While I was in Zambia I had the chance to sort of re-live parts of my Peace Corps service. From Livingstone, I traveled up to Lusaka with Richard, the owner of Fawlty Towers lodge. It was such a treat to have good conversation and a free ride (I also got to play with his adorable daughter, Maya). In Lusaka I spent the night at Chachacha backpackers (nice, but a very small, poorly equipped kitchen), then left early in the morning by bus heading east towards Chipata. Marshall, a friend from Peace Corps Madagascar, met me along the road to take me to his village. It was great to be back out in the countryside again. Villagers are always so happy to see someone new.
The next day we hitched a ride to Laila’s site, another ex-Madagascar volunteer. That’s where I really got to kick it Peace Corps-style for a few days, cooking outside on a little charcoal stove and taking bucket showers. We also rode bikes around to the surrounding villages, and went shopping for chitenges (sarongs) at the nearby market.
We went into Chipata, where I stayed at the Peace Corps house and met lots of the PC Zambia people. Early Sunday morning we began the trek to Nkhata Bay, Malawi. We took a taxi to the border, and then another to a nearby town. After a bit of haggling, and the usual confusion, we found a mini-bus to Lilongwe. A friendly Malawian on the mini-bus showed us to the good buses going to Nkhata Bay, and we left Lilongwe by 10am (which was Marshall’s goal for the day).
We arrived in Nkhata Bay at around 4:30pm to absolutely ridiculous heat. At first we started walking to Myoka Village Lodge, and ignored the taxi drivers offering a free ride (this is usually a scam). Thankfully, a British couple informed us that they were legit, because the uphill walk with our backpacks was brutal. It was dark by the time we made it to Myoka, so the owner, Gary, offered us a free room rather than set up our tents (you may be noticing how many amazing, generous people I encounter on my travels- isn’t it awesome?). Gary also informed us that this is “suicide month” in Malawi because it is so oppressively hot and humid. I have to admit, the heat is really bad, but swimming in the lake is amazing. I seem to be discovering all the wrong times to visit places. Myoka Village would be beautiful at any time of the year. They have free boat trips, and occasionally live music in the evenings. I really enjoy the vibe there.