Below you can read the program of my expedition.
Expedition Program Malawi
October 11th (Sat) – Departure from Brussels airport
Flight from Brussels to Blantyre, via Paris and Addis Abeba in Ethiopia.
October 12, (Sun) – Arrival Blantyre
Today we’ll have a long journey to Zomba, our base and the town around which all our projects are located. We arrive at Pakachere, a backpackers hostel and our home in Malawi. We set up our tents and then have time to recover from the flight, and get used to the smells and the climate of Africa.
October 13 (Mon) – Quest local market & cooking & Chichewa
Today we go on foot to explore the area in and around Zomba. The aim is to collect all the ingredients for dinner tonight. We visit the market in Zomba, various supermarkets and other places. Back at the backpackers we will get a cooking class in Malawian cooking.
To make the Malawian experience complete we get lessons in Chichewa. This is the language spoken locally. We learn the basics so that we can greet people in their own language, something much appreciated by the local population. We also learn more about the culture of Malawi. All this at a surprisingly original way.
October 14 (Tue) until October 16 (Thu) – Mawa Otisamala & Bwalo
Today we are going to visit our first project at the foot of Mount Zomba: the Mawa Otisamala Project.
The full name of the project is Mawa udi Anthu Otisamala, which literally means 'care for the children of today so that they are able to care for the elderly of tomorrow'. It was founded with the aim to improve quality of life in the community. Mawa is not only committed to education but caring for the sick, the elderly and (disabled) children in the community. There is also a ‘Self Generated Income Project’ where pigs are kept to support the project financially.
We also visit the Bwalo Initiative project, an organization dedicated to street children and other vulnerable young people. From their own center, they encourage young people to reintegrate into society, to go to school and back to live in a family. In the meantime, this center offers them "a home away from home", or a safe environment where these boys and girls receive shelter and food and get counseling.
Bwalo helps by learning life skills that are very obvious to us, and we often inherited from home, but are unknown to them. They also receive counseling to create awareness about HIV / AIDS and their rights as a child.
In the coming days we rotate in groups and activities at Mawa Bwalo. On Friday we also pay a visit to a local school. We spend the night in the community. No running water or electricity, all the way back to basics!
October 17 (Fri) & October 18 (Sat) – Liwonde National Park
Just over an hour’s drive from Zomba to Liwonde National Park. Friday there is time to swim in the pool. We go on safari and we make a wonderful cruise. We hope to spot many special animals that you usually only see in a zoo. All this led by a local guide who knows exactly where we should be. We sleep in our tent at a hostel or perhaps on a boat on the water!
October 19 (Sun) – Church Service & Zomba-hike
In the morning we visit a local church, and then we treat us to a beautiful hike around Zomba. The town of Zomba lies at the foot of a mountain of the same name. Around this mountain are wonderful trips with beautiful views. We sleep at our home base Pakachere.
October 20 (Mon) & October 21 (Tues) – YODEP
We are guests at YODEP, one of Be-More projects east of Zomba in Nteche village for two days. YODEP stands for Youth Development and Productivity, and was founded by a number of young business people from the community who want to encourage the youth and increase productivity.
The enthusiastic young team brings teenagers together through sports and games, in order to develop their individual talents, but also offers assistance by providing food and education. Additionally, YODEP brings human rights to the attention of the community and by giving information and offering free testing against the spread of HIV-AIDS. They also engage in microcredit to involve building their own community. We will help where we can, from teaching to home visits, youth work or help the newly launched ICT center. We also participate in a sports tournament.
At night we sleep in the community, again completely back to basics! The next day we spend again at YODEP.
October 22nd (Wed) & October 23rd (Thu) – Cape Maclear
After all that hard work it’s time to relax. We drive to Lake Malawi – namely Cape Maclear on the southern side of the lake. In an enchanting location on the water, we take more than a day to simply relax, get out, update blogs and to talk about the past weeks. We can wander through the village to shop or install ourselves in the sun.
October 24 (Fri) & October 25th (Sat) – Back to Lilongwe & flight home
Unfortunately today again time to pack our stuff and begin the journey back to the Netherlands. We drive back to the capital of Malawi and spend a good part of the day in the car on the way back to Lilongwe. We stop at naturally beautiful places to stretch our legs and enjoy the view. The last night is spent in a hostel near Lilongwe. From there we are taken to the airport, and we fly back to Brussels.
October 26 (Sun) – Arrival in Brussels
We arrive at the airport in Brussels where my parents and brother will pick me up for the rest of the trip home.