A Sydney Volunteering Opportunity in Malawi

Our month in Malawi was like nothing else. We’d seen so much and loved having the time to soak up the culture of this wonderful country. We’d also spent A LOT of time in terrible transport and very basic accommodation, so we decided to enjoy a little luxury in Lilongwe for a couple of days before moving on to Zambia.

There wasn’t a whole lot to report from our time in Lilongwe, except for an attempted pickpocketing incident as soon as we stepped off they minibus. In fact, we weren’t going to write a blog from here at all. And then we meet Vittoria.

Vittoria is an Italian Australian woman who was staying in our guest house. As tends to happen when we meet Aussies abroad, we got talking about what an embarrassment Tony Abbott is.

As it turns out, Vittoria was in Lilongwe for a very sad reason. A few years ago, after completing a world record breaking quad bike ride (and raising $100,000 for OXFAM), her son Daniel was struck by a speeding car and killed. She was in Lilongwe to prepare a ceremony in his honour.

Vittoria amazed us with her outlook and told us of the foundation she started in his name, The Valerio Daniel de Simoni Association

Continuing his charity work, the foundation works with refugees, asylum seekers and other disadvantaged groups around Sydney. We were amazed by Vittoria’s strength and her ability to turn her loss into a gift.

We would encourage anyone in Sydney who had been considering donating some time to the disadvantaged to get in touch with the foundation.

Posted from Lilongwe, Central Region, Malawi.

Beer Review: Malawi

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Ahhhhh Malawi, the unexpected home of Danish piss Carlsberg. They love it here, but they love the old advertising slogan even more. I even saw a school whose motto was “Probably one of the best schools in Malawi”. At first you despair, how am I going to survive on nothing but Carlsberg for a month!?!?! Then you discover Shake-Shake, and you are eternally indebted to those enterprising Danes. Malawi truly is home to the worst beer in the entire world, read on to see why.
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Posted from Chembe, Southern Region, Malawi.

Malawi: Dedza’s Ancient Art and Avoided Questions

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Travelling from Cape Maclear to Dedza was quite a challenge despite the relatively short distance seperating the two. With no regular public transport between them we once again resorted to the ancient art of hitchhiking. Unfortunately the first four cars to pass us were other white travellers, and even though three out of four had empty seats, they turned us down because they were ‘full’ or simply tried to ignore us as they slowly drove past us at the crossroads. Thankfully car number five was a Malawian with an empty ute tray. No problems.

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Posted from Dedza, Central Region, Malawi.

Malawi: Nkhotakota Crocodile Sunsets

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There are so many times when driving through Africa on public transport that you fly past things you would love to stop and take a photo of but can’t. The drive to Nkhotakota had some real treasures. The men sprinting out of the rubber plantations trying to sell human head sized rubber balls which they bounced at the car. The signs for Tom and Jelly Daycare, and a Prumbing Speciarist (Malawians often mix-up their R’s and L’s). The world’s worst Rambo painting on a DVD shop, and the world’s best Randy Rhoads shirt. Even the ‘Kanye River’, which I would have really quite liked to have sullied. The road to Nkhotakota was yet another interesting journey to yet another special place in Malawi.

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