Internet in Africa is everywhere… if you can find it!
When you do, it takes forever to download a few photos and by that time the place is closing…let alone write a blog!
So, here is a recap of the last few weeks through Tanzania, Malawi and Mozambique.
From Sombepa in Dar Es Salaam to Johannesburg there are a few orphanages and adventures to share…
Some funny, some sad, all enriching.
Dar – Iringa, uneventful except for wild animals hanging out along the highway.
Iringa – Mbeya, Baobab country and a fake ticket to Lilongwe.
Mbeya, Tanzania – Lilongwe, Malawi, worthy of a separate blog.
The title would be :
The long, long, long way to Lilongwe!
Fake ticket, Dalla dalla (mini-bus in Tz) changes in the rain, bicycle porters through the mud, pushy money-changers, shared taxi to Karonga, Matola (mini-bus in Malawi) to Mzuzu and finally a bus to Lilongwe. Travel time: 16 hours… Beautiful lake Nyasa and friendly Malawians the highlights of the day.
Lilongwe – Blantyre, bus ride supposed to take 4 hours, appointment with orphanage arranged, all ok!
Only one problem, bus took 8 hours, ran out of gas 3 (!!!!) times and finally offloaded all passengers onto Matola’s for the last 2 kilometres…
I joined the group of youngsters at the back of the bus singing their displeasure at the whole sham!
Blantyre was a breath of fresh air after a week of travel and Geoffrey Chipungu, the uncle of my ex Tahuichi Way player, Stafford, was a fantastic help. He organised another orphanage at the last minute and even drove Footballsmiles to the door!
The door in question was the utopia of orphanages…
The most beautiful, impeccable, professional and inspiring place for children, regardless of background and family situation.
So beautiful that no photos are permitted because things well done breed all kinds of strange creatures from Pandora’s box.
But, you can take a look here: http://www.kondanani.com
Blantyre – Zobue, Mozambique, another odyssey…
Matola to the Malawi border, 8 kilometres from the Mozambique border…very tough negotiations with the taxi driver, the only way to get there!
Bought a sim card for a super inflated price…
Missed the last Chapa (Mini-bus in Moz.) to Tete and stayed the night in a place with no running water, just buckets everywhere.
Zobue – Tete, early morning chapa to Tete, arrived at 7 am, dropped off at the bridge, had to take another chapa to get over the bridge, asked to get to the bus station, told that it was far away and quoted 100 Meticais for that bit…turned out to be 250 metres away! Gave the driver 50 Mets and was supported by the bus drivers telling him not to be greedy!
Tete, found out that there was only one bus to Beira per day, at 4 am! Just missed that one too!
Options: take chapas from town to town, wait 20 hours or hitch-hike the over 500 kms.
Guess what was chosen!
Tete – Beira, after 3 hours by the road with a funky piece of cardboard with Beira written on it, a truck finally stopped and 15 hours later, the beach of Beira was smiling at FootBallSmiles!
Beira, it happened to be the 1st of June, International Children’s Day and there were children everywhere, but not one orphanage in the phone book!
The children were all street kids, looking to pick pockets or something…very depressing, then it began to rain…what a day!
Beira – Maxixe, after the truck, a luxury bus at 4 am seemed in order…ha! First the taxi arrived late, then ran out of gas 50 metres from the gas station, then the bus had broken suspensions and the road was being fixed…you never saw people bounce so much! Hilariously painful!
The bags came out battered and covered in dust, there was a fee for the station toilet that had no water and no paper…pay for what????
I resisted and got on the ferry boat to Inhambane.
Maxixe – Inhambane, nice little boat ride across the bay, downpour on arrival that lasted exactly the length of the pier…everybody soaked! 5 minutes later the sun was shining!
Inhambane – Tofo, the chapa tried to charge 300 meticais… the real price, 15!
Tofo, the most beautiful beach!
Inhambane, the Estrela do Mar orphanage and the story of Joao, 15, abandoned by his uncle when he was 12 in Maputo to go and work in South Africa…He went to the police who said he had family in Inhambane, so they sent him here, only, he has not found his family so he is at the orphanage, the oldest one, responsible, calm, friendly, positive. An inspiring young man!
Inhambane – Maputo, another 4 am departure in a mini-van full of drunk and obnoxious backpackers mixed with all kinds of goods, babies and live chicken as the Mozambicans joined.
Maputo, as soon as the bus unloaded the last of the backpackers, it was off to find a normal pensao, more African. The 1 de Mayo orphanage proved to be another heart-wrenching affair as a father was leaving his two sons (2 and 4 years old) to the orphanage, unable to provide for them…moving and beyond sad as they wailed away.
Maputo – Johannesburg, finally a proper bus! Then over two hours at the border…World Cup fever!
Johannesburg, amazing party, vuvuzela cacophony and smiles of all colours and continents!
Opening Ceremony missed in traffic, stadium and game one fantastic fraternal fest… Viva Mexico! Bafana Bafana…Viva Bafana!
After the celebration, the children again, supported by our new friends Gareth McCusker and Daniel Pittaluga of South Africa and Argentina. That was eye-opening as you can read in the previous entry.