Bustrip and earthquake in Karonga.
Karonga Travel Blog› entry 16 of 23 › view all entries
The sun is shining, flowers are blossoming, people are friendly.. What is this? Ou yeah, I'm not in Finland anymore. This is Malawi. When I left Finland, it had just started snowing and it was extremely cold. 24 hours traveling and I could feel sun touching my face gently. How warm it was, no, warm isn't the right word, it was hot. Too hot? No, the rainy season had just started.. Malawi-my promised land.
This time I didn't travel alone. I took three other people with me. I was going to show them places and different opportunities to volunteer during this over two month trip. It was first time for them, but i had been here twice before. But in Africa, even though you would have visited there often, you would always find something totally new about their culture, nature, people.
So, Lilongwe and the airport. We took taxi and our driver drove us to a place or to a home where we stayed our first night. On our first day, we went to a local market area and us girls (3girls and 1guy we were) got some proposals. I didn't expect it to happen so fast.. But Africans, wow, they are fast to marry.
Anyway, we survived. It was time to move on. We had a plan to travel to northern region- Karonga-on our second day. We went to the bus station on time, but earlier of course.. But as you know, in Africa they have their own time. We waited and waited.. For two hours to get on the bus and then we waited for another one or two hours. Buses never leave unless they are full packed. It takes about 10hours from Lilongwe to Karonga, I mean, if everything goes like they should. But that never happens right..? One bus wouldn't take us all the way to Karonga, but we should change in Mzuzu, which was in half way.
Finally we were on the road. Four hours- one more to go and what happens..? Yap, you're right. Our bus broke down on the road in the middle of no-where! Seriously, there was nothing else than forest around us. It was dark. In Africa- darkness is much darker than dark. There were no lights in the bus and my friend was starting to be afraid. What can we do..? More than wait? We sang, we prayed and then finally I asked a simple question that I knew how to ask in Chichewa (local language). Alipo munthu pano olankhula chizungu? Is there anyone who speaks english..? I could hear people laughing in the bus and starting to talk to us. They told us about their culture and things and my friend forgot her fear. It took maybe three hours to fix the problem. But it didnät really solve all our problems.
It was night time when we arrived to Mzuzu. Bus driver said that we could stay in the bus until morning comes, that would be when the next bus would leave to Karonga. So we stayed, we didn't have any place to go anyway, no contacts, nothing in Mzuzu. But then the taxi- drivers came. "I am the est taxi driver in Mzuzu, I can take you where ever you want and I will give you best price.." We said we were not interested, that we were on our way to Karonga. "I can take you there, I give you good price, you know, I'm the best taxi driver ever". I said we were not interested of his offer and he was starting to get angry.
By the way, don't take me wrong.. Malawians are most welcoming and friendly people I've ever met, but like in every place, there has to be some not that nice people. Right?
So Karonga. Finally in Karonga. We had a plan to stay there for three weeks, but what happened..? We could hear people speaking about something that had happened days ago, but didn't understand what they said.
Before our second night there (fourth night in Malawi) we were all outside. Listening thunder somewhere far away. It was magical. All those big lightnings and that sound. After dinner we went to sleep. Thunder was over.. It was almost quiet, only dogs were barking. But then it happened. It was 1.30 am when we all woke up suddenly. I still remember how it felt, even though it took some time to realise it in that moment. The whole house was shaking wildly and we could hear Moses shouting "EVERYBODY OUT!!".
Our organization where we were in, said we have to evacuate.
But this wasn't our plan.. We had no plan at all to stay in Mzuzu. So we had only one question in our mind? What now? What happened in Mzuzu.. More about it bit later. :)