Below we have a few word from Expedition Member David Cribb. Pictures coming soon.
Well, I think in general we had a pretty good expedition. Now that we?re all back in the UK and most of the group has gone back to work or college or school, we?re often seeing things that remind us of our time in Malawi, still making jokes made in Malawi and genuinely happy that we saw this trip advertised 21 months ago.
The training, I think we all agree was essential, and the 18 months prior to Malawi made sure that we all got to know each other, work as a functioning team and generally improve on all the skills we would need out in Africa. By the end of the training we were much better prepared for expedition that we were at the beginning. When we finally touched down in Malawi we were as best prepared as we could be.
Our first impressions of Malawi were the views from the minibus from the airport. We could instantly see that this was very unlike the country we had just left behind, and the talk from DFID in the British High commission really opened our eyes to what this country was really like. When we left the fairly modern capital of Lilongwe on our route down to Songani & Makwawa we further saw what the country was like, with mud huts all along the road.
Our time at Makwawa will be one of our main memories of the trip, building the school along with the Malawian scouts really helped us to get an idea of what life for some of the people out there was like. By the end of the 2 weeks we had also made good friends with the Malawian scouts and we?re all still in touch with them now. Overall our time at Makwawa was highly fun and we managed to experience bits of Malawi, such as haggling, with a hands on approach in places like Zomba Market.
The other two main Projects in Michuru and Blantyre were also highly exciting, whether it was fighting fires, building thatch roofs, watching hyenas or seeing a traditional Malawian dance. Once again we managed to experience different aspects of Malawi whilst still all enjoying ourselves.
One of the other exciting moments was our ascent of Mt. Mulanje. I don?t think many of us had done any mountain climbing of a similar standard to that before, the closest some of us had perhaps got to was the Lake District or Snowdonia. It was a challenging few days but eventually 5 of team Malawi made it to the top.
One thing the entire group was looking forward to right from the beginning of the trip was the Safari at Liwonde National Park. We were lucky enough to see Elephants, Kudu, Water buck, Hippos, Impala?and Crocodiles on a Jeep, Canoe and motor boat safari.
We were also looking forward to our time on Lake Malawi. Whilst staying at Nanchengua (sp?) Lodge we able to hire a catamaran and a speed boat and spend a few hours snorkelling and swimming in the waters surrounding an uninhabited island. We were also able to do some banana boating in the afternoon.? We then moved on to Cape Maclear where, after kayaking across lake Malawi to get to it, we spent a few days on the uninhabited Domwe Island relaxing, learning how to catch fish with only a Mosquito net and a barrel, beating Joe?s time in climbing Domwe Island and learning how to scuba dive.
Towards the end of the trip we began looking forward to home, but then at the same time began thinking about all the things we would miss, the friendliness of the Malawian people, the wonderful landscape, the unique Malawian food (yum Nsima!). The last two nights in the country at Fat Monkeys and back at Mabuya Lodge were spent reminiscing about our 6 weeks and figuring out the best bits to put into the presentation.
Another long journey back to the UK involving a 2:00 flight from Lilongwe, a 5 hour stop in Nairobi and an 8 hour flight back to London Heathrow and we eventually made it back to the UK. 24 hours later, with presentation rapidly prepared we were giving our presentation to friends, family, sponsors and HSX.
A wonderful 6 weeks and an excellent expedition!
Just a few thank yous, I?d like to thank the rest of the team for their company, teamwork and help over the last 21 months and for making the trip as good as it was, Especially Matt, Joe and Emily, the Expedition Leaders who ensured that everything was organised so that we could have a great trip.
I?d also like to thank HSX for initially organising the trip and supporting us throughout our training and expedition.
Finally I?d like to thank all the corporate sponsors and everyone that donated towards the trip because without the money, we wouldn?t have been able to do anything of the amazing things we eventually achieved.