Sorry it’s taking me so long to finish up my Africa story. This post will wrap up week one in Lilongwe and we’ll begin the trek south towards Blantyre.
Saturday, August 23
Today is a travel day as we leave the capital of Lilongwe. We had a chance to stop at the outdoor market, where vendors are selling their homemade items. Mostly wooden treasures. It is quite overwhelming. As soon as we exit the bus, we are swarmed by people who are trying to sell us things. And they have very good memories as they call us each by name. We had stopped here yesterday, but I just scoped out the goods and got a feel for the market. I didn’t buy anything because I didn’t want to pay too much. Here they don’t expect you to pay their price. You’re expected to barter. So today I came prepared, with a list of things I wanted to purchase and how much I was willing to pay. All in all, I think I got some good deals and my teammate Scott said I did a good job haggling with the locals.
I purchased a wooden Noah’s Arc set for Stella, a wooden car for Logan & a necklace for Earl. And, I got a few nice wooden bowls and salad servers. But my favorite find was this tiny chair that now sits in my living room. I got it for about $13!
When we were through at the market, we hopped back in the bus and drove a few hours to Dedza. Here we stopped at a pottery shop where we picked up a few more treasures and ate a nice lunch.
It was about halfway to Ntcheu, where we would be staying for a few days. We arrived at the lodge to find no hot water and no toilet seat on our toilet. “It will come tomorrow,” they said. Sure, I’ve heard that before. Malawians are so nice they don’t want to hurt your feelings, so they don’t always tell you the truth. The toilet seat was never coming.
My teammate, Jeff, is a builder and he had an ingenious idea. He found some scraps of Styrofoam and built his own toilet seat. I sensed a profitable idea here!
By the end of the night, the lack of toilet seat cover was the least of our worries. We finally had no water to even flush said toilets. Two buckets of water were delivered on our doorstep the next morning so we could wash up and flush our toilets. We were getting a true Africa experience here. I even managed to wash my knickers and had a great little system going for that. We didn’t have water for 2 days and though we were getting impatient, I didn’t once hear anyone complain. How could we? After all, we knew there were many people down the street sleeping on dirt floors with no blankets and having to fetch their own water. This was a minor inconvenience.