Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mzuzu to Mbeya

I Arrived in Mzuzu and had a good sleep at the Mzuzu lodge who donated a night to me , the next day I was on a rest day and went to the Mzoozoozoo backpackers lodge which was hidden in a side street with not too much signage at all . Well it was like a step back into the 60's . Gerard , the owner was very helpful and gave me a roomm on the house and intorduced me to some of his friends who were staying for a while . The one chap reminded me of the rolling stones drummer , and i suspect that back in the day he had enjoyed one or two acid parties too many .. they were all great . i t was a really relaxing stay and although i headed to bed fairly early the party did not stop till pretty late that night .

Next day i haead for Rhumpi turn off which is about 60 km . It was nice flat running and at the 52 km mark I met Danny and Chris who had cycled from cornwall all th eway down through africa and were heading for Capetown . I was pleased to meet some fellow travelers as the last one i had met wasthe crazy russian in Zimbabwe .
That night i nade my way to the CCAP ( presby church )üp on the hill near the Rhumphi turn off . On arrival i wa slucky to meet Treasure , on eof the chior singers , who could speak fair english . She organised that I stay in the ministers house and have supper there as well. The Choir then sang a song for me which was beautifully done . Th eministers wife asked what i liked to eat and i explained that simple Nshima( pap) with Tomato and onion was perfect for me as I new this was what they would probably be preparing for them self .

Much to my horror she promptly killed the chicken that had been wandering around th eyard and we had exactly what i had asked for but with some chicken thrown in . I felt mortified simply because no one else ate any chicken besides the minister and I . I am ahumbled everytime when people who have less give so much .

Next day I set off hoping to make it to the lake . on the way i found a bridge over a raging river made only of reeds , this was used with confidence by the local,s . My confidence deserted me when I was about half way across and it became quite nerve wracking but was well worth the detour .

I eventualy ran out of down hill and had a long slog up a major mountain and was rewarded by a spectacular view of the lake Malawi as i crested the top of the mountian . Wow ......Awesome .

I stayed on the lake shore that night at a camp site that was over flowing with people in overland vechiles .

The next morning I was running along when two cyclist,s snuck up behind me . they were Nelson and Linda from Canada . they had set off from Jhb and were heading to Nairobi . We travel a fair way together and they were really good company . They told me they had been waiting to catch up with me becuase they had been told by others that this crazy man was actully travelling alone on foot .

My entry into Tanzania was not as cheerful as the Tea picker in the photo above . I was warned several times not to get involved with the money changers at the border but i need to change money to get a drink as i manged to get quite dehydrated on the 50 run to the border . Eventually after muchnegatiation , lack of focus and down right stupidity i managed to exchange R50 worth of malawian kwacha,s for R5 worth of Tanzanian schillings . Well at least I managed to by a coke .

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Antibitoitcs and bushes

I headed out of kusungu not really knowing where i was aiming for . Jenda was about 85 km up the road but i did not really expect to get thier in one day . I met lots of people onthe raod early on and the day went pretty well . I did not really worry about km and just kept going and going . at about 4 pm I realised that all farms and people had disappeard and i was running through an indigenous froest area that was not populated at all . I made a snap decision and decided to call it a day and bailed off the road into the deep thick bush .

I hide in a clump of really dense bush for a while and cooked supper and made coffe , I decided thati would not put my tent up unitl it was almost dark as that way i could aviod being spotted by any passerby's . i got a bit of a scare when a car pulled off the road almost at the exact same spot when i had left the road . They hung around for about 10 minutes but it seems it was justfor a strech and the call of nature .

Just before i setup my tent I noticed thatthe spot i had chosen was right next to a hornets nest but it wa to late to move . I setup and the deep grass under my tent gave some nice cushioning which i quitye enjoyed . I slept like a log , it was the firsttime i had camped where i was not worried about people becuase i would have heard anyone from a mile away .

I still feel full of flu and the cut on my leg is not looking so good , strange stuff oozing out of it but this did not stop me setting off early for Jenda ., which turned out to only be another 7 km up the road .

I did not stick around in Jenda but did meet a driver named Richard who told the correct distances to the next towns and all towns along the way . I pushed on to Livari as i had an offer from George to stay at the Luwawa forest camp . I made it to Livari inth enick of time as the heavens openedas soon as i got thier .

I spent th enight at the Luwawa forest camp and i t was great , I used the sauna and had some beers with George , laura nad Danny . It is an adventurers paradise .

I set of fth enext morning with the aim of making some good km's , how werong i was .

the day turned into a nightmare of a day . I was sick as a dog . sore throat , sore glands , hot and cold , the terrian was a monster too with massive hills that just went on and on for ever . After 8 hours i had only managed about 38 km and the rain came down . I saw a church so made a dash for the door way which was a bit sheltered .

So to use the correct terminology , I took refuge from the storm in the house of God . i decide to use teh time to cook up a meal of onions and tomatos with some toppers mince and nshima.

All was going well and i was busy collecti8ng water using my umbrella when i saw that the lady in th ehouse near by was watching me . Ithought i was going to be in trouble for cooking on the steps ofthe church . She dissappeared inside and reappeared shorty with a man , who turn out to be the Rev Samson Chipela , . his first words to me was " welcome" . he then suggest that he open the church and let me cook inside as it was quite misseralbe and cold outside .

He also said that i should not cook my own Nshina(pap) as they had just finished thier meal and had some left .

i was then presented with a pot of Nshima and some veg , grace was said by the rev and then I left to eat . A while later he returned and told me that he had discussed with his wife and it was to late in the day for me to continue on my journey so they thought i should stay in the church office forthe night . I was truly humbled by the genrosity that was extended by him .

I had a beautiful sleep in the church offic e, the normal pains I have been suffering at night in my feet were notthier , This could have been as a result of the huge anount of parecetomol i had taken for my flu but all the same it was a great nights sleep .
Th enext day I decidei would push the 77km to Mzuzu and my rest day .
the day started well and wet , so wet in fact that i used my umbrella for teh proper purpose for a change .
I had a vewry quite day on the road except fpor a 2okm stretch where a chap joined me . What ever i said to him he just repeated back to me , if i ran , he ran . I f i walked , he walked . he was really strange but in a harmless and irritating way . eventually I out ran him after about 2o km and was relieved to see the end of him .
I got to Mzuzu eventually and have spent most my rest day at hospitals and doctors getting injections and antibiotics . tomorrow I push on again

Friday, January 14, 2011

From Zambia to be cruising in Malawi

Well to say Zambia was hard would be an understatement . I think after seeing Samantha in Lusaka I was left left feeling really home sick and missed her on her departure , combined with that I ran down into the Luangwa valley which was hot , really hot , I am not kidding it was super hot .

. On my firat night out of Lusaka I made it to the hot springs at Chiniyniyu , The spring was hot but I had expect a camp ground or something but all that was thier was a small shop and the owner said i could pitch my tent near by . I had no sooner done this and he locked up and headed of home leaving me in a deserted area . My tent was pitched in a nice quite spot so i was not too worried . Ha ,,,, I should have been , I may as well have pitched my tent on the N1 near Jhb becuase thats how busy my deserted patch was after dark . All night long I heard people passing by my tent , no more than 10 meter's away . So after a pretty sleepless night , thankfully without incident , I packed up and set off .

I was really struggling to run in the heat and things were very lonely , It was new years eve and I had no idea where i was heading to becuasethe town on my map did not seem to exist .
I was feeling pretty down
Thank goodness for the head masters and the teachers .
I arrive at a village called Luwamba and found the headmaster of the local school , Nixon . He said i could put my tenet up next to his house and promptly disappeared .

I was joined by a grade one teacher Miraim who actually lived in the house which i camped next too . she was a star , she controlled the children who hovered as close as possible and her , her son Jossie and uncle Ezikiel became my new years buddies for the rest of the day . After dark I went to bed and fell asleep at about 9 pm .
i was rudely woken up at 12:04 with an ederly gentleman banging on my tent with a stick and shouting in his own language . I was still busy debating what to do about him when Miriam flew out of her house and let of a string of what sounded like harsh comments at the old chapped who then disappeared into the dark .

A couple of days later I stayed at another school where the History / Library teacher came to see me as he wanted to show me his library . I was spectacular , everything was in it's place , perfectly labeled and organised . He was very proud of his humble library and insisted that I select any book i like to take with me on my journey .
His biggest problem with his libray is that he does not really have that many books at all , so if you sitting out there reading this and feel like shipping some of your old books to Zambia where you know they will be really cared for then send me an email and i will give you his address .

I stayed at 5 schools in total in Zambia and the headmasters were great every time , som even letting me use a class room or there office to sleep in . Thanks Headmasters of Zambia

I have to jump forward to Malawi now as my time is running on this connection .

The children in Malwi are in awe of this strange traveler who pushes a pram , they either run for there lives or follow me like the pied piper .
I had great fun disrupting two schools . It happened something like this on both occasions.

A lot of the classes are held out doors where theteacher has a black board setup under a tree and the children sit in the shade .
I was passing a school on the second day in Malawi and I waved at some of the kids in a class under a tree about 200 meters away . They all waved back . I saw two little fellows at the back wave very frantically and then have a brief discusion with each other . One then could not resist it and broke ranks from his class and started running towards me . Well that was all it took for the entire class and two other classes to break ranks and abandon school to come and see the me .
They love my camera and go absolutely wild when i reverse the disply so they can see themselves .

last night I stayed in a village and camped under tree , I ruined the reputation of every south african braai master . I had an audience of numerous childern which slowly swelled as the afternoon went on . .

The fire I made failed and i had to get help for a 7 year old to get it going again .
I undercooked my toppers and the Nsima ( pap) I cooked also did not really turn out well at all .
despite my bad cooking i ate every bit with a smile as i was not going to let them know that my cooking really sucked .

Hope to update again soon but time is up now .