Pot-hole chicken…

The dusty five hour trek north to Mzuzu is not for the faint hearted. Rampant inflation, poor Forex, and the weekly payments on the fingerprint booths have necessitated that Malawi’s metalled arterial routes are decorated with pot-holes to be proud of. Our fixer/driver is an expert at avoiding them, honing his last-nanosecond-pot-hole-chicken gaming skills toContinue reading “Pot-hole chicken…”

Ikea and the president…

Lilongwe International Airport has few redeeming features apart from the lack of aircraft and someone’s misapprehension that we are important enough to be met by the aircraft’s ladder in a Mercedes sedan and herded through the presidential suite. The suite boasts an upgrade to the latest immigration finger print scanning technology. The battleship grey melamineContinue reading “Ikea and the president…”

Teddy bears in Malawi…

Witnessing an elderly parent slide from quick fire Sudoku to talking to teddy bears in six short months, focuses the mind sharply on the life’s brevity and immediate priorities.  Therefore it is not without careful reflection that the call to Malawi should be honoured and realised, despite a last minute duck sorting exercise and theContinue reading “Teddy bears in Malawi…”

Counting Kwacha….

The nightly retreat from the villages to the relative comfort of the lodges is indeed a guilty pleasure. Always of varying quality and comedic design, they have to be judged according to African standards where risk assessments and personal safety have yet to interfere with their day to day Fawltey-esque functionality. Attempting to count outContinue reading “Counting Kwacha….”

The tree of knowledge….

The seemingly endless dusty drive north on the relatively empty Malawi roads is an indication that private transport is for the relatively well off. Public transport and the elderly commercial vehicles are often poorly maintained, overcrowded, overloaded and driven in such a casual manner as a reminder that personal mortality is often closer than planned.Continue reading “The tree of knowledge….”

Back to school….

Chapsinja village continues to be a beacon to the surrounding communities not least because the first clay-brick twin-classroom block has accepted it’s first cohort of primary pupils. Success in itself generates a whole new raft of challenges that even Mr Gove would struggle to solve. The two modest classrooms house a total of 180 youngstersContinue reading “Back to school….”

Power to the people….

The long speeches continued. Whilst I mused the possibilities of anything useful being built on my newly acquired land in Gunde village due to my shoddy hut building skills, it is difficult to ignore the shear beauty that masks the shocking underlying poverty and deprivation that is faced daily. Behind our hosts a sow noisilyContinue reading “Power to the people….”

Twelve step chiefs….

Biwi’s chiefs and leading herdsmen have always been men of influence. Usually present at the initial training sessions last March a bit worse for wear became the norm as was the apparent indifference to the proceedings and resulting gentle snoring. The alcohol awareness training had not fallen on deaf ears. Faithfully followed through by theContinue reading “Twelve step chiefs….”