Away from the city

On the picture displayed below, you can already see a little bit how we live here: far away from the city. I was actually born and raised in a rural area, so it should not be very new to me, but it actually is. I have never lived really far away from the city, as I could still be in Rotterdam within in an hour or so. And even if that felt too far away there were always opportunities to buy stuff closer to home. Compared to my current situation here, doing groceries in the Netherlands was a piece of cake.

Panorama I made a while ago of the houses and the view during sunrise.

In Nankhwali (the nearest village) or Monkey Bay (a relatively touristic village a bit further away) there are quite some things we can buy. In Monkey Bay there are even supermarkets – although they are not completely like what I expected from a supermarket – and countless other little shops and market stalls.
Supermarkets around here have a convenient selection of various items, but for fresh products like potato, onion, tomato and eggs we really have to go to the market. Very often we have to go to many different places, as one person only sells potato, another only onion and a third only tomato, through which buying 3 or 4 items almost always means making 3 to 4 stops. In the beginning this was even worse as we did not know yet where we could buy certain things, and as a result we had to make many stops to ask around before we actually found a particular seller. And some things, like catfood, are simply nowhere to be found nearby…

Fortunately, there are also supermarkets to be found which are structured just like the ones I am used to in the Netherlands (and many other countries I’ve visited). They have a fresh produce department with fruits and vegetables, meat and fish and many other isles with whatever you expect to buy in a supermarket (they even sell some things we do not usually find in Dutch supermarkets: we actually bought our oven at the supermarket). The most annoying thing about those supermarkets is that they are not exactly to be found ‘just around the corner’. The nearest of such supermarkets (to our knowledge) is in the capital, Lilongwe, which is a 3,5 hour drive away from here. So I write down everything we cannot find in the villages here on a list, and then we go for some big shoppings every once in a while in the city. And even then we try to combine our grocery trips with as many other appointments as we can think of, because driving for at least 7 hours just to do groceries is not our favourite thing in the world.

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