Archive for March, 2009

Obama on my lap

March 30, 2009

A chitenge is a piece of brightly colored fabric, approximately 2 meters in length, utilized by Malawian women in a variety of ways.  Chitenges are regularly worn over skirts (like a more constant version of an apron), to strap a baby to one’s back, or to pad one’s head from a load of firewood, bag of maize, or whatever is being carried.  A chitenge can also be a shawl, a carrier, a makeshift umbrella, or just about anything else.  The chitenge is a ubiquitous accessory here, so these fabrics are both inexpensive and widely available.  Specialty chitenges are a popular way to display one’s support for political candidates, or indicate membership in a church.  It’s like the American penchant for t-shirts of the same function; instead of having the president on your shirt, he’s on your chitenge.

A friend has decided that she’d like to make a quilt of Malawian chitenges, so we had a little market adventure on Saturday.  Saturday is a huge market day in Lilongwe, and traffic into Old Town was pretty bad.  Despite the fact that most Malawians do not have cars, poorly timed lights and one-lane roads make for slow going when everyone is out and about.  We eventually parked and wandered around Old Town, visiting several shops and then the market.

Because so many of the patterns are large and loud, we didn’t have great success in finding quilt-worthy chitenges.  My friend got a few fabrics, and I got a yellow and green chitenge for general use.  Since the going rate is 400 kwacha ($2.85) for 2 meters, it’s not a great loss if I don’t use it.

The highlight of the shopping adventure, however, came in a small second-story shop in Old Town.  While most of the chitenges the store carried ranged from ugly to downright weird, it had a decent stock of specialty chitenges.  (The election here is coming up in May, so political advertising has started – chitenges are available for each of the political parties.)  And, it was here, on a hot Saturday afternoon in Lilongwe, that I became a proud owner of  the Malawi-made Barack Obama chitenge.

Barack Obama chitenge (detail)

Barack Obama chitenge (detail)

The fabric is actually of decent quality, and as you can see the chitenge features a (white) Barack Obama, the capitol, eagles on both hips, and stars and stripes forever.   Sure, it’s not printed straight, and it’s a little long for everyday use (see below), but I thought it was a hilarious and delightful souvenir to carry back to the US.  I’ve yet to see any Malawians wearing an Obama chitenge, but I assume they must exist.  This shop was a little too out of the way to cater solely to tourists!  I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for Obama on someone else’s lap!

Pardon the awkward pose

Pardon the awkward pose


The Weather (I know – bo-ring)

March 28, 2009

It could be because I’m from Iowa.  (Don’t like the weather?  Wait a minute; it’ll change.)  It could be because I’m from a long line of farmers.  (My parents each have their own rain gauge, and they compare measurements with one another, neighbors, and my grandma, whose house can be seen from mine.)  Whatever the reason, I rarely receive an email from a family member that doesn’t include at least a sentence or two about the weather.  So, with apologies to my coastal friends who could not care less, here is the Malawi weather report.

For most of the time I’ve been here, it has been hot.  In September and October, it was hot and dry.  In November, it was hotter and drier.  In December, the rains started, so it was hot and humid.  January – March continued in much the same tropical manner, warm days punctuated by sudden and torrential downpours.  Since it has turned spring in the Northern hemisphere, though, it has slowly but surely started to become fall here in Malawi.  The nights are cool; I’ve started using a blanket on my bed.  I often wear a fleece jacket for a few hours in the morning.  I’m having a friend bring me some warmer clothes when he comes to visit in a few weeks.

This change o’ season is causing a little cognitive dissonance for me.  Christmas was hot and now Easter is going to be cold?  When I arrived (winter here), the weather here was pretty similar to what I had left behind in the States, so I wasn’t really expecting this chillier weather.  Of course, it is a testament to my new-found tropical wimpiness that I am calling lows in the 50s and highs in the 70s “cold.”  We won’t have snow here, but apparently there is a chance of frost during some parts of the cold season.

The days are getting noticeably shorter, too;  the sun is gone by 6 PM.  We never had really long days here – the latest it got dark was 6:45 or so – so I’m hoping this means we won’t have really short ones, either.  Interestingly, we have the same nice fall light here as in the States.  The sun is a little more mellow and everything turns a nice shade of gold around 4 PM.  I’ll try to take some photos to post later today!

A Digression: the Obama Garden and US Food Politics

March 26, 2009

It took me a while to put this post together; I started it on Sunday and discussed it with my mom on the phone. Then it languished on my desktop for a few days, as I tried to better articulate my views. It’s not that I dislike the Obama Garden, it’s just that…it’s a garden. Take this post as an indication that I am becoming increasingly moderate (and perhaps, increasingly crotchety) in my old age.  And feel free to argue that the Obama garden does offer something more than a photo-worthy news opportunity.

The US foodie/sustainable agriculture world has been abuzz this week with news of Michelle Obama’s vegetable garden. If you’ve been under a rock (and/or are not on the COMFOOD list serv), the White House announced last Thursday that an organic garden will be created on the South Lawn. This is being proclaimed as a major triumph within the sustainable ag world, a culmination of several disparate efforts to get a White House Garden within the first 100 days of the Obama presidency. In announcing the garden groundbreaking, Mrs. Obama emphasized educating children about healthy eating through fresh and locally grown vegetables. There’s also a subtext of what it means for the PRESIDENT to be supporting local and organic agriculture over oil-laden industrial foods shipped across the country and around the world.

I am of two minds on this subject. On the one hand, it’s a nice gesture. On the other, it’s, well, a gesture. If Obama, Congress, and the nation are committed to agricultural and nutritional reform, it is not a matter of a garden, or a thousand gardens: it is an issue of policy reform.

The most hopeful among the food revolutionaries suggest that this garden is a signal of lasting change, of a real commitment on behalf of the Obama administration to change food policy and consumption habits. I fully support the idea of the garden, of having at least a few more people know where their food comes from, and having some symbolic support for local food on the White House lawn. I do not, however, see it as a great harbinger of change.

This garden does nothing to combat the “elitist” image that the foodie movement tends to cultivate. Instead of sending a message about better, healthier food for EVERYONE, this is a garden for the President. And, contrary to Alice Waters’ recent comments, gardening is neither free nor possible for everyone. If Michelle Obama can maintain a garden only with the help of myriad staff members and a passel of fifth graders from a nearby school, what message does this send to the single mother who works two jobs? While I was lucky to grow up with a huge gardenful of fresh food, taking care of a garden large enough to provide a significant portion of one’s diet is at LEAST a part time job, requiring capital and land resources to which the majority of Americans do not have access. If anything, a White House garden – on a corner of a vast lawn, cared for by full-time gardeners – merely reinforces the United States’ dual agricultural economy: fresh fruits and vegetables from small farms for those who can afford it, processed commodities for the rest.

In short, this is not policy change – it’s a garden. I’m reasonably certain that the best way to promote healthy eating habits and dietary change in the US is not through a plot by Sasha and Malia’s swingset. While I enjoy the sustainable agriculture and foodie movements, market demand, growing though it may be, is not enough transform the landscape or the American plate. Fortunately, the Washington Post recently carried an article about Iowan Dave Murphy, who sums up my views with greater precision than I can muster: “If you want to change the ballgame, you have to address the policies that are responsible for the system we have in place,” Murphy said. “If you change policy, the market will change.”

How to play the piano in Malawi (in just 15 easy steps)!

March 21, 2009

A tutorial

Step 1: Determine that you wish to play the piano in Malawi.

Step 2: Attempt to find a piano in Malawi, fail.

Step 3: Order a German piano from China, via South Africa.

Step 4: Wait.  (Three months elapse.)

Step 5: Learn that piano has reached South Africa.  Continue to wait, just three more weeks!

Step 6: Learn that the transporter has left South Africa.  Wait one week.

Step 7: Confirm with transporter that he will arrive at 9 AM, piano in tow.  Wait.

Step 8: Around 4 PM, welcome transporter and piano to Lilongwe.

Step 9: Observe that transport truck is 5 feet off the ground, has no ramp.  Eye piano box suspiciously.

Step 10: Round up +/- 10 Malawian men to help with the lifting.  Do not be concerned about lack of helping hands:  there are always many people wandering the streets.

Step 11: Reassess situation.  Begin to scoot piano out of truck, a few inches at a time.

Step 12: Lift piano to ground, while everyone shouts a chorus of “pangono, pangono!” (which means slowly, or little by little, in Chichewa).

Step 13: Carry piano into the house, a few inches at a time.

Step 14: Uncrate piano.  Pay all who helped lift 500 kwacha.

Step 15: Sit down and play the piano!

For further information, see illustrations below.

Piano 1

Step 9

Piano 2

Step 11

Piano 3

Step 12

Piano 4

Step 13

Step 15

Missing: information

March 20, 2009

When I moved to Malawi, I had a pretty good idea of the first-world things I loved and would miss:  hot water, fast internet, infrastructure, Thai food, Netflix.  But I didn’t realize how much I loved information, or how much I took for granted the every day availability of a million different types of instructions, news, reports, descriptions, and directions.  I’ve adjusted with relative ease to many things in Malawi, but I still struggle with this one.

I’ve mentioned before how asking for detailed instructions got me out a seatbelt ticket and how signage makes me feel safer.   In short, according to the Myers Briggs test, I’m a J, and I need information to be able to judge.

Yesterday, I was approached by a man asking for money.  This is nothing new.  What was surprising, however, was that he had quite a well-developed story about how he had been robbed the day before and was trying to get from the hospital to the police station, complete with hand-written instructions that started with “to” and “from” – a gift tag of sorts.  I didn’t give him any money; if I had had 100 kwacha in my pocket, I might have.  But I had just left the ATM, and getting out my wallet (which was inside my purse, inside my bag) on the street seemed ill-advised.

I have no idea if the story was legitimate; it seemed plausible at the time but is increasingly suspect in retrospect.  I have never seen a Malawian with written instructions, and perhaps more tellingly, I have never been able to get written instructions for any task here, though it is not for lack of trying.  If this was a scam, though, it was a clever one:  the more details, the more information I have, the more likely I am to consider the situation.

Later in the day, I visited well known, well funded international development program.  I had a few questions about their project, including what percentages of the beneficiaries are male and female.  Gender is a huge topic in development, so this didn’t seem an unusual statistic to me.  Still, it took the monitoring and evaluation officer about 20 minutes to come up with the figure, during which time he dug through computer files and booklets on his desk.  Hey, it’s only an $82 million project – no need to have basic statistics readily available.

In my research and in my daily life here, I regularly run into deadends, or people that, in the US, would have information, but in Malawi, do not.  If you need a copy of a law in Malawi, do not go to Parliament – they don’t have them.  If you need driving directions in Malawi, do not count on street signs – they don’t exist.  If you need to perform bureaucratic procedures, perhaps updating your residency permit, find a Malawian who knows how to do it – there are no written instructions.  If they do exist, theoretically, no one has a copy.

Malawi has traditionally had a rich oral tradition, rather than a written one, so perhaps that explains the lack of cultural expectation regarding data, statistics, and written instructions.  But as map addict who loves having information at my fingertips – or at least in a disclosed location – this adjustment has been one of the hardest.

The best part of Malawi

March 13, 2009

is this:

Mm, guacamole

Mm, guacamole

This shouldn’t be taken as a dig against Malawi; it has many other fine points as well.*  But having an avocado tree in the backyard and making fresh guacamole – in February and March – ranks highly on my scale of awesome things to do.  Of course, one of the corresponding worst parts of Malawi is that, despite a preponderance of maize, there are no tortilla chips here.  Trust me on this one; every American expat has searched high and low, but there are none to be had.

But then, what are those tortilla chip-shaped objects in the photo? Desperation is the mother of invention (because I wouldn’t say chips are a necessity).  There’s a local business that produces frozen Indian pastry items, including samosa, egg rolls, and the key to these “chips” – chapatis.  Chapatis are basically the Indian tortilla, and though they’re made of wheat, they can be easily cut into “chip” shape and put under the broiler until crispy.  It turns out to be more like crackers and guac than chips and guac, but it’s the best I can do.  And what is a chip but a vehicle for transporting the guacamole between bowl and mouth, anyway?

Avocado harvest

Avocado harvest; we knocked the fruit out of the tree before it was ripe and let it ripen in the house, lest it be eaten by birds, monkeys, or other critters.

My housemate became the proud owner of a braai (grill, for all you Americans) sometime in early February, and we have since enjoyed several nights of eating outside.  The braai has proved particularly useful because we’ve been having lots of power cuts lately, which occur at random, unannounced times, but occur most frequently from about 6:15 – 8:15 PM.  Ironically, ESCOM’s slogan is:  “Power all day, everyday.”  Apparently there are no truth-in-advertising laws here.

With the advent of the braai came the advent of bean burgers.  When we hosted a BBQ about a month ago, I whipped up a recipe, because nothing is more disappointing for a vegetarian than an all-meat BBQ.  My Italian housemate was delighted with my bean burger invention, and has since instituted a weekly bean burger night.  Needless to say, my other, meat-eating housemate is not so impressed, but usually throws some animal on the grill once the coals are hot.

Mastering the grilling technique

Mastering the fire-starting technique

There’s no great realization or truth at the end of this post, I really just wanted to brag about having fresh guacamole and eating outside in March.  I promise the next post will be more substantive.  And if you were one of those people who said, “ew, bean burgers,” (Dad), maybe you should check out this article about the consequences of your pork chop:  Our Pigs, Our Food, Our Health.  The study conducted in Iowa (referenced in the article, and found here) was small, but alarming.

*Digression:  it’s sort of like how the best part of my wilderness job in Colorado was brushing my teeth every morning.  I liked the job and I loved Colorado, but really, there’s nothing like a little Colgate in the pre-dawn mountain air and firing up the chainsaw with minty fresh breath.  No, but I’m serious.


March 11, 2009

For all of you following along at home, here’s the update on my post-Malawi plans: I’ve accepted a short-term contract research position and will be leaving Malawi on July 7, arriving in Des Moines before noon on July 8.  The job is geographically flexible, but I’m planning to stay in Iowa for a few months and then reevaluate.  I would like to return to DC, but the feasibility of doing so is dependent on the job and rental market.  No one wants to spend August in DC anyway – trust me.

I’m a worrier (it runs in the family), so I’m happy to have a definite plan.  The end is in sight, but far enough away that I will be able to enjoy the remainder of my time here without having to spend it job hunting half a world away.  Family members, remember:  Christmas in July; Minnesotan friends:  I’m hoping to make it up to see you sometime in late summer.  Mark your calendars!

Dude, it’s a bonus post!

March 10, 2009

Now six months old, the Dude has perfected several skills, including, but not limited to:  jumping on people with his muddy paws, climbing on the outdoor furniture cushions with his muddy paws, and climbing ON TOP of the outdoor table with his muddy paws.  He is still working on the arts of stealing food off the braai (grill) and begging for food when anyone is eating on the patio.

On the plus side, he (sometimes) comes when called and sits when commanded.  He has also (sort of) learned that he is not allowed in the house, though, of course, he is not above sneaking inside if the door is open and no one is watching.   When someone is watching, however, he assumes the posture below, conjuring the most mournful face he can manage.   Yes, that is the doorjamb between the patio and the living room.

Two feet on the floor at all times.

We have a "door open, two feet on the floor" policy at all times.

Marawian Engrish

March 9, 2009

To my faithful readers, I do apologize for radio silence for the past week.  I’ve been spending much of my time transcribing interviews, and after sitting at the computer and typing all day, I haven’t been motivated to sit at the computer and type a blog post.  But because I’ve spent so much time listening to Malawians speak lately, I thought it was time for a post on English in Malawi.

I will start by acknowledging that I have it pretty good here, language-wise.  Most formal education in Malawi is in English, so the fact that I have only very basic Chichewa skills is not usually a problem.  Nearly everyone knows a few words of English, and the professionals I encounter in my research are all fluent.  Still, a command of the English language doesn’t always mean Malawians are easy to understand to Americans like me!  There are a number of pronunciation quirks that can befuddle the muzungu listener.

One of the most common and most confusing habits of Malawian English speakers is turning Rs into Ls.  My friend Verity is, to Malawians, Velity, birds are bildz, and robber is lob-ah.  People mispronounce their own names, too; Grace is Glace.  I am Amelican and speak Engrish, but I live in Rirongwe.  (Actually, the L to R switch seems to be less common, but still occurs.)  Additionally, many Malawians add unnecessary -ee sounds to the end of words, particularly words that already end in E.  Excuse (as in “excuse me) is excuseee me.  Shoes are shoeies.  You can extrapolate from here.

I often find (especially when transcribing) that while Malawian English is generally very proper, the accent is often on a different syllable than one would hear in the United States.  Words that end in -tion are particularly prone to type of pronunciation, and I often have to rewind and relisten for words like association, diversification, station, etc.  Generally, the emphasis falls on the syllable with the long A sound.

I’m interested in how the English alphabet is taught here, actually.  No one spells my name correctly; so far, I’ve seen it written Emmi (the most common), Any (a few different occasions), and, my personal favorite, Army (from a secretary at the college).  Even when I say my name, it is sometimes difficult for Malawians to understand.  I get called Emily a lot.

The penchant for phonetic writing is no where more clear than in the grocery store.  Two popular (and cheap) brands of shortbread cookies are EET-SUM-MOR and HAV-SUM-MOR.  My housemates both enjoy EET-SUM-MORs, and occasionally mix up their boxes of cookies, leading to endless jokes about who ate some more.  (Hey, entertainment in Lilongwe is pretty lackluster.)

Apparently, they are also best & original

Apparently, they are also original AND best

Aside from pronunciation issues, Malawian English has its own phrases that may confuse the uninitiated.  As I may have mentioned in the past, to call someone and hang up before they answer is to flash someone.  This leads to conversations that in the US would be wholly inappropriate – “give me your number, and I’ll flash you later!”  Now is a word that, in Malawi, could mean at this moment or at any time in the indeterminate future – if at all.  Usually people will use the phrase “just now” for something happening soon, and “now-now” if the meaning is “immediately, at present.”  Another fun phrase is the what-what.  The what-what is a synonym for “stuff like that” or etc.  Depending on the speaker, a string of more than two whats may be used.  An example from today’s interview transcription:  “But the farmers will say, no, I don’t want to go out of [the organization], there are so many trainings, what what what.”

Other linguistic quirks are, I think, a product of colonization:  you don’t give someone a ride, you give them a lift; you don’t pick someone up, you fetch them.  Instead of asking “where do you live / stay?” the question is, “where do you put up?”  Cookies are called biscuits, and fried potatoes (not quite french fries) are chips.  And of course, one of my personal favorites:  if Malawians do not have nsima at a meal, they will say they have not eaten – no matter what else may have been consumed.  This last one is more than a turn of phrase, it’s illustrative of far greater cultural norms about eating and food.  One of the biggest barriers to crop diversification – and, in my opinion, one of the most difficult to address – is lack of dietary diversity (and lack of interest in dietary diversity)  here.   I’ll leave that subject for a future post!

Ntchisi Forest Lodge

March 2, 2009

The last few blog posts have been negative, so for this post, I thought a change of tone was in order. One of the things I really like about Malawi is the variable and interesting landscape. I experienced a new part of Malawi’s landscape with a weekend trip to Ntchisi Forest and the Ntchisi Forest Lodge. (Fair warning: getting to Ntchisi Forest is quite an adventure and involves some pretty treacherous roads. Once there, however, it is awesome.)

Since one of my housemates is leaving soon, we wanted to go away for the weekend. Another friend, also leaving in the next few weeks, joined the three of us for our foray into the unknown. We piled into the truck and left Lilongwe around 10:30 AM on Saturday morning; after reaching Mponela an hour later, we decided to take the “scenic route,” which led us by dirt roads through rural Malawi.

Though the directions were a bit dodgy, the roads were actually pretty decent – at least for a time. Bouncing along in the back seat reminded me of Sunday drives “to see the crops” with the parents, so I shot some photos so I could provide you with the Malawi Crop Production Report for 28 Feb, 2009. Obviously, this is less scientific than what is produced, by say, the USDA. (I haven’t seen crop production reports produced by the Ministry of Agriculture here, so cannot compare.)

Tasseling corn

Tasseling corn

The corn is tasseling and setting on ears. There are pretty obvious differences between fields that are fertilized and fields that aren’t, mainly plant height and color. I’d guess some of the difference can also be attributed to local versus hybrid varieties, but have no facts. This Iowa farm girl was surprised at how short some of the tasseling plants were, but I’d say about 85 percent of what we saw is tasseling.

Not-tasseling corn

Not-tasseling corn

Tobacco harvest has started, and we saw lots of tobacco being air dried under grass huts and the (grass) eves of houses. Tobacco is the main cash crop for most farmers here (if they have a cash crop), but it’s often intercropped with other things. I saw several fields of corn and tobacco together, which I wouldn’t think would be a great combination, since they both require so much nitrogen. I plan to further investigate this phenomenon.

Groundnuts (foreground) and tobacco (background)

Groundnuts (foreground) and tobacco (background)

In lesser quantities than corn and tobacco, we saw groundnuts, soybeans, and chiles. I was impressed with how clean some of the fields were; undulating fields of soybeans here are not a product of Round-up Ready varieties and copious amounts of pesticides, but rather a lot of manual labor!

As we neared Ntchisi, the land got a lot hillier, but that doesn’t stop farmers. They merely farm the slopes. You can also see that despite the amount of deforestation that has occurred in Malawi to clear land for farming, some trees remain. (Many are mango trees.) Since the vast majority of farming is non-mechanized here, trees aren’t as much as an inconvenience as they are for Western farmers. (And I imagine the laborers actually enjoy having a little shade in the middle of the day!)

Fields on hills, nearing Ntchisi forest

Fields on hills, nearing Ntchisi Forest

I should also note that as we neared Ntchisi Forest, the roads got increasingly worse. It had rained earlier in the day, turning the dirt roads into slippery, muddy messes. Due to 4-wheel drive and the competent driving of my housemate, however, we managed to get through it without incident. The rain was definitely the enemy, as the roads were much better (though still heavily rutted) the next day on the way back to Lilongwe.

We arrived at the lodge around 1:30 PM; the 2 hour travel estimate had been a bit optimistic. After a quick look around, we set up our tent, which we had borrowed from friends. There were no instructions.

How many muzungu does it take to set up a tent?

How many muzungus does it take to pitch a tent?

By the time we had successfully constructed our humble abode and put together a little lunch, it was mid-afternoon. We killed some time reading on the lodge’s veranda, which faces east; the view extends to Lake Malawi and the mountains of Mozambique on the opposite shore.

View from the veranda

View from the veranda

Around 5 PM, we set out for sunset rock, a short walk from the lodge, to (duh) watch the sunset. Perched above the valley, those with fancy cameras took lots of photos, and the others (include me) watched the “sunset.” The combination of clouds and mist did not make for a very colorful sunset, but the view was great.

Enjoying the view

Enjoying the view

Among the tree tops

Among the tree tops

We capped the evening off with a fantastic meal and a fireside chat with some of the other guests staying for the weekend. I had heard that this was the best food in Malawi, and though I was prepared to be disappointed, I wasn’t! It was definitely the best food I’ve HAD in Malawi, anyway.

The next morning began early, with an attempt at watching the sunrise. We were again largely thwarted by clouds. After a few more hours of sleep, breakfast, and tent deconstruction, we headed off for the main attraction, a hike through Ntchisi Forest. It is a protect forest reserve, and contains some of the last indigenous rain forest in Malawi. (Driving toward the forest, it is easy to identify: the forest is dark green, while the surrounding hills have all been cleared for farmland.)

Sliver of sunrise, over the lake

Sliver of sunrise, over the lake

The first half-hour of the hike is straight uphill and exposed to the sun, and we were all sweaty and gross within 15 minutes. Once in the forest, though, the path is significantly flatter and cooler. I had an odd sense of de ja vu, and I finally figured out it was from the rain forest in the Henry Doorley Zoo. In Ntchisi forest, however, the vines are real and the trees aren’t made of concrete. The flora and fauna were amazing, and since pictures are worth a thousand words, here you go:

An interesting, succulent flower, seen before we got into the rain forest

An interesting, succulent flower, seen before we got into the rain forest

Trekking through the rainforest

Trekking through the rainforest

These snails were hanging (by a slime thread) from trees, moving toward the forest floor.  We all spent untold amounts of time trying to get decent photos.

These snails were hanging (by a slime thread) from trees, moving toward the forest floor. We all spent untold amounts of time trying to get decent photos.

One of many huge trees, reminiscent of the fake ones at the Henry Doorly Zoo

One of many huge trees, reminiscent of the fake ones at the Henry Doorly Zoo

Another tree, with me for scale

Another tree, with me for scale

We later had mushroom tart for lunch

We later had mushroom tart for lunch

Playing Tarzan

Playing Tarzan

These strands looked like pop beads to me

These strands looked like pop beads to me

A goldfish plant - in the wild!

A goldfish plant - in the wild!

Ruts on the way back to Lilongwe - going up when the road is dry is much easier than down when the road is wet!

Ruts on the way back to Lilongwe - going up when the road is dry is much easier than down when the road is wet!