Please find below brief reports from Rob Wilson, leader of the 2011 World Challenge expedition to Malawi that took place over the summer holidays.
Tuesday 9th August
After a long while without an internet connection, I now find myself on a hired laptop overlooking the sunset on Lake Malawi - it's a hard life at some points on expedition!
Last week we were in the small rural village of Thanthwe in Southern Malawi. We were there to help lay the foundations for a new building to contain a library and a new office for staff. Our help mostly consisted of collecting building materials from around the local area (bricks, sand, stones, water) in any container we could find (rucksacks, buckets, a broken wheelbarrow). It was back-breaking work at points, and was always uphill; but the team pulled together and got the job done. The community is also in the process of making bricks for some new buildings. These unbaked bricks were strewn across the school playground so we helped by adding manpower to clear them into one area so that when school starts in September the children have somewhere to play. Some members of the groups also taught some lessons in the afternoons ranging from English to Maths, German to Bible Studies.
The last couple of days have been spent in the Liwonde National Park where we were lucky enough to see elephants, hippos, crocs, antelope, kudu to name but a few.
Now; back to that sunset....
Friday 29th July
I am pleased to report that the team now finds itself in the town of Blantyre having all completed a trek across the Mulanje Massif. Our guide, George, who has lead a number of school groups across the mountain, said that the Shrewsbury team were by far the fastest he had seen, often making it to our nightly destination by lunchtime, and on a couple of occasions beating our porters!
The next two items on our itinerary are our project, and a safari in the Liwonde National Park. It seems strange to say that we only have two weeks left of the expedition!
Saturday 23rd July
We have now returned from the Dzalanyama Forest Reserve where the whole team completed a very challenging 4 day trek.
We now head to Dedza tonight (a slight change to our planned route), but will be back on track to take on Mount Mulanje next week.
Sunday 17th July
The team arrived safe and sound in Lilongwe at lunchtime yesterday. We head off tomorrow for our acclimatisation trek in the Dzylanjama Forest Reserve.
5th September 2011
The members of the 2011 World Challenge expedition have now gone their separate ways, some to university, some and gap years, and the remainder have returned to school to complete their studies. I am sure that the experiences of Malawi and the lessons learned there will stay with them for a long time to come.
I have already heard plans being made by various team members for exciting trips to far flung places in the not too distant future.