I bless the rains down in Africa

Trip Start Feb 01, 2007
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10
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Trip End May 30, 2007


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Flag of Malawi  ,
Friday, March 16, 2007

We just got to spend 30min at the post office sticking 10 stamps each on the postcards we are mailing from here.  The price to mail a postcard is fairly normal, about $0.50, but Malawi doesn't have an international postcard stamp.  My tongue is a bit dry.
Malawi is a beautiful country with helpful and friendly people.  The first week of our biking in Malawi it rained on us quite a bit.  So I had that dumb Toto song stuck in my head and now it's stuck in all of you'rs.  Ha.  We decided to take the north/south road that goes along the lake shore instead of the highway linking the main cities.  It was a great road with almost zero traffic so coming back up to the bussle of a big city has been a bit of a change.
Along that road we got to meet a lot of Malawians living day to day.  There are some obvious differences from Tanzania to Malawi.  The most obvious is there are a lot more children in Malawi.  But, sadly, not a lot more adults.  We don't have real numbers, but it looks very much like not all children get to grow up.  There are good examples on our pictures, if you look at me walking down the road in the Tukuyu entry that's most of the kids that just got out of school.  If you look at the picture of me packing up after lunch, that's just the kids who crossed the street from schools recess.  They are great and playful kids, there are just a lot of them.  Other examples of how Malawi is more poor then Tanzania are the kids are leaner, the clothing is more thread bare and the buildings are a bit more shabby.  It's clear why they kids are thinner here.  The prices at the markets for anything but locally grown things are for the most part what you would pay in the states.  But 85% of the population are farmers who make > $1/day.  So, they can have all the corn, rice or fish they want, but anything they don't grow themselves they have to squeeze out of that $1.  When you have 6 kids, hoping some of them make it into their 20's, that's a tiny amount of money.
Other stories behind the pictures.  As we were biking along I got a strong smell as if someone just opened a new bag of rubber bands.  Ah ha, rubber tree farms!  Cool!  Kids were on the side of the road bouncing balls of all shapes to sell.  We though that a logging road would be a secluded spot for a snack, but alas got a crowd making us small rubber balls as we ate.  They are very much like a rubber band ball, but a bit less processed.  It looks as if they cut a line in a tree and put a collection cup at the bottom.  The kids make the balls from the drippings that the cuts make.
We are heading now for Zambia where the tour book says "If you enjoy a raw edge and a genuine Africa with few tourists, Zambia will be the place you're looking for."  At least we've worked up some tolerance for "raw edge" here in Malawi!
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Comments

bmyka
bmyka on

Into Zambia
Keep up the great stuff. Try to keep your camera dry in Vic Falls. Love to hear from you guys.

istanbul07
istanbul07 on

rubber balls
That must be something, seeing rubber balls straight from the source. Wow. The smell must be odd as well. Love you both. Jude

stina679
stina679 on

The rains here in Portland
Thank you! Thank you! Nothing like a little Toto stuck in my head to start the morning off right!

Gretchen! Matt! You guys rock. The trip sounds AMAZING so far, and although I would rather be there and not sitting here in this office, at least you have granted all of us stateside the opportunity to live vicariously through you =-) Thank you for taking us along for the ride! I hope it continues to go, at least, fairly smoothly, and keep up the good journalism!

=-),
Kristine

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