Tuesday, 15 May 2012


Well I arrived in Lilongwe after a true travel experience.
Silly me forgot to do the time conversion and what I thought would be a bareable 24hr journey ended up being a long and somewhat unbearable 36hr trip!!

My first plane trip was 9hours to Bangkok next to the wriggliest and not the most well behaved German 3 year old girl.  I offered to take the window seat so they could get up and down as needed but no - I had to compete with outbursts of screams, kicks & falling limbs.  Needless to say not much sleep occurred.

Managed to have a nana nap on the arm chairs at Bangkok (wasn't going to ask how clean they were) and then boarded the 8 hr journey to Nairobi Kenya with a rather drunk Kenyan woman - at least I had leg room.

Arrived in Kenya - bleary eyed and there was a short wait before my next flight.  I went through the boarding gates - got caught up in my book and realised that there weren't many people left in the boarding lounge and they were calling names for my flight - I got on it with 5 minutes to spare.

The next 2 flights were only about 2 hours each but each time I didn't get to finish watching War Horse so still in suspense.

Finally touch down in warm Malawi to one broken conveyor belt for bags for 3 flights.  The interesting scramble out the back of the airport to find your bags with 100s of other travellers - an experience.

Was finally greeted by Heather and Gift and went to transfer money at the airport.  They don't recognise Australian currency and my special 'worldwide' card doesn't work.

Into Lilongwe we go and find an ATM that does accept it - hoorah.
My phone doesn't work, my laptop doesn't connect to the internet which provides an interesting scenario when trying to create databases and forms for the disability register days.

In the scheme of things and what I'm about to undertake the little voice of conscience and reason pops up and says it's ok - these things are materialistic and what you are about to do is bigger than that.

Lost in thought and jet lag I try to make myself a snack when I cut open the top of my thumb - at this point I realised that it would be better that I curl up under my mosquito net and attack the first day tomorrow.

The first day is predominantly planning and I firstly go out to visit the new training village that Landirani has started to build.  The first mud hut has been erected and despite a slight termite invasion has started the potential for something wonderful.
Following a typical Malawian meeting .... not a lot said in a lot of time.....  we move down the road to a little village where I do a brief assessment on a 10 year old boy with what appears to be cerebral palsy.  He has no ability to sit let alone walk and his 12 year old sister is his primary carer during the day so that mum and dad can work in the field.  She doesn't attend school either.  Again I am brought back to reality about how much we have and how much we take for granted and caught up in our own lives.
We then progress back into Lilongwe where we meet with I think an orthopaedic surgeon who runs a clinic for the disabled.  What they are doing there with no money and sometimes no pay is incredible.

Today is a big planning day to establish a disability register process to enable me to do 3 drop in sessions.  It is uncomprehendible how much stamina these individuals and their families have in order to have me and the Landirani trust assess them and give them some potential help and hope.

Tomorrow is day one of these registers ... it will be a big day.

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