’t know what this is due to, but it is a bit strange.

Right, that’s it for today. Later I will write about Surcod and my role in the organisation, about the city (village?) of Nsanje, about customs here and much more. So stay tuned.

View from the Shire valley

View from the Shire valley

Another view from the Shire valley

Another view from the Shire valley

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