Archive for May 2011
I asked this Inverary gentleman if I could take his photo and he very kindly agreed. This was the first morning of the horse trek for us so, once the riders were in the saddle and off across the boggy moorland, we spent our morning drinking lattes in Inverary and buying gorgeous deli things. You can take the girls out the city but well…you know the rest.
I’ve been neglecting my blog lately, mainly because I’ve spent the last few days chasing horses round the Highlands in the pouring rain. That is a set of blog posts that will be coming shortly but in the meantime, I still have a couple of Malawi pics to share with you.
This was taken at Mvuu Camp in Liwonde. Literally two minutes out of the camp we came upon two agitated young male elephants – apparently it’s the mating season and the agitated elephants were looking for a lady. Bear in mind I don’t have a zoom lens, this giant animal was very close. I was quite scared of its proximity but luckily I don’t think you’ll notice the camera shake.
A few days before I went out to Malawi, a leaked dispatch to the Foreign Office written by the British Ambassador to Malawi said that President Mutharika was becoming increasingly intolerant of criticism and more and more dictatorial.
President Mutharika, with no hint of irony and bluntly proving the statement to be rather more fact than opinion, responded by swiftly expelling the Ambassador.
Much talk while I was there was about this and the possible ramifications for British aid/support for projects in Malawi, not to mention the withdrawl of the Malawi Ambassador’s royal wedding invite.
This is the chatter in the towns and probably not of direct concern to the fruit sellers of Zomba at the moment but somewhere further down the waterfall it does and will affect them.
Let me give you an example. Since 2001, UNICEF (funded by the International community including UK) has been providing mosquito nets to the poorest communities of sub-Saharan Africa. In Malawi, 2 million nets were distributed in 2005 alone. The aim being to meet the Abuja Target – to provide mosquito nets to 60% of the population deemed at risk of Malaria.
A paediatric surgeon I met in Blantyre told me that this project has made a massive difference to the rates of childhood malaria they see at the hospital. And on a continent where Malaria kills an African child every 30 seconds projects like this, and UK funding for projects like this, need to be protected from the politicking and posturing that may be going on above.
I spent the first weekend in Zomba, high on a plateau, where the air was crystal clear and monkeys stole your breakfast. Kids like this boy here sold freshly picked passion fruit and cape gooseberries at the side of the road for next to nothing.
Cape gooseberries was not a term I’d heard before, we know the fruit here as ‘physalis’ which has always sounded unappetizingly like a venereal disease. So from now on I am only going to refer to them by their African name.
We bought bags of the fruit from this boy and others along the way and so I had the most beautiful fruit salads every morning of the trip as a result.
I spent most of last night sandwiched between two giant South Africans on the flight from Johannesburg. Both men had their elbows and legs forming perfect triangles to their bodies, leaving me with a narrow channel in the middle in which to sit. I spent most of the ten hour flight pencil straight with my arms tucked into my body, like being wedged into the coffin of a very, very thin person. Then one of them accidently kicked me with the steel girders he was wearing for shoes as he made his way to the toilet and nearly broke my ankle. So that’s when I decided to start a fantasy kill list.
I decided to add the Christian Youth of America sitting across the aisle from me to the list simply because the bible quotes on their t-shirts were annoying me. However, I sensed enough tension within the group that they may have indeed killed each other before the day was out so it might turn out to be unnecessary to have them on the list after all.
The security staff at Terminal 5 definitely need to be added to the list for being annoying and snappy at 5 o’clock this morning. It’s bad enough at any time of day but 5am people! Is it really necessary?
The last person on the list is Ivana Trump. It’s not really her fault but what the hell, now I’ve made the list, Ivana, you may as well be on it. Next time join the queue like everyone else, lady.