Woke up at the luxurious hour of 8:15am. Flopped around and read my book until 10am when we went on a village walk (K500), led by Robert. First off we saw drying cassava which is a Malawian staple but unfortunately smelt like a combo of strong cheese and off meat. It was pure white and had a chalky, thready consistency. Next we went to Robert's house. He has a mum and a sister. His house is of a high quality as he has a woman from England sponsoring him, who also pays for him to do his mechanical engineering degree at a uni in Lilongwe
, where he has two years to go. Women marry at age 18-21, and men at 21-25. Men can marry multiple wives (up to 5-6), but either party can choose to divorce the other, and although a man has to go to a woman's father to ask for her hand in marriage, she has the final say - yes or no.
Pumping water from the well paid for by the Canadian government. Prior to this the villagers had to drink water from Lake Malawi which, although it is fresh water (not salt water), often gave them diarrhoea.
There's 4000 people in the village. The chief is the head, and when he dies the chiefdom is passed to his niece or nephew, not directly to his son or daughter, to avoid corruption. Primary school is free and lasts for eight years, but high school, which lasts for four years, costs US$150-300 per term, and they have three terms in a year. We visited the school, where 1000 students are taught by 10 teachers. They get taught lots of interesting subjects, including arts and HIV prevention (for which treatment is free). I made a K500 donation and gave 10 pens I'd brought from home. They wanted us to sponsor a child but I didn't want to make such a huge commitment. I plan to sponsor a child - at this stage a Kenyan child - through World Vision when I get home. That young girl in the Masai village with the smile and the fly-filled eyes and snot-covered nose has really captured my heart.
Photos in the school educating the children about two childhood nutritional diseases. One of them is kwashiorkor, a protein deficiency I believe
There is a hospital in the community but there is only a nurse and medical assistant, no doctor. For that they have to go to Mzuzu. All the way I was accompanied by 2 guys - Malio and William. Malio wanted to be an artist and had a terrible stutter. I bought a painting of the countries I'd been to from him for K1000 and a soft drink. After the 2.5hr walk I was boiled and covered in sweat so I went straight to the cafe and had a chocolate milk. Then ate the mango Malio had given me for lunch. After lunch I went snorkelling with Hamish which cost US$15. We went out to a small island with our guide Sam who was presently suffering from malaria so couldn't dive, and three other people. It wasn't that great, I have had much better snorkelling trips elsewhere. We circumnavigated the island then went to have a look at the view from the highest point - you couldn't even see the other side, Lake Malawi is so huge it looks just like the ocean! To get back in the water we jumped off a rock about 2.
Donations to the school can be made here, or information about sponsorship can be found at this email address
5m above the water. As soon as I hit the water my ears popped and were so painful - the pain persisted until I had 2 Panadol and some nasal spray. Apparently decongestant 'Sudafed' is a third excellent cure. Tea was great - chapatti with lentils and rice. Sat up talking with the usual people in the bar until ~11:30pm.