Monday, February 22, 2016

Going with Dad to Malawi

This past week we went with Dad to Malawi. Because of his new assignment as Logistics Coordinator for the countries of Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, and Angola, he has a lot to learn. He has taken a trip already to Zimbabwe to try to get a handle on things and us girls were left behind. This week he is going to Zambia without us. So, last week he took us with him to Malawi. It isn't THAT far so we went by car. 

The day before a road trip is always a busy prep-day. Literally, there is only a couple of gas stations where snacks and drinks can be bought on the whole trip. So, I made banana bread for breakfast and BBQ chicken sandwiches for lunch. Then I made rice krispie treats and cookies. Then some grapes and apple slices for snacks. We also pack our water and drinks for the journey.

We were up and out the door very early Saturday morning, like 5am early. Because of some switching around of cars while we were in the states, we are driving a small pickup truck. The backseat was very "cozy" with 3 fully grown girls sitting side-by-side.

The first part of the journey wasn't too bad. They have just resurfaced a portion of the road from Nampula to the city of Cuamba. So even though it was early, we were happy campers on that part.

There are beautiful mountains along the whole journey.
Then, we hit the dirt. Because it hadn't rained in a couple of days the ruts and bumps were as hard as concrete so we felt every one. I developed a headache not too far down the dirt road and my new medicine was not working to get rid of it. Also, I was trying to help out the girls by taking a turn in the backseat. I have a new appreciation for those sisters. We bumped and knocked each other into the next district. It was AWFUL! 

Don't let this good-looking road fool you!
It is a beast!!
We were on the dirt for about 155 miles and it took 5 hours.
That is 30 miles/hour!!!!
After 14 hours of hard driving we arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi. It was great to see some old friends and meet some new ones. The Baptist guest house there is lovely and we really enjoyed our time there.

Sweet Meg ready for church.
She loves getting dressed up.
This girl....loves her jeans.
Valentine's Pizza 
Loving the Italian restaurant
Dad and all his girls for Valentine's Dinner
One of the bonuses of this trip was getting to hold colleagues' sweet babies.
Such a fun girl lunch.
With milkshakes
Meanwhile Lee was hanging out with the men at the market while the rains poured.
Great lunch place that was a tropical paradise.
Looking at Malawian crafts.
At the plant nursery.
We sure don't have anything like this in Mozambique!
Huge elephant ears.
Because the drive over was so difficult, Lee decided to take us home a different route. We drove south through the city of Blantyre, Malawi and down to the Mozambican border. Near the border, but still in Malawi is an area full of tea plantations left from British colonial times. We asked someone while we were still in Lilongwe for a recommendation for lodging in this area. From that conversation we ended up making a booking at a Lodge in a Forestry Concession at the base of the mountain.  While this was far from the worst place we have ever stayed, it wasn't the nicest either. Unfortunately there were no air-conditioners and no fans in the rooms. However, there were lots of mosquitos! 

Mount Milanje and the tea fields heading to the lodge.
Dinner was prepared by the staff just for us. We ate in the dinning room while they waited on us.

Relaxing on the porch.
Check out the honey bee hive at the end of the building. There were thousands of bees coming and going.

This was almost exactly 4 years ago, just after we arrived in Africa.
We were on our way home from a meeting in Malawi. The girls were so small. 
This is in almost the same spot. Look how they have grown!!! 
Men and women picking tea in the fields.
There was just about 2 hours of dirt before we got to the black top that took us home to Nampula.

Always an adventure!!!