Sunday, 31 May 2015

Getting here: the never ending journey

We left Glasgow a week ago, and have spent the past few days settling in on campus. We still haven't got logins for using the internet on our laptops, but students have helped us to connect to WiFi with our phones. So we will be playing catch up with stories on the blog for a while. Let's start at the beginning...

We've been planning this trip for so long, and have had to negotiate quite a few obstacles, but it still didn't quite feel real as we waved goodbye to our loved ones at the airport.

Our journey would take 22 hours, via London, then Johannesburg and eventually to Lilongwe. As the plane took off from Glasgow we all breathed a sigh of relief as we realised Caley to Malawi was actually happening!

A miscalculation in London about how much time we had before boarding our plane to Johannesburg, led to a panicked 15 minute sprint across the terminal. The tannoys were announcing final calls and doors closing. As we tumbled down the tunnel to board the plane, the air steward kidded on that he was locking the door and we'd missed our flight. But all the ground crew fell about laughing at the sight of our faces, and we were able to settle in for our 11 hour journey.

We flew over Europe and then the Sahara Desert, down to South Africa before changing planes and doubling back up to "the warm heart of Africa".

Feeling a bit sleep deprived, but still just as amazed to be where we were, we waited to board our final flight.

On the flight from SA to Malawi, I met a Malawian nurse called Jacinta who was travelling back home from Boston where she's doing her Masters. She teaches in Lilongwe, at the sister college to Kamuzu College of Nursing, and was very excited for us. She reassured me that we would learn a lot while we are here, and said she would check in on us.

At the airport, we queued up and were waved through security, with a vague instruction to present at the visa office within 30 days. Then we walked through to the arrivals area, a jostling sea of taxi drivers all competing for jobs. We split between 2 taxis, to have enough space for all 6 of us and our luggage. And then we got our first proper glimpse of the place which will be our home for the next few months.

Next up... A tour of campus, and our first taste of nsima - the national food staple of Malawi.

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