The trip to Malawi was very exciting and started with the failure of the Deutsche Bahn (Germany’s primary rail way company). Our train was over 90 minutes late, which is why we needed to take another one. But in the end everything was fine and we arrived, a little later than expected but still on time, at the Frankfurt main station. From there on, we went straight to the airport which greeted, at least me, with confusion regarding what was allowed in the hand luggage. This was quickly resolved and after a short waiting period we could check in our luggage.
After passing the security gate we still had a few minutes left before the boarding started which we used to get some water and have some snacks.
The first flight, 6 hours changing continents to Africa (Addis Abeba in Ethopia to be exact), was pretty exhausting, not only because of it length but also because I couldn’t sit with the others in the back of the plane but rather many rows in front of them. Next to me was an “elderly” couple in their 50s with whom I had a great conversation. Around midnight we got a meal delivered which was surprisingly good for airplane food! With 900 km/h and at a height of 11000 meters we continued our journey towards a very beautiful sunset until our pretty early arrival in Ethopia. We were all pretty sleepy and used the 4 hours of stay in Addis Abbeba to explore the airport.
Our second flight was bumpier and with 4 hours shorter than the previous one. We fly over a beautiful sea of clouds. At the airport in Lilongwe (Malawi) we were greeted by a man with a large Germany-flag with the text “Johannes Kepler Schule” (Johannes Kepler Highschool) on it. We could exit the airport through the VIP area, needing to wait a bit for our visas to get checked. This was the time where we finally met our exchange students again. Together with them, our visas and many photos in front of different “Welcome to Malawi” signs we started our trip to our final destination: Salima.
What should have been only one and a half hours of driving doubled to three as we needed to stop multiple times because our fuel ran out. Often one of the Malawian teachers then started on the quest of getting some fuel – often on the black market. There is a big fuel crisis in Malawi right now which makes it difficult to buy fuel and very expensive if you’re lucky to get some (2€/~2000MKW per liter) officially. Most of the time fuel is sold on the black market thought, with even higher prices of 3€ to 4€ (~3000MKW to 4000MKW).
After other stops at gas stations we arrived at our Lodge in Salima. The drive was very impressive. We saw beautiful landscapes, many children – some playing, others selling hats. Many people live in mud brick houses with hay or, if you can afford one, sheet metal roofs. All those impressions really make you think..
We stay, in contrast to that, in a very luxurious Lodge, which rooms we moved into quite quickly after our arrival. The last big event today was, in conjunction with a small birthday party for Neele, dinner: vegetable rice with many different sauces – very tasty! So tasty in fact that Mr. Schröder didn’t get to taste some of them at all. After dinner we all got into bed really quickly as our over a day long journey was really exhausting.