|The Road To Malawi
I've heard it said that life is not so much about reaching the destination, but the journey getting there. And so it is with our trip to Malawi Lake.
We met our friends Rose and Sam at the Lundazi Market at 6am, to negotiate a ride over to the border-town Jenda. We exchanged our Zambian currency for some Malawian moolah with some shady-looking characters who were lurking in the shadows of the market (wearing large sunglasses and lots of bling;). The four of us then piled into the back of a small pick-up truck. We were not alone!
There was 14 adults, 2 children, 2 (live) chickens - along with numerous pieces of luggage,bedding and baskets of produce. We were soon flying along the dirt roads mock one- with dust flying so thick that the pedestrians along the road would be completely swallowed up and disappear in the cloud of dust behind us. We all looked like stone sculptures when the truck finally stopped - until we dusted each other off and grabbed our bags for the next leg of the journey.
We walked through a dusty thatch-roof village and found ourselves on a strip of tarmac, waiting for the next bus heading North.
An hour and a half later, two buses jam-packed full had passed, and we found ourselves amidst a mass of people, fervently trying to get on the already-full bus.
People were pushing and shoving and trying to hand their bus-fare to the driver. It took us 45 minutes to get on the bus, and none of us had a seat. It was a 56 passenger bus, but over 92 people were on it - I lost count after that, as the bus kept stopping to pick up straggler passengers! I could just see Shaun near the front, propped up on a huge pile of luggage.
The bus ride was mostly uneventful the first 2 hours - but then we in the mid-bus noted an odour...
To make a long story short, one passenger was ill and unable to control his bodily functions. so the bus had to stop on side of road to clean up diarrhea that was running along the floor of the bus.
Aiyai yai! Mama mia!!!
Back on the road again, and we all did make it to Lake Malawi...2 pick-up drucks, one bus, one mini-van and a decrepid taxi later!
And oh...jumping in that clear blue fresh-water lake was worth every minute of the journey!
Believe it or not, the journey back home to Lundazi was almost as crazy.
When we finally got to Jenda (the border-town in Malawi), we missed the last truck back to Lundazi.
We ended up sleeping outside, warming ourselves by the charcoal mbola (coking stove) lent us by a villager.
It was quite amazing to watch the village stir. The women were outside sweeping the dirt in front of their thatch homes by 04:30am...
The roosters were cackling, and as the sun rose orange-red, oxcarts started hauling loads of charcoal and mais to market...driven by young boys with stick in hand..
When we finally arrived back to Lundazi it was like coming home. Even the lumpy bed and rusty rooster seemed to welcome us...