Friday, 1 December 2017

The Dorm of Doom!

One of the worst things about being British is that many of us are cursed with the ‘over polite gene’. Oh it’s all very well if you are born state side (come on! You know who you are! J ), but for us Brits, there is nothing worse than trying to remain selflessly silent during long dark nights of social sleeping arrangements - especially when you are dealing with a mischievous, selfish and unyielding mosquito! 

I optimistically pull the mozzie nets over the bunk early. I have another guest tonight and that makes it far worse when an attack happens. It’s bad enough that the bed creaks every time I move (of course I will lie uncomfortably for hours before I allow another creak to MAYBE disturb my fellow snoozer) but killing a mozzie at midnight is not a silent affair. When he comes to visit, like he has done every night since my tent leaked and I entered the dorm, I will have no other defences than a one handed clap, a swift swipe and a whispered curse. Frankly, this is just not enough!

I block all obvious exits and tuck myself in. Podcast on, skin covered…and sleep!

Sunday, 19 November 2017

The Long Ride Home.

‘Are you ready?’, he shouted over his shoulder. I braced myself, held onto the bars, and looked ahead. I was not ready at all and didn’t think I would be anytime soon, ‘Yes ready!’, I replied. Just then the rope tightened and I felt myself being dragged off the dirt path and straight into the chaotic traffic of Dar es Salaam. Rhonda, for the first time in our 67,000-mile journey, had broken down!

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Lilongwe Wildlife Sanctuary

The best bit about Malawi for me was not the lake! It was actually Lilongwe. The city was fine, but the bit that interested me the most was the Lilongwe Wildlife Sanctuary right in the centre of the chaos. An oasis of calm in the most random of places! I was lucky enough to be invited to rest here a few days by the owners Kathy and Johnny who have been running the place since 2007. Their mission is to 'help Malawi's wild animals in need, combat wildlife crime and empower the guardians of the wild'. A truly worthwhile cause indeed. To help with this they have set up a program where volunteers can come and work here, learning new skills and caring for the animals that have yet to be, or cannot be released back into the wild. This is not a zoo. It keeps human contact to a minimum and only keeps animals that truly cannot be released, or need a bit more time and rehabilitation.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Leaving Zambia

As I sit by the camp fire overlooking the Luangwa river that separates Zambia from Mozambique, I reflect on my last three weeks in the country formerly known as Northern Rhodesia. Tomorrow I will cross the border at Chipata and head into Malawi, waving a fond farewell to this little country with its big charm. I certainly hope to be back someday. Perhaps however, it will be in the cooler months next time around!

Zambia has its problems. It is one of the poorest countries in the world with a life expectancy of just 49 years old.  The deforestation due to its rapid population increase and charcoal usage, as well as its over dependency on copper, is stripping the country of its natural resources and leaving its people, wildlife, and economy, exceptionally vulnerable. It is no wonder Zambia has so much illegal wildlife trafficking. The Chinese are always at hand to buy more than the odd pangolin or illegally poached elephant tusk, and who can blame the local man who steals them to feed his starving children? The problem, as ever, is global and it’s going to take a lot of time and hard work to put it right.