Caroline in Malawi

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Final Entry

So I've been back for over a month now and I'm right back into the swing of things at work and I have managed to catch up with most of my friends and family. I've found it fairly easy to get back into life at home and have only been caught out once or twice. Last week I was at a wedding reception which was lovely but I found it really wierd that couples were actually touching each other and kissing in public. I was thinking that that was wrong and not acceptablle but then I had to remind myself that I was back in Scotland and not in Malawi! It is the little things that take you by surprise that remind me of the totally different experience I've had.

I'm glad to be back but missing Malawi lots, especially Jonathan, the sun and the pace of life! I've had a wonderful time and I'm really glad that I went for it. My VSO experience has been fantastic and I wouldn't change a thing about it.

What next? Well who knows what the future will hold.............

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Well my adventure has come to an end and I am now back in Edinburgh. It has been a wonderful 18 months that really has changed me. I will write one final post soon, after I have settled in but in the mean time here is the link for a few of my new photo hightlights:

Enjoy Caroline

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Last Malawi Entry

Well folks - 18th months is nearly over and this will be my last entry from Malawi! I am all packed up and ready to go. My luggage has already gone to Lilongwe and me and J are heading down tomorrow and Monday. (my lovely new teapot , which was going my hand luggage, didn't even make it to Lilongew as J dropped it on the floor while moving luggage from one car to another!) I have a few days there and a few things to do like get a police international clearance!.

I fly on Wednesday and 24 hours later I'll be back in Edinburgh!!!

Will write more when I am home......

Monday, July 21, 2008


Managed to add a few more to my latest album (see last entry) and here are a few from Jonathan's. Enjoy.....

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Vermin Update

Ok so it is 1-nil to me in the game! Apparently I was wrong to slag off the gum 'mouse friendly' approach. The other day Jonathan checked the gum and found a little mouse stuck to the wood. I did not witness this for myself. Apparenlty the mouse was set free in the garden but the reason that we hadn't heard in making any noise was because it has chewed on the gum and its mouth was stuck together. So basically the poor thing will slowly starve to death - very humaine indeed!! No sign of the rats eating the tomatoes but fingers are still crossed!!

Tried to upload some snaps from Uganda but the computer is really slow today so only managed on photo - Me and J on quad bikes at the source of the river nile, Jinja, Uganda - here is the link:

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Where is Jambo when I need him?

Been in Jonathan’s house for 3 weeks now and it is actually quite a nice house. Before we left for Uganda we had agreed with George that my one bag of maize was to remain in Jonathan’s house and be kept there until it is needed when the shortages start. It is really being kept at his house to stop George using it all for himself! Anyway the only place that was suitable was the spare room. It was put up on bricks and packed with a foul smelling chemical to keep away the weevils.

I wasn’t that keen as I’m sure that this might attract the mice but I was assured that as it was only one bag it would be quite ok. So we appeared back from holiday and needless to say that George has moved in all of his maize into the spare room – 10 bags in total. He was still trying to smuggle it in but we sent him packing with the remaining 4 bags. I was really not happy about this as a) the smell was awful of these bloody chemicals and b) the fact that mice would soon appear.

Of course I was right – just a few days ago I was in bed reading a book, when a little mouse pops his head into the room to say hello. Jonathan, being the animal lover that he is, decided not to get poison but to get this gum stuff that you put on wood and place food near it. The idea being that the mice stick to the gum then you can pull them off and set them free. At this point I really don’t care if they live or die as long as they shift from the house. So the trap was set and bread was placed strategically along this bit of wood. Surprise, surprise in the morning all of the bread was gone but no little mice were stuck to the gum. Failed!! Upon rooting about it is apparent that these mice are setting up camp in the maize and they certainly won’t be going hungry this year! George is being told to remove all bags of maize when he returns from visiting his family next week.

It gets worse though. Mice I can just about cope with, all that experience in the student flats but rats are another thing.

It now turns out that the house also has a few rats running about in it – mainly in the kitchen. I haven’t seen them but the expression on Jonathan’s face said it all the other day in the kitchen. Stuff this animal loving gum nonsense. At the first opportunity the rat poison is going down and we are going to kill them all. Apparently the stuff is called Temic and is lethal to all. There are several cases of people being poisoned after a fight and then ending up dead a few days later in the hospital! I used it last year to get rid of the mice and it worked wonders – George caught 10 dead ones after just 2 days. So this time without the aid of Jambo, the war on the vermin has begun………..

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I can’t believe I only have just over 3 weeks left in Malawi. Things are still really busy at work and I am running about trying to chase up projects that were started ages ago but things really do take time in Malawi!

I had a lovely birthday at the VSO regional Meeting which was in Chitipa, which is right in the north and really not that easy to get to. I though travelling to Rumphi was bad but the volunteers up there really do have it a lot worse. It was really nice to catch up with everyone, especially as that was the last time that I will see many of them!

I also have finally got round to visiting Nyika national park which is quite near here but takes ages to get to cause of the roads. There is a tiny little school right in the middle of the park which we went to visit with the Primary Education Advisor and some teachers. Basically the school has 2 teachers, 6 classes but only 30 pupils! (bearing in mind that the average class ratio is 1:100) We were observing some lessons and at one point there were 5 observers in the class watching one headteacher teach only 3 children – very bizarre. The school is really not used to having visitors and the PEA describes them as an island. No one from the education department has visited them in the last 3 years so they basically do what they want (which is not a lot really!) and they are not implementing the new national curriculum. The PEA was not impressed and gave this poor headteacher the riot act. Can’t say I blame them in a way as the communication is a real problem – they are 85km away from the Teacher Development Centre with a really poor road and transport system (the only vehicle that goes in and out leave once a week) and there is no phone network anywhere! The only near form of communication is a radio mast quite near by! Anyway, the scenery in the park is really pretty, much like the north of Scotland, but there is really nothing there for miles and miles and miles! We spotted lots of antelope type deer things and a couple of zebra.

I am starting to re-pack things from when I moved house but I’m not sure how I will get it all home. My employer is meant to provide me transport back to the capital but I know that he doesn’t have a working vehicle so it looks like I will be getting mini-buses and big buses with several large rucksacks! It will be interesting to say the least!

Anyway, must dash as I am away to 2 schools to try and chase up the building of pit latrines…..