My time in Malawi Part 1
Getting prepared for a month in Africa is a pretty daunting task and I found myself overwhelmed with many questions. Will it be safe? Should I have the anti-malarial medication? How will I transport all of the donations? Do I have enough mozzie spray? Will I be eaten by a LION?!! Having only been to Ghana previously on an organised trip with my hubby and large group of people, setting off to Malawi with two girlfriends and our plans fairly loose and unstructured was both exciting and scary.
After a short 11 hours to South Africa, another 2 hour flight to Malawi and another very swift 2 hours trying to get into the country we were greeted by a sign saying “three blond girls” held up by our new smiling friend. At that moment I smiled too, and I could not wait for this adventure to begin. I find it really difficult to describe the feeling of being in Africa and until you see it for yourself it really is hard to imagine. The capital city, Lilongwe was filled with the usual hustle and bustle of any city, many cars, lots of bikes, people on foot and an abundance of goats and chickens crossing the street. (Insert joke here!)
We settled into Kiboko town hotel first, which for anyone who goes to Lilongwe, I really recommend. The people are amazing and it is well priced modest accommodation with air con and hot water, which as our trip went on I really began to appreciate! Then off to explore the city, gather supplies, water and phone sim (this being a bigger task than you can imagine!) But for anyone that has been, lived or know the reference from Blood Diamond…TIA, this is Africa.
Day two is where we visited the Sisters of Mother Teresa Orphanage and had the privilege of being with some of the most kind and beautiful kids I have ever met. What did the kids love? Bubbles and stickers!! I have never seen such a frenzy of excitement and joy between a group of kids under 5 in my life. It really made me appreciate the simple life, away from Xboxes and Ipads. We adjusted all of the kids, all of the ladies and sisters that volunteer and spent the rest of the day playing and enjoying their company, and of course cuddling the babies in the baby room. We visited the orphanage on many different occasions to bring supplies and check on the kids and I found myself falling in love with them all. Many of the children are given to the orphanage if they are left without any family, abandoned or even for the short term if the family cannot afford formula or food, after which they are returned to the family or village to live. The sisters do an amazing job looking after the kids, ensuring they have 3 meals a day (some even with meat), they are kept clean and have clean beds to sleep in, all things that I was later to learn that some children in the villages are not lucky enough to have……..