It began at 1:30 am with a phone call from my ambulance driver saying that if I wanted a ride into the boma (trading center) then I would have to leave then. So at 2am I piled into the ambulance with three emergency patients (two young children with cerebral malaria and one woman having delivery complications). We arrived at 4am to the Mzuzu Central Hospital [I found later that day that one of the boys died later that morning and lost his brother the day before to the same disease, a very sobering morning] and slept until 6am in the ambulance. After usual errand running I picked a fellow PCV, Enrique, and we returned to Usisya that evening with a ride from Temwa. The next day was spent laying around the uninhabited lodge and making creative dishes with the new spices from home (thanks mom).
Saturday morning we headed out for Ruarwe at 5am and hiked along the lakeshore for 6 ½ hours. We arrived at Zunilakhulu Lodge in time for huge glasses of cold water and to sleep the day away from absolute exhaustion. The stage was then set for a weekend of relaxation, swimming, waterfall exploration, and delicious western style food. If anyone comes to visit me, this is a definite destination as everyone says how it is the most beautiful spot on the lake.
Monday we picked the ilala (ferry) to Nkhata Bay and took in the lakeshore view for a 7 hour journey. At our next destination we visited various lodges taking in the odd site of mzungu (white people) who are rarely ever seen out of such locations. After some food and being too weirded out by the massive European setting we headed back to the backpackers [Big Blue Star] and spent the evening watching rugby from South Africa (amazing but made me miss the rugby girls back at Elon).
Tuesday we caught ambulance transport from the local hospital to Mzuzu. Then after wondering around looking for supplies for Halloween and some internet time, we hung out at the old house talking with a PCV, Terance, who was in the area helping to clear out the house. It was sad to see the place all completely torn apart and all the character it once had taken away. RIP Mzuzu House.
Wednesday was the epic battle up North via buses to Karonga by tarmac, and to Chitipa via unfinished dirt roads (which are being paved now by Chinese who can only say "I build the road" making work with the locals on the project a bit of a challenge). We arrived to a warm welcome at Matt's house and were happy for an evening of relaxation before people began arriving the next day.
Thursday is when the masses began to move into Kaphoka village. The area has probably never seen so many Americans in its history (40 in total), and we gave quite the show. For three days we had festivities including a blue grass festival, a pig roast [cooked Hawaiian style], and playing like we were all back in college again. The last night was our actual Halloween party at Handyman's Paradise, a bar in the Chitipa boma. After a day of volleyball against the local police and watching tattoos being put on fellow PCVs we danced until the AM and then crashed at a local VSO's house [British volunteer].
The adventure turned into a bit of purgatory the next day as we had to travel from 5am- 1am the following day by buses all the way south to Lilongwe. With one member sick with dehydration, and another a torn shoulder (my fault for thinking I can tackle anyone anytime without consequences) it was quite the odyssey. We made it back south and I arrived at training before the first session so all is well. It was amazing having a bit of a tour of Malawi and getting to play with the amazing PCVs in country. Now for two weeks of training, a trip south, and Thanksgiving.