Woke up at 5:00am. First time in 5 nights I was able to sleep in a bed...granted there was no mattress and I had to use a sleeping mat from the camping supplies on the bus. I also took my first hot shower in 6 days. It was my 2 shower in 6 days, my last shower being 4 days ago.
I'm writing this at 8:45am after having been driving in the truck since 6:15am. We're stopped at a random passport check on a main road. The two Costa Rican women are having some difficulty because they never received a stamp for entry. They were going to get it at another location because I think the port of entry we were at yesterday was not equipped with the proper stamp?
It's going to be a warm one today. It's already blistering hot and I'm sweating like crazy and it's not even 9. I'm stuck behind the Aussie lawyers and ugh... I really like Paul, but Erika I could do without. She's so unpleasant. I accidentally left a few empty wrappers on my seat from yesterday. 3 minutes into our drive she throws them back--not handing then, but throwing--over her shoulders and into my face and says, "here, these are yours". I bit my tongue and just got some pleasure that she's a fat fuck and probably the ugliest thing I've seen so far in Africa. Whenever we take a water stops at the markets she gets 2 liters of 7-up. As the song made famous by Eric Cartman about Mrs. Broflosky goes, "Oh...she's a Big Fat Bitch". After talking with Sophie about traveling through Southeast Asia we are stopped by immigration officers for a routine check. While we are stopped and the heat continues to build I politely asked the couple in front of me--Paul and Fat Fuck (now to be known as FF)--"if [they] could please lower their window so I could get some air". FF's first response was "well, why don't you lower yours". I bit my tongue again and thought--I wanted to yell and do what I DO BEST--which is to use my intellect to belittle someone. But I think it's justified because what I said was factually accurate and I felt she obviously needed the education.
I told her the following: I told her that I can open it, but that is really didn't effect me and that I will ask the people behind me about that later. Because we are traveling at ~60km/hr and the outside air is essentially static the relative wind speed is -60kph. Given Bernoulli's theorem the wind outside will deflect inwards due to the lower relative pressure inside our vehicle. This deflection is not a stepwise function (it's actually a differential equation based on the velocity of the car---though I left this part out!) and therefore must take some distance to move inwards. Thus for me to get an ample breeze the window in front of me, YOUR WINDOW, and the window TWO in front of me should be open. While driving, my window will cool off the seats behind me.
I stopped here, but I could have gone on to say, "notice how the people sitting in front by the first 2 windows do not have their hair being blown around". Case in point. I find that expression sort of awkward because isn't it the Case (story) that provides the point (argument)? I think Point in Case makes more sense. Unless the actual expression is Case AND Point, in which case I'm just an idiot!
|Buying Some Samosas, Curbside en route to Kande Beach, Malawi|
We're back on the road and ~2.5hrs into our 6-7 hour drive to Kande Beach, Malawi. We stopped at a village along the way and I bought a bracelet and some type of samosa (w/ rice inside). We arrived at Kande beach around 1:15. Today was the first time we had access to internet in 6 days or so. It was slow and it was billed by the minute. But I was able to get my emails. We met at 3 for lunch and then left for the village tour.
The tour was nice--very eye opening. A local villager took us around to where the houses were, he actually took us into his own house. We saw their school where 1200 kids go and have to share one room every day. We also saw their 'hospital'. Their next closest hospital is 17km away, which it unattainable for many since there is only one car in the entire village. The hospital they have is mostly for treating pregnant mothers, HIV testing/drug administration, condom dispersal (though they typically run out very quickly) and for treating malaria. There is not enough money to provide bug nets for every bod--bug nets cost $12 apiece. We also learned that School fees are $150/yr and the government doesn't provide any support--the government also doesn't require schooling. One of the villagers walked with me during my tour and explained he was going to study mechanical engineering, in the capital city, Lilongwe. I have a feeling that their 4 years of engineering will not even give them the education on how how to fix automobiles. After further questioning I discovered that only 5 to 6 people a year (out of >100+) make it to a university.
|Children Pumping Water, Kande Beach, Malawi|
This guy's name was George, A.K.A. Black Magic, and was very polite and smart (relatively speaking). They did not get paid to walk and speak with us about their lives in the village, but the idea is that if we were to buy anything while here we do so at 'their' shops. I told him I will look at his shop and would like to buy a ____ (will not reveal until I return home). After the tour I also bought a couple of ___. I had asked, "how much" and they had told me $55 a piece + $10 for that other thing. They said that because I am getting all 3 they will sell it for $110 (priced at $120 if no discount was to be applied). After some negotiating and me walking away I ended up buying everything for $60. Ok, back to the tour.
|Cassava Plants (Recently Planted), Kande Beach, Malawi|
We learned about the cassava plant and how they used it for sustenance. They cooked the leaves and prepped the roots for either flour or chips (depending on if it was the sweet or sour plant variety). They then would stick the bare stems--face up--into soil and it would continue to grow. They had chicken coupes but only used the chickens for eggs. They did eat chicken but only on days like Christmas and
|Chicken Coupe, Kande Beach, Malawi|
birthdays. George's mother was Zambian and he used to live there, but when she died he came to Kande Beach, Malawi to live with his father and 6 siblings. His father died when he was a young teenager and he continued living here with his grandparents. He is now 18 and is trying to save up for university...which costs about $750/yr.
I gave some biscuits to the children in the village--they were fighting to get more...very cute, but quite sad. On the way back to our lakeside rooms I asked George about the differences between the hatch and aluminum rooftops. He said that the aluminum was expensive, while the hatch was 'free' After trying to ask the question 5 different ways I finally learned that to roof an entire house with aluminum costs between $75-$150. It's eye opening that such a small investment (by our standards) is too large for many of the people here. Consequently, many live with inferior roofs that leak and require more maintenance.
|Handing Out Toy Airplanes at the Local School, Kande Beach, Malawi|
There are only 2 houses in the village that have TVs. No one has internet or phones. Most of the children have ringworm infections on their scalps/bodies which remain untreated. The children play barefoot and wear clothing that would be considered 'too worn' for donation purposes in the states. I wish everyone in America could have experienced this type of imagery. In their free time the children try to learn and play soccer, or work around the house or village cleaning/cooking. In our free time we learn about what else we can buy. It makes me sick the way most of us live in America--we have so much, yet we're still so worried about what clothing is 'more fashionable', what furniture matches better, and what car brand is more luxurious. Consumerism just breeds discontent and furthers the fragmentation of society. Add to that people's obsession with social networking and you have a morally-bankrupt society that still considers itself "the greatest nation in the world"...get over yourself America! If you are so great why do your people work harder and longer than ANY other country in the world, contain among the least cultured/educated people within the educated world, and depend on government imposed tariffs just so our workers can continue to produce inefficient goods. Add to that the notion that our student loans costs 2 times that of what it costs to buy a house and that our schools are up to 5-10 times more expensive than most any other schools in the world.......Yeah, what was it that makes America #1?
Anyways, I had dinner at 7, had a few beers with some people from my tour and went to bed around 9:30. I wanted to watch a movie in bed since I brought along 25 videos and have yet to watch any--however, it was still too hot and I was dripping with sweat while laying over my sheets in just my underwear. I thought the only thing that would stop the discomfort would be to go to sleep, I was right...however I woke up 4 or 5 times throughout the night with nightmares.