Azungu on the beach

A couple of days ago Rik and I were busy cleaning the house after we have been away for a couple of weeks when Rik suddenly said: Azungu, I see azungu walking!’. I didn’t understand what he was talking about all of a sudden. ‘Huh, azungu? Where?’ ‘Yeah well, just here, on the beach.’

I followed his gaze and spotted some western looking guys. They were carrying big backpacks, wore hiking shoes and both had stick in hand – obviously they were hikers. But where did they come from, and where were they going?

Tanguy and Hugues turned out to be two French guys who wanted to walk from Cape Maclear to Senga Bay. Because they weren’t sure about wildcamping in the national park they decided to start a little further south, but even then a trip of about 110 kms to Senga Bay remained. When they arrived at this beach, they had only walked about one kilometer from their previous camping spot, however they thought the beach looked so nice, they asked if they could stay anyway.

When we showed them the garden, they saw a papaya. After we’ve told them what it was, they revealed that neither of them had ever tried one. Given that we have quite some papaya trees around here – and that they bear fruit all year long – it surely must be possible to give them a taste of one. James thought he had seen some ripe papaya in the highest tree we have on the land. When we spotted them, James took off to get some bamboo stick and started to tie them together to poke the papaya out of the tree, as we’ve done before.

Tanguy thought this was taking too much time, and studied the tree: ‘I think I can climb up this tree.’ There wasn’t much time to stop him, because in no-time he was already halfway up the tree!

He picked two papaya and threw them down, where James was ready to catch them. I was happy James took that role, because if I had to catch them there was a decent chance that I might have dropped them..

Back at the house I cut the papaya open for a simple papaya-banana-mango smoothie. Of course they had to taste a piece before it was to be blended with the rest of the fruit, otherwise they would still not know what papaya tastes like. I have to say that I personally don’t like every papaya, however the ones that are growing here are nice and sweet and the taste reminds me of melon. I think they liked our papaya too, however they got REALLY enthusiastic when they tasted the smoothie.

‘What did you put in it? Just fruit?’ I explained it was only three ingredients: fresh papaya, banana from the freezer (because usually we sudden have a huge bunch which we can’t finish all fresh, and this makes the smoothie nice and cold) and store-bought mango juice (mango season only starts in two months). Their judgement: it was the best smoothie they had here in Africa, and according to their own statements, they already had more than a few here.

The rest of the day Rik and I were, unfortunately, busy with our appointment with the vet, but Hugues and Tanguy said they have enjoyed themselves nonetheless. They have put up the volleybalnet for us (which the pied kingfishers also loved) and took the dug-out canoo for a ‘test drive’. At night we grilled some chambo and had a beer together.

I really enjoyed having visitors of our own age, and their hike along the coast has given me some new ideas and inspiration for our own trip around here.

Tanguy and Hugues, thanks a lot for your company, and perhaps we’ll meet again sometime!

Overdue work (with a view)

A couple of days ago we returned to Malawi. It has been a while since I’ve last posted an update because we were having visitors a couple of weeks back. After they have left Rik and I went on a short (but sweet) holiday to Zambia, after we we went straight to the Netherlands so I could be with my family when we said our last goodbyes together to my grandfather. It was very nice to be with my family for this moment, and being in the Netherlands also allowed for us to meet up with some friends after 6 months.

Now we’re back in Malawi and we immediately had work overdue! Because we had visitors shortly because we left, there was a huge pile of bedsheets and towels waiting to be washed. Luckily our water ladies were here to help us out (for a fee) with this chore. I didn’t really look forward to washing all this by hand in the lake…

In the meantime, the floors of all the houses have been sweeped, mopped and polished. The dishes are done and the toilets have been cleaned – even though they haven’t been used for a couple of weeks, there were some animals which made their home inside the bowl! Like this toad:

When we returned we immediately noticed that the cats were covered in parasites. We couldn’t find anything to treat them ourselves, so we called ‘Ask’ the veterinarian. When he came it took half a day of our time as he doesn’t have his own transportation, so we had to pick him up from the gas station close to Monkey Bay (as he could reach that place with public services). Driving there and back already takes a little less than an hour, and we had to drive that way twice. When he was here however, I took the chance to ask him to check out Bear Gryll’s wound from the sterilisation. Ask agreed with me that the wound didn’t look completely right, so Bear got a prescription for an anti-inflammatory. This was administered by injection and this injection had to be repeated for the next 4 days, so Ask asked me if I could do it..

Well, I am absolutely terrified of needles, so I replied immediately that I couldn’t do it. In reply he asked whether Rik could do it then. Since driving the vet up and down here for an injection for a couple of days in a row wasn’t really an option, Rik asked how he should do it. Today we had to do it ourselves and I think we were both pretty nervous for it!

But of course Rik is some kind of superhero, so eventually he stuck the needle into the designated muscle in the thigh, he checked whether he wasn’t inside an artery and injected the anti-inflammatory. Bear barely showed any discomfort; a relief, because tomorrow we’ll have to do it again!