Day 18 Last day at Mpalaganga

It was very misty and cold when we woke up at our final day at Mpalaganga. Today is a day of bringing the house and the garden back in its original state. We start by rising early again, while Remco makes his last QSOs on 30m, and I continue writing the blog.
We had a few problems with internet so I was a bit behind.
Felista made us another nice breakfast.


David, the taxi driver, came up to see us to make an appointment for tomorrow morning  5.30 (that is even for our present time schedule early!!) to bring us to the airport in Blantyre.
With the help of Lackson, the guards and Felista we brought the biggest antenna (30m VDA) to the ground. Felista and I filled up the hole with sand and the men were busy dismantling all the ropes and screws from the pine tree.

My niece, Sanne, text-ed us that a friend of her, working at Emirates, arranged a hotel for us in Dubai. He saw that we were eligible for a free hotel stay because we have a stop of nearly 8.5 hours. So that is a nice surprise. He is also the one who arranged a bon voyage cake for us on the flight to Johannesburg.
We spent the day busy around the house packing. Felista came to ask us if Lackson could take the car to go to the hospital with his daughter. She fell into the fire and had several burns. We took a look at the burns and advised him to go to the hospital. Although the wounds are big, everything is ok. I gave Lackson some medicines out of our first aid kit, to care for the wounds of his daughter.
The garden looks almost empty now that the antennas are gone. It is strange to walk here and think of stepping back in our real world tomorrow. For the people in Malawi this is their world and it is such a big gap between our worlds.  It feels strange, there is so much and also so little one can do to help the Malawian people. And then there is the subject Remco and I talk about a lot, “Do you do good for them of ‘just’ for yourself”? And how good is that? And who says so?
A lot to think about, smile back at, remember and look forward to after this beautiful trip to Malawi! We enjoyed it a lot, the nature, the people, the culture and the two of us!

samen at tasty bites


Day 17 Back ‘home’ again

During the night the wind started to blow real hard, so we had quite a restless night. We wanted to leave early so Remco could make some more QSO’s for the last time. Finally we left at 8 o’clock after a nice chat with Luis, a Spanish guy who is building a school in Senga Bay as a kind of charity holiday.
We drove back to Mpalaganga without any special delays. We made a few pictures and videos from the life in Malawi alongside the (bumpy) road and the way people travel in Malawi, like this one (see below).


cola op fiets

Arriving at Mpalaganga the antennas had a tough time in the wind. It was really a cold and Continue reading

Day 16 Crocodile Farm, Lunch and Market in Salima

Early rise again for us just because we woke up early and the view was so beautiful. We saw a rock-rabbit in front of our lodge. Remco took a picture and then suddenly a big baboon came in and jumped in front of us. baboon

During breakfast we heard a lot of shouting in the neighborhood. It turned out to be the auction of the fish in the village next to the lodge.

fish auction

We decided  to see a Crocodile Farm. It is the biggest farm in Malawi where they breed crocodiles for the skin and their meat. We learned that they pull the teeth of these crocodiles so that they are not able to bite the one who takes care of them. They are Continue reading

The Charity Project: Crutches Fund

When Remco and I started thinking of going to Malawi we had several reasons to go.
I wanted to see and feel the land my aunt is so fond about and see the projects she is doing. Remco was also interested in this and wanted to use his hobby HAM radio to do some charity. Together we thought we had reasons enough to take the adventure and go!

We asked my aunt to search for a project with a few limits.
– It should be ‘touchable’
– It should be a small project
– It should be a project which was really needed for the people in Malawi
– It should have a good and firm governance (no money into black holes!)

So my aunt came up with a project “Crutches Fund for Zomba Central Hospital” .
Frans Zoetmulder, the neighbor of my aunt at Mpalaganga, and his wife Aideen started this project a few years ago. Frans is a (retired) surgeon who operates in the Zomba hospital.

hospital remco
Zomba Central Hospital (ZCH) is the referral center for the South Eastern region of Malawi, with 3.7 million people spread over 5 districts. It is the only center in the region for major general and orthopedic surgery. There’s a department of physiotherapy, and a presence of the Malawi Against Physical disability (MAP) organization.
In past days temporarily or permanently disabled people were supported through  MAP  and the hospital. In case of leg problems or amputations this ment that cruches were provided. Due to the eradication of polio and therewith the collaps of external support for MAP this service has been stopped. Also the hospital has been unable  to help financing  crutches.  As a consequence patients are completely dependent on their own resources, which are extremely limited. As a consequence patients with broken legs are weight baring too  early, jeopardizing the healing of their fractures, and amputated patients often never mobilize again.

The plan is to obtain a stock of 100 pairs of crutches in different sizes. These crutches will be fitted to patients needing them at the MAP/physiotherapy department and given out against a deposit of 1000 MK (Malawian Kwacha, around 4 Euro or 5 U$). When the need is over they should be returned and the deposit is paid back to the patients. Patients who need the crutches permanently will be allowed to keep them. Children with amputated legs will be  allowed  to return the crutches and exchange them for a proper size as they are growing.
It is estimated that 20% of cases will need permanent crutches. Of the 80% users it is estimated that 20% will not return them…. Another 10% is expected to brake each year. This would mean that after the initial investments in 100 pairs of crutches, the program will need 50 new pairs each year, to assure continuity.
zomba prison

Financial aspects
Crutches can be made locally or imported from old stocks in European countries. Zomba Central Prison is situated across the hospital and has a workshop that has been making wooden armpit crutches of reasonable quality in the past. A quotation will have to be asked, but a price of approximately 10.000 MK (around 20 Euro or 25 U$) seems reasonable. It is our target to get the best quality for the lowest price to provide enough crutches for a long time.

Day 15 Lake Malawi, here we come!

Today we went on a trip to Salima, Senga Bay. We booked a lodge at Lake Malawi. It is a drive of 250 km, so we had a long drive a head. When we drove  through a little town close to Zomba we saw the police with a camera. And … we got a speed ticket. At first we were surprised to see the camera, but they showed us the picture and it was indicated. We drove too fast. We payed 5000 kwacha, which is about 10 euro. Ok, we said but we would like to take a picture of the speeding camera. Unfortunately we were not allowed.


(picture speed ticket)

We continued our trip enjoying the ride, It was a relatively good road and it was nice to see another part of Malawi and all the Malawian people on the road. kinderen langs de weg

At the several police stops we sometimes had to show our international drivers license but mostly just made a chat and we could continue our trip and only stopped for a refreshing coke.

opening a coke

We arrived at Safari Beach Lodge and got into our lodge. Such a nice view at an amasing spot!

lodge safari beach

After a refreshing swim, a drink at the bar

cocktailbar remco

and dinner we sat near our lodge just enjoying the view and the sounds. sunset safaribeach



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