Tuesday 5 May 2009

Sophie Throsby Malawi Gap Update

After another week of mixing cement, plastering, brick carrying and painting we were meant to head to Lake Malawi, but due to the non-African weather we had to replace it with the second best idea- Food Weekend! This involved eating cereal in the internet cafĂ©, pizza for lunch, ice cream, chips, sweets, more ice cream, pizza and crisps. We ended Saturday with a “Hobo party” and many games of mafia, Ring of Fire, and Geri dancing the night away!

Monday marked the start of “Prank Week” which brought on ruthless pranks including boxer short scavenger hunts, toad showers, bricks in beds and locking our leader Sarah in her room.

On a more productive note we spent Wednesday and Thursday helping out in the local schools. Wednesday was spent with the younger children, teaching them colours and numbers, whilst Thursday was spent at the secondary school, playing games and teaching cultural exchange.

Friday was an exciting day, as we set off for Cape Maclear, although we did have to wait 2 hours for the bus to turn up. After setting up camp at the water’s edge, watching the sun go down, and taking advantage of hot showers and flushing toilets, we had dinner and drinks and the night began. We brought the party to Gecko Lounge, dancing through the entrance and creating our own dance space. As the night wore on, some chose food and sleep, whilst others chose to make their musical debut, singing and dancing Bob Marley on stage….to a crowd of 3 (although those involved insist that the crowd swelled significantly at their arrival).

Saturday was spent sunbathing and participating in Mole-led aqua aerobics in the lake. After waiting over two hours for lunch, a brave and daring 7 (Katherine, Soph, Saz, Mole, Gash, Geri and Baptiste), chose to conquer the short swim to a nearby island. The first leg was enjoyable, spent gazing at the myriad of tropical fish, or in Geri’s case, impersonating beached whales on the rocks (Ida). Once the courageous swimmers returned, we celebrated Baptiste’s (fake) birthday in true Malawian style with freshly caught lake fish, cooked over an open beach fire. For desert we had more Powers and marshmallows, while the local children sang and played homemade instruments. Amber led a class in the ways of the worm, and we sadly report that whilst Saz got an ‘A’ for effort, she unfortunately was not successful.

We were all very sad to leave on Sunday, but the seven hour journey was nothing if not eventful and involved extreme eating of beans and rice (the group’s favourite meal), hard boiled eggs bought through the windows of gas stations and pot holes the width of the road itself. Throughout the journey the bus seemed to be plagued by a mysterious and pungent fishy smell, the source of which could not be found until we unloaded the bus where we discovered an ungodly enormous bag of day old fish (belonging to the driver who had neglected to tell us of our fishy guests) under the seats. We were all relieved to know that for once, the smell was not us!

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