Seven Hours of Mini Buses

 Today was another beautiful day. We woke up to a beautiful sunrise across the lake and the sweet sound of water against the rocks on the shore. Once again we headed into the village, our favorite place when we are not the beach. We purchased some more bread and fruit and talked with several locals about their day.

We arrived back at Mufasa’s camp with the intentions of setting out on an early boat trip with the group to the islands of Cape Maclear in Lake Malawi National Park. Another lesson we have learned in Africa is that you must be willing to change plans when activities do not happen. We were planning on leaving on the boat trip around 10:00am, but when it was 1:00pm and the boat had not left we decided that it was time for us to begin searching for a way to get home.

The only big bus that left from Monkey Bay to Lilongwe left at 6:00am so our only option was to take mini buses from town to town until we reached Lilongwe. A journey of 140 miles took us over 7 hours. Luckily we only had to transfer buses three times, when it was supposed to be four times. That was a huge blessing.

We arrived in Lilongwe around 7:00pm and made the walk to our home just in time for a delicious dinner of rice, goat, beans, and relish. We were just glad to be home after such a journey!

(Below: Andrew’s post)

Today was a good lesson in patience, perseverance and faith. We woke to the sounds of baboons playing outside our beach hut door – that was pretty cool. I guess Monkey Bay lived up to its name after all! Kylie went outside to snap photos of them, but quickly returned when she said the monkeys didn’t like her camera (they got angry when she took photos).

The original plan for the day was to take the boat to Cape Mclair, but as usual, everyone was running in Africa time. Both Kylie and I were getting restless since our plans to stay or go home depended on if the boat ride was going to fall in our budget. To distract ourselves we walked into town to observe village life in the morning.

The streets were pretty empty, except for a couple of food venders selling, you can guess, chips, maize, and fruit. We walked as far as Sunset Bakery and got a loaf of bread for breakfast before heading back. One of the sad things I hear here are the children call to us ‘hey Mzungu (white person) give me money.’ 

I just don’t like that all the giving developed nations have been doing creates such a mindset of reliance for many here in Africa. At the same time, many feel like they are helping since we like to feel charity is benefitting those in need. Instead I see donated clothes end up in thrift shops being sold to people, and mosquito nets used as fishing lines. 

Anyways, Kylie and I decided to head back to Mufasa lodge to see if the status of the boat had changed… Which it hadn’t. The owner, Ricky, was running back and forth to figure out who was still going and who wasn’t. Most of the volunteers from the UK has decided not to go, but the rest of the group was wanting to head out. Indecision turned into 2 hours of standstill which was quite frustrating.

After several moments of back and forth decisions, Kylie and I decided we had to leave or miss the chance to get home to Lilongwe today. We lacked our things, crafted a plan, and set out on our way.

As we walked the road to town from Mufasa lodge, Kylie and I both expressed our concerns with the plan, the timing, and the feasibility of making it before very late. I said a dozen or so prayers in my mind as we walked, and suddenly we heard the sound of a car coming up behind us. Unusual for vehicles to leave Mufasa lodge, we turned to see a couple locals who work at the lodge riding up. 

They stopped in front of us and told us they were going into town and we could catch a lift with them! It was a huge blessing as they not only got us into town, but also took us to where the buses departed for Salima, negotiated a fair price for us, and sent us on our way. The power of prayer, and the kindness of people! 

The ride to Salima was long.., and slow and we stopped, I don’t know how many times. But, after a flat tire, a bus change, and a gas refill, we made it to Salima before dark. We got off our bus, weary from the bumpy ride and boarded another mini bus to Lilongwe. 

The whole time Kylie and I were nervous, tired, and stressed. Would we make it before it got very late? Would it be safe at night? Questions like these tend to come up when you travel at night in s foreign country.

Despite our worries, internally I felt that everything would work out just fine. We drove through the beautiful landscape of Malawi with only our headlights and a near-full moon to light the road to Lilongwe.

Around 7pm, 6.5 hours after we began our journey we pulled into Lilongwe and opened the gate to our home, safe and sound. It was quite an adventurous ride. Kylie and I unlocked the door to our room, dropped our things and shared a long hug. We had made it. 

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