Monday, June 25, 2007


Canoe Safaris in Malawi

Eli and I are on our way back from a 5 day trip to malawi, which has been great. We got a ride right to Blantyre with our missionary freinds, stayed in Blantyre at a Peace Corps transit house (a nice place to stay, which costs less than $1.50 a night) and got to meet some malawi PCVs which was fun. Malawi is actually a bit more developed than Mozambique- the road changes from dirt to asphalt at the border and there are more stores and things being sold on the street, etc. (Although the majority of people are still in absolute poverty like Mozambicans). Anyways, Eli and I stayed one night in Blantyre and then took a bus up to Liwonde, where we caught bycicle taxis to Liwonde National Park. The bycicle taxis were really fun, they have padded seats in back for passengers and a second set of handle bars. They took us 6 Km to the park gate. There, we met up with another PCV who's site is actually inside the park! (Those lucky environmental volunteers!) We went to a safari lodge called Chinguni Hills, which was very relaxed and an overall nice place. We stayed two nights, using our tent for the first time. The tent is nice but extremely small!! The whole thing about Liwonde is that the shire river- a major river that drains lake malawi- passes through it. Our campsite looked out over the river and some lagoons and marshes. Every day we saw herds of elephants in the marsh. One night we even heard them crashing through the trees as they went by our campsite down to the water! The park doesn't have the big five, but it did have lots of baboons, waterbuck, impala, elephants and lots of birds (410 species), so I was pretty happy. In fact, we went on a drive (an RPCV from micronesia took us in her car) and saw some parrots and some really rare ground hornbills (even Eli was excited, which should tell you something). We also did a canoe safari through the marsh and lagoons, and got really close to hippos and saw a number of birds, and the setting was wonderful.
The food at the lodge was superb, and eating was actually our biggest expense. They served great roast beef (the best beef we have ever had in Africa), a bacon quiche, indian food, fish and chips, etc. and every meal was great. We're already planning a return trip!
I'll include more details and pictures when possible. We are returning to Ile tomorrow (currently in Mocuba, in transit back home after the trip). Take care everyone,

Paul and Eli

Sunday, June 10, 2007



Last weekend we got a visit from an American living in Quelimane- he’s a professional photographer and he came up to Ile just to do a training session with our JOMA group; and it was a lot of fun! He has brought his computer, we borrowed a projector, and inside of a classroom with all of its windows covered in capulanas, we got to see a great slide show. The kids really enjoyed it because he was charismatic, and his pictures were great, so I’m hoping that they gained some ideas or perspective from him. Hopefully some of it will rub off when they start taking their own pictures, which is starting any time now.

Unfortunately there weren’t as many kids at the meeting as there normally are, because there were two holidays that weekend. Friday was ‘Children’s Day’ which was not supposed to be a school holiday (since we teach older kids!) but strangely enough, the kids took it off anyways! Then Sunday was Dia do Ile, or the day of Ile, I guess, which celebrated the founding of Ile 71 years ago. It was a pretty big holiday, and we spent about 6 hours outside at the administration building where all the festivities were held. It was all very official (because holidays always are in Mozambique), but this time things were a little different. They had giant speakers set up, and someone from the public radio was there interviewing people and broadcasting their responses over the loudspeakers. He actually came up and talked to Eli for a bit, which you can imagine, she loved. Our JOMA group was scheduled to do a theater piece, but because of all the delays they had to wait almost 2 hours later then what the time they were scheduled for. Waiting that long in the sun gave us both a sun burn, Eli’s was worse than mine, but our kids’ theater piece went really well. Afterwards we bought juice and cookies and had a snack, since the kids waiting so long to do their theater that they missed lunch! (Most of our kids live and eat at school).

So that holiday was on a Sunday, and technically (according to the district director for education) we still had to work on Monday. However, that day was also taken off. So we had a four day weekend, which was nice. If we had known in advance that it was going to be a four day weekend we may have planned to do something else though!

This weekend we are going to Alto Molocue, a town which isn’t that far away, but because of the transportation here and the way the roads are, it still takes us quite a while to get there. We’re spending a long weekend there (our first time visiting the PCVs there too!) and then going to Mocuba.

As for basketball, we have not started practicing yet (it’s been almost two months!) because the court is still under construction! For whatever reason, they tore up the court before they were even remotely ready to repair it. And when they did have cement, they used it to construct a short wall around the court- I guess so they can play ‘indoor’ soccer in there. Of course, you can’t play anything right now because the floor is dirt and cement chunk. It will never make sense to me.

We’ve also recently hired someone to cook for us, once or twice a week, which is a big time saver for us.

Hope everything is well back home.

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