Thursday, October 22, 2015

Wednesday, October 14: Lilongwe to The Lodge

Wednesday was an interesting day! We slept in and then packed so we were ready by the pick-up time of 11:00 - Well it was 12:00 before our ride arrived.  We were in the lobby of the hotel which was comfortable so we just needed some patience! We have to remember we are on “African time”! 

shoe Salesman along the Street 

Selling Banannas

Balancing a box on their head

A Typical Street Scene

Children at Play

Strip Mall

565 Kwachas = 1 Dollar
After Justin picked us up we went with him on numerous errands, including a tour of some more places in town.  From the Parliament building you can see the Presidents palace on top of a far ridge.  We went as far as a person can drive toward the palace.  The entrance is gated off, but there are beautiful gardens at the entrance.  Many of the places we went were in an effort to get the supplies lined-up for the medical clinic tomorrow. Many of the supplies are donated, and Justin was wanting to make sure that it would be there and ready for use when the volunteer doctors arrived tomorrow.
Around two o’clock we stopped at the shopping mall to use the ATM & bank, as the places we are going do not accept credit cards.  It was here we found a milk shake shop for our lunch!  We continued to run errands until 4:00 pm when we stopped at Justin’s home to get the final things for our trip and to pick up Justin’s wife, Jane. We left the house at 4:45 pm with the intent to be on our way to a location on the southern shores of Lake Malawi.  We met one of Justin’s friends who is going to transport some of the supplies to the mobile clinic location, and as we were ready to leave him, he noticed that the left front tire on Justin’s SUV was low.  Here we go again with more tire troubles!!  Cal took the tire off; the friend took it to a tire shop for repair, as by now it is 5:00 and shops are closing for the day; after the spare was put on the SUV we drove to meet him.  A second shop had to be located as the original one was closed. Thank goodness for cell phones – Justin has been on one of his two cell phones all afternoon getting things organized.  By now it is dark, or nearly so, thank goodness for Rachel’s trusty flashlight again!!  These roadside tire shops are just along the road, under a tree where there are no lights!!  I don’t quite understand why they do not carry flashlights!  If I find a flash light to buy that will be my going away gift to Justin!!! So he has one in his vehicle!!

A note on all of the tire repair work we have seen in the past few days!   A nice hydraulic changer like we have in the states is unheard of!!  First the tire bead is loosened on both sides, using a tire tool and hammer. Then a pry bar is and hammer are used to remove the tire from the rim.   When they roughed up the interior surface of the tire for the patch, they used a pop bottle cap!  Once the tire is back on the rim, they use a bicycle air pump to pump air into the tire.  Cal has never seen them use a tire tester to check the air pressure, plus, none of  the tires were ever balanced.
Justin & Jane's House

Changing Tires
By this time, it is 7:00 and dark.  We went to another quick food place (Steer’s burger shop) for some supper before we headed off for our destination.  By 7:30 we were on our way.  Driving at night is a challenge, because some trucks do not have rear tail lights, you see only silhouettes, and there are bicycles along the road or people on foot, to say nothing about the dogs that dart across the road in front of you.  Speaking of dogs!  About 1 ½ hours into the drive a dog decided to run across the road in front of us.  Well!! He did not make it across.  We hit it, and tore the lower bumper off the car!  The bumper was still attached at one location; we stopped to remove it, and again thankfully we had the flashlight! Down the road Justin found a place where we could leave the bumper until the return trip home to Lilongwe on Saturday.   Once we completed that task we were finally on our way to our destination with no more interruptions!! 

We arrived at our lodge along Lake Malawi at 10:18, ready to crash.  The people from the lodge met us and helped us to our rooms where we had a quick shower and turned in for the night.  This is the first time we have ever had to sleep with a mosquito netting over our bed.  It was a warm night and the netting did not make anything cooler!   We survived the night, but not as comfortably as we would have preferred.

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