Cultural Malawi

Trip Start Aug 26, 2009
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Flag of Malawi  ,
Sunday, September 13, 2009

The next stop was Chintheche.  Here we stayed at Kande Beach and got to experience some of the real Malawi.  We went out on a cultural walk to see some of the city.  Our guide, Christopher Columbus, took us to a Malawi home, school, hospital and town centre.  He was a wealth of information and was fond of Canadians since Canada donated money to Malawi to help build wells so that all Malawians could have access to clean drinking water.  A visit to the orphanage/school was the highlight for most of us.  We arrived to the children singing and dancing outside.  This school is a village school and orphanage.  There are a surprisingly few students who actually live at the school full time.  I believe that there were only 8 of them.  They choose the brightest children to live at the school and the others are just day students (or what they refer to as “village children”.)  Most of these children’s parents have passed away from AIDS and there are people in the community that try to help house them but often do not have money to feed them.  The school tries to provide decent meals to as many students as they can.  Malawi has a lot of these “homeless” children because much of the population is infected with AIDS.  We have the address of the school if anyone would like to donate.
We also paid a visit to the local hospital, which was really more like a clinic.  There are only 2 nurses employed there and one Assistant doctor.  The regional doctor comes in a couple of times a month.  The 2 nurses and one assistant doctor see 170 outpatients and 50 expectant moms every day.  They sure looked tired.  We asked them about treating AIDS patients and were told that they were not equipped to treat them there.  The village raises money for transportation for AIDS patients because they have to see a doctor in a major centre every 3 months for a checkup and to get their medications.  The nearest hospital to where we were was 70km away.  This hospital is hoping to get some more resources to be able to treat the patients but they say it will be a long time coming.  Currently they do not even receive deliveries of medications regularly.
The next day we stayed in the campsite and Dan and I rented a canoe.  We decided to canoe beside Alice as she swam out to the island in the lake.  It was a really nice day and we had good weather although the lake was a little rocky.  The island we went to was uninhabited and we got to see a really cool eagle that lived there.  It was a nice relaxing afternoon.  In the evening we had our “fancy dress night”.  Now for those of you who are thinking that we are dressing to the nines, you will be very disappointed.  We bought some clothes from in town and dressed up in, well, interesting costumes to say the least.  It was a lot of fun and became even more so as the punch was slowly depleted.  Needless to say the next morning we were all a bit less enthusiastic about getting back on the truck =)

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