Sometimes things break which are not easy to replace or repair. Not easy, however, does not mean impossible, so our creativity is continuously being tested here. So far, we had the most trouble with our flip-flops. Rik had bought nice new flip-flops before we left. After 6 weeks they were already broken. I tried to take the sole apart and glue the band back, but shortly after it came loose on the other flip-flop as well. ‘Fortunately’ Joeri forgot to bring his when he returned to Belgium, so Rik could wear his instead.
In the meantime, the foam of my flip-flops ripped which caused the band between the toes to come off all the time. I tried to glue it back, however that did not do much and did not work for very long. At that time they were working a lot with strings (strips of old car tyres) on the land, which gave me the idea to repair them using those. And it worked! When the same thing happened to my other flip-flop, it was easily repaired in the same fashion.
Not long after Riks flip-flop broke again (or should I say, Joeri’s?). This time the plastic band broke between the toes, but also this we could repair with strings. Then the other slipper broke in the exact same place. Easy, we were becoming very skilled at this!
But then the band broke in a different location, which was not as easily repaired as we could not use strings here, so we had to think of another way. Rik tried to staple it in place, but this only hold for half a day. The only thing that’s holding up until this day is the nail he hammered through it.
I showed the way we repaired our flip-flops to Michael who nodded approvingly: ‘That’s repaired the African way.’
The beach is already quite busy. It’s not just Rik and me, there are also four young cats, three goats, a dog (+ the dog of one of the employees sometimes) and there are plans for a bunch of chicken. This time more about our dog: Shoprite.
Before the beach was habitable, Joeri went to Money Bay Beach lodge after almost every working day. At this lodge there were three dogs: Cindy, Dawg and Shoprite. Cindy and Shoprite were adopted from the SPCA and Dawg actually belongs to one of the neighbors, but prefers to hang around at the lodge. Shoprite got his name at the animal shelter due to the fact that he was found at the Shoprite. Shoprite is a supermarket, just like Walmart. So, while Shoprite is from an animal shelter, he and the owner of the lodge could not really get along. Joeri and Shoprite did get along quite well, and so the idea to adopt him was born.
Now, roughly three months later Shoprite lives on our beach. Getting him here was horrible, he really did not want to get into the car and when he was finally in it he hot very sick.. But now he’s here, he’s here to stay. If it’s up to us, he never has to go in the car again. And he never has to, as we have even found a vet who can come to us if need be.
He follows us everywhere (until he sees we walk up to the car, then he quickly turns around and returns to the house) and he is quite the coward. He gets jealous as soon as we pet another dog or the cats, and he is scared of everyone and everything. Sometimes he tries to act tough and scare away some small children by charging them, but if they don’t run away then, he stops a couple of meters in front of them and turns around shortly after.
The employees are astonished that he plays with the cats and that they snuggle up against him sometimes. According to them this is unnatural and should they fight as Tom and Jerry.
Yesterday we went to Four Seasons plant nursery in Lilongwe. They really have an enormous collection of plants and trees, but because we were only returning home the next day we couldn’t buy any. Then I decided to look at the collection of seeds inside the shop, however we already had the seeds of most of the vegetables. It was the only shop in Malawi where I had seen flower seeds so far, so I got some nasturtium seeds (a climber with edible leaves and flowers) twee types of protea (those flowers require some patience as it will take 4 to 5 years before it flowers for the first time) and oregano (as we are using a lot of our Italian herb mix). But I had actually hoped for fruit seeds, like strawberry or raspberry, unfortunately they did not have anything like this. A shame, because I have been looking for strawberries for a while now. They had to be somewhere, right?
Our next stop was at the hardware store and when we went back outside someone was selling strawberries! We have not even negotiated the price and bought a little box straight away.
Then in the next day we were doing some shopping together with Roy. When we were in the parking lot of old city mall we were addressed by several people, whether we wanted to change money, or whether we wanted to buy paintings, or fruits and vegetables. In an attempt to turn down the last salesman I said we already grew most vegetables ourselves, so I wasn’t interested unless they sold strawberry plants. Well, it turned out that was exactly what I should’ve said, because now a list appeared with all fruits and vegetables they were selling. If we would tell him which ones we liked, he would tell us whether he had the plant or tree for us. Eventually we decided that we were interested in the strawberry plants and some peach trees. While we were doing some groceries, he would go and fetch the plants and bring them to our car for us.
When we returned to the car he was indeed there with a box of strawberry plants and 4 young peach trees.
So that’s how shopping in Malawi can be. At first you cannot find for a long time what you are looking for and if you give up on the search it turns out that on a parking lot there is someone who has exactly what you want!