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.

QJTW in Oi Vietnam Magazine

Oi-Vietnam-January-2015-Cover-724x1024

I recently had an article about Siem Reap & Angkor Wat published in Oi Vietnam Magazine! Oi is distrubted throughout Ho Chi Minh City and is aimed at ex-pats and English speaking Vietnamese. To read my article simply click on the image above to download a PDF copy of the January 2015 edition, and you will find it on pages 72-75.

Oi Vietnam is a great magazine which also includes a lot of restaurant reviews for Ho Chi Minh City – so well worth checking out if you are heading to Saigon. Click here to view a list of issues available to download.

Beer Review: Malawi

malawi
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.

A Close Encounter With A Wild African Elephant

An elephant coming in to the dining room to see if there's anything to eat.

An elephant coming in to the dining room to see if there’s anything to eat.

A large elephant emerged from behind one of the chalets. We heard one of the owners of the South Luangwa lodge we were staying at say “Oh, this elephant is quite unconventional, stay still. Don’t move!” From our seat on the very edge of the patio we watched silently as the elephant moved toward us. As it stopped in front of us the scale was apparent. It’s head was larger than our head and torso combined with tusks stretching on for what felt like forever. I stayed frozen as the huge beast sniffed all over Leckie, brushing its trunk against his arm. Then, knocking Leckie’s wine glass over, it moved on to me. My heart pounded as it sniffed me and I closed my eyes to quell a moment of panic.

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Posted from Northern, Zambia.

Beer Review: Tanzania

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I’m not going to lie. We drank A LOT of beer in Tanzania, especially on the beaches of Zanzibar. I almost feel overqualified for this review thinking back on it. The fact that we spent a couple of weeks in a beautiful, sunny, island paradise made them go down easy, and the fact they were cheap every night during the 2014 World Cup games certainly didn’t stop them flowing.
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Posted from Nungwi, Zanzibar North, Tanzania.