Sunday, May 24, 2009

Last day in Malawi, for now...

Hello! We have had a busy few days, mostly adventurous days, which has left Dan feeling pretty satisfied I suspect. Today, Sunday, marks our last full day in Blantyre, Malawi, as tomorrow we leave very early (5:30 a.m. Africa time, 1:30 a.m. US time) for the boarder of Mozambique. I'm pretty excited. Everyone keeps telling us that most people speak Portuguese, so it should be an adventure in language at the very least!

On Friday, Nick, Dan and I paired up and were taken to a project about an hour away. A Rotarian has started the Tisunge Heritage Center far out from the main city, which employs village weavers. The project then purchase the work and sells it in a heritage center set up near the village. Some of these weaver have been able to build brick house with tin roofs because of the income they are earning from the opportunity. We had a great day, capped off by another game drive (one can never see too many animals in the wild :)) and a perfect sunset as we drove a twisty-turny road back to Blantyre.

Yesterday we visited Mt. Mulanje.

We drove to the mountain passing through tea estates and a few small villages. As usual, I was trying to make photographs out of the car window as we zipped by! I think I can pretty much teach a course in that by now! We stopped a resort built in the mountain and went on a hike up the moutain. Nick, Steve, Dan and their guide Gift, hiked for most of the afternoon and made it pretty far up the mountain. Here is the view from where I made it too. Not nearly as high as the guys, but still beautiful.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Half Way!

Please forgive the order of these photos, I can't get them to move!!

Lake Malwai sunset 05-20-09

Lake Malawi sunrise 05-20-09

Nature Sanctuary - Lilongwe, Malawi 05-18-09

Crisis Nursery - Lilgonwe, Malwai 05-18-09

Crisis Nursery - Lilgonwe, Malwai 05-18-09

Poinsettia tree - Lusaka, Zambia 05-16-09

Game drive - Lusaka, Zambia 05-16-09

The team has had a much needed two days off from Rotary duties. We have spent the last two days at a resort along Lake Malawi thanks to the Rotary clubs of Lilongwe. We needed a chance to put our feet up and just sort of hang out together. Tomorrow morning we will be picked up and driven to Blantyre to meet a couple of new clubs and begin the last leg of our trip. It has gone by fast, but we still have a lot to look forward too!

I've attached some photographs from our last day in Lusaka, where our hosts Hassan and Pankaj took us to an amazing lunch and on a short safari. We were on the hunt for zebra (none spotted as of yet!) but found some giraffe instead. I'm sure the group would agree that we had a fantastic time in Lusaka, good food, good times and especially good friends!

In Lilongwe we visited the Ministry of Hop Crisis Nursery, as you can see, the babies were very cute. The nursery is a great project, giving babies who have been abandoned or are HIV positive a place of respite until they can be reunited with family or placed in a home. We also took a walk through a nature sanctuary. These animals were rescued from all over the world and put into contained areas, more like their natural habitats and less like the zoos they had been living in.

Here is a photograph of some men working to clear an area that will eventually be the site of a veterinary clinic. Currently, all surgeries are done outside in the open.

Finally, we reached Lake Malawi on Tuesday morning. Somehow I managed to wake up this morning (5:30 a.m.!) in time to photograph the sun rise over the lake, so beautiful. Today we took a few walks, the guys climbed some boulders and we hit the pool. Then we braved the water and took a very choppy ride out to see the sunset behind the mountains, what a way to end a great two days off!

To our families: We are having a wonderful time and everyone is getting along great. Not a day passes without the thought of how very grateful we are for this opportunity. We love and miss you!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

It's been awhile!

I haven't had internet in a few days and I am waaaaay behind on editing pictures but we will give this a shot and try and get caught up! : ) Hopefully I will be able to post again later tonight, but for now...

We spent Sunday and Monday in Kitwe, which is in the Copperbelt of Zambia. Yesterday we were in Mufulira, also in the Copperbelt and we visited a copper mine. Not only did we visit, but we trudged 5,000 feet below the surface of the earth to explore the mines. This is an experience, and I am sure the team would agree, than can't be accurately described in words or photographs. It was hot, I mean really hot, we walked for what seemed for miles and it was dirty! It was an amazing learning experience with the biggest lesson being in respect for those who work at the mines everyday, for little money.

Not a day goes by with out the much appreciated generosity of our hosts, it has been a humbling experience as we have eaten and drank our way toward gaining pounds! The team started this adventure with the misconception that we would all be slimmer by the end, and thus far, after five meals a day, it looks like they may have to roll us home!

Thursday, May 7, 2009


After a long, hot, nine-hour bus ride, which included a two-hour delay due to a flat tire, we arrived in Lusaka, Zambia on Wednesday.

We met our hosts and were treated to a fantastic dinner at a local favorite restaurant (Ask Gina about the pepper steak!)

Today we had a very busy day. Nick and Gina toured a public school, Dan the police station's forensics department and Steve and Melanie chatted with the Managing Editor of the Post for our vocational visits. We gave a lunch presentation and off to visit the Misis compound and St. Lawrence. The highlight of the day, specially for Nick, was getting to meet and then play a game of wheelchair basketball with a local team. More soon!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Last Day in Livingstone

Today was our last day in Livingstone and we filled it to the brim!

We started the morning off by visiting the Lubasi Home and a hospice. From there we visited Victoria Falls and got drenched! I mean soaking wet! It was worth every drop. After the falls we headed out to walk with lions and I really do mean walk with them. They are not penned in, but let free to walk the trails with us. We had a wonderful guide and loved getting to pet such amazing cats. The evening ended with a drink social at the local golf course with members of Rotary of Livingstone. Tomorrow, we are up very early for a 7 a.m. bus ride (seven hours) to Lusaka, the capital of Zambia.

More later!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Day TWO!

What a heck of a day!

We traveled to Botswana to spend the whole day at Chobe National Park for a boat tour (amazing!) and a safari by truck. We saw it all, birds, impalas, crocodiles, hippopotamus, giraffe and elephants. We had an amazing day capped off by our first Rotary meeting, dinner and presentation with Rotary Club of Livingtone, Zambia. A full day for sure!

Tomorrow, we plan to visit a local orphanage, hospice and market followed by a tour of Victoria Falls (much anticipated!) and an excursion to walk with lions! Yes, I said walk! And all of this before dinner! What a day!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

We Made It!

It is Sunday night here, about 9:45 p.m.

We flew in from Jo'burg this morning and are staying Livingston, Zambia until Wednesday, when we head for Lusaka.

This afternoon we took an evening sunset cruise that was amazing!! We met some wonderful people, shared a few stories and some drinks and took a lot of photos.

I have limited time online, so for now I will just tease you with a couple of photos of our boat ride and a photo of where we are staying the night! Cheers! : )