Malawi is a beautiful vacation spot for many volunteers. After training however, we decided to hitch a ride all the way to Chipata and stay there for a night before we take a cab to the border and then a minibus for the eleven of us all the way to Nkhata Bay.
That’s the plan at least.
Except to hitch a ride you have to wake extra early for the distance you want to travel.
So we woke up at 5. Even though we were packing and working till four.
We reserved a minibus for eleven of us to get us to the edge of the city and hitch a ride from there.
We arrived all tired and exhausted and we took a spot on the road and spaced out. Unluckily we got a truck to give us a ride but we would have to sit on the bed outside.
A good idea. Wrong execution.
Fast winds dreading my hair.
Rain and stupid tarp not solving any of our problems.
Driver who agreed to 150 for all of us actually used the excuse that since my friends are white, they should pay 150 per person.
We got him to seriously see how rude that was to six girls who have been living in Zambia for way too long to be tricked or confused or even pushed like this. Volunteers have hitched from one corner to the other for free.
Then we reached the Eastern house where we all collapsed into a nice shower and a comatose state until we woke up again at night for a cab. There we set off again. With more people asking for money just because of how we look.
But we got to the border and safe to say, we got out passports stamped. Unluckily, it went not the way I expected but let’s not hash that story.
But we got into a minibus and sang christmas songs to our driver as we pulled up to white sand beaches and Lake Malawi larger than the country it was named after.
We slept the whole day. What do you expect?
Second day: we went to the town and enjoyed not being harassed and wearing American clothes. What a border changes between countries is astonishing.
I went swimming with everyone on this deep lake. And we fed fish eagles with fish we bought and they dove down and picked them from the sea.
Fish eagles live in families but also mate for life. So they always live relatively close to each other. Especially nuclear families. We got to see a father or mother teach four of their chicks how to dive and fish.
Then we went snorkeling and I can’t swim. But I got my goggles and dove under with rocks to hold onto and there I saw a big gray blue fish. It opened its mouth at me and dozens of baby fish swam past me. I was so surprised I didn’t realize my snorkel went under the water. It was beautiful and I swam quickly up only to return.
The lake was full of life and incredibly beaming of blue green clear water and you can see way far in the distance even underneath. The day ended with sunbathing and crystal water soothing my feet.
We ate Morrocan food with couscous and lamb as well as fried banana with cilantro and vanilla ice cream. Yes, I said cilantro.
Our Christmas was filled with food that tasted too amazing and filling. I can’t even begin to start talking about this feast cause it was good.
Our Malawi trip ended after a few more days of sun and heat and water when our embassy friends told us they will give us a ride ALL the way from Malawi to the capital.
I’ve never had an unsnowy christmas but this Christmas. This Christmas showed me how much of this world I might be able to visit, witness, and experience in the next two years of service.
Zanzibar, Tanzania, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique?