The Minibus(war) Group

James Diener, Josh Dykla, Sophia Johnson, Erin Kevern, Sandra Larson, Madison Yen Phani, Shane Serget, Meagan Smith

Around Blantyre

  • Yamikeni orphanage – go play with all the kids
  • Satemwa Tea Estates – Awesome experience tea tasing. Go back to the lodge from some awesome scones and iced tea. The dinners here are out of this world. Call ahead so they know you are coming.
  • Best Bakery – near Malawi Sun Hotel.
  • Malawi Museum – past Shoprite 1 street over from the highway. 200 mwk entry. Very small but entertaining.
  • African Habitat – great to buy curios without the hassle of bargaining. Great prices for most items.
  • Michaels Church – oldest building in Blantyre. Beautiful church. Past Doogle’s and Wynela.
  • Carlsberg Brewery Tour – Wednesday, 230. Call ahead so they know you’re coming. Free (possibly warm) beer at the end.
  • Woodmarket – try not to pay any kwacha (or crotcha). Trade everything you own. They love watches and shoes and bags.
  • Soche Hotel pool – 800 mwk to lounge at pool and use their towels.
  • Restaurants – Veg Delite (Indian), 21 Grille (nice fancy steak house), Alem Ethiopian (better for lunch or early dinner), Chez Maky (beautiful views, great noodle dishes), L’Hostaria (great pizza bread and crepes for dessert), Africa Heritage (awesome lunch place near hospital), Debonairs/Kips/Jungle Pepper (all 3 good for pizza).

The Rions and the Repeords

Kyle Denison Martin, Tom Pfotenhauer, Katie Matz, Nick Graff, Susan Kasko, Chelsea Duggan, Beth Parker

Weekend 3 – Liwonde Mvuu Lodge

  • Fantastic! However, DO NOT miss the boat on Saturday!
  • We took a minibus (Alex) to Mvuu Hippo Camp. The boat ride to your digs is a 45 min water safari. Lots of hippos and crocs.
  • The chalets are magnificent, and they really put in a personal touch — fresh flowers, handwritten notes. Also, you can hear animals all around you, especially the monkeys who play in the grass, steal food and may or may not chase you into your chalet!
  • The food is amazing. Saturday night they had drums and dancing by the fire.
  • You will probably not see any cats in this safari. There is 1 lion (rion) in the park and he is almost never seen. Lots of deer type animals, hippos, crocs, some zebra, and many monkeys. You get 1 evening/night safari and a morning either game drive or boat safari on Sunday. You can also pay extra for an extra early walking safari Sun morning. I recommend it.
  • Price: Approximately $150/per person for the entire weekend
  • Amazing short safari. Good food. Nice staff. Pretty place.
  • Don’t let the emergency whistle hanging in your chalet alarm you.


Block Three 2013

Kristen Strehl, Brittani Thomas, Peter Kelterborn, Kelly Flynn, Megan Fojtik, Lucas Watts, Max Kaiser

Mt. Mulanje (Thurs afternoon-Sun afternoon)

We planned our trip to Mt. Mulanje the week before by talking to Terrie and Rachel and then calling InfoMulanje to book everything. InfoMulanje was very helpful and let us change our itinerary a few times, but you can also change it once on the mountain, depending on how the group feels (nothing is set in stone).

Seven of us went on the hike and we booked 4 porters (3,000 mwk/day/porter) and one guide (3,500/day/guide), which seemed to work well.

We left Blantyre Thursday afternoon after work with Alex our minibus driver around 1:30 pm and spent the afternoon at the tea estates for a tour and tea tasting, which we would highly recommend!

We stayed at the base of the mountain at Likhubula Lodge – CCAP dorms (make sure to get a dorm and not a chalet — it’s much cheaper) Thursday night so we could start our hike early Friday morning. Our porters and guide met us there around 7 am. We hiked about 6 hours on Friday to Chisepo Hut, which is at the base of the highest peak, Sapitwa. It is a great place to stay if you want to summit Sapitwa.

On Saturday, 5 of the 7 of us decided to summit and we were back to the hut around noon. We were pretty tired so we relaxed at Chisepo another night. We did not have a Mountain Club key so we brought our own pots, pot holders, silverware and bowls. We had Simoni make us some food the week before, such as spaghetti and meatballs one night and ratatouille another night, both of which we could reheat over a fire and boil up pasta or rice. We also went grocery shopping the week before and bought a lot of snacks for hiking — trail mix and apples and rolls to make PB&J for lunch.

On Sunday, we hiked down the mountain to Thuchila Lodge and met Alex our minibus driver there around noon. We wanted to take a different trail down the mountain, which was very worth it. The scenery on the hike was so beautiful.

On our way back to Blantyre, we had Alex stop at a great pizza place in Mulanje called Mulanje Pepper (used to be called Basilico). The pizzas are amazing and cooked in a brick oven; recommend everyone order their own pizza. We were pretty hungry after three days of hiking.

Make sure to wear good hiking shoes. It is a tough hike and if you choose to summit you will be climbing on all fours up most of the way. It is amazing to summit but be prepared to get a hole in your pants on the way down.


Team Mphatso (Block 1, 2014)

Sarah, Josh, Elizabeth, Souson, Rasheed, Nick, Katie (and Luke)

Fun quotes

  • “Jesus Christ, Michigan!” “Ontario, Huron, Erie …”
  • “I’ll make you holla for hours” (said to the white blondie)
  • “I have never met this species of nut before” (regarding almonds)
  • “Is that tear gas?”
  • “Wait, what about rats?”
  • “I’m trying to keep my mind off shit. Literally.”

Take with you on road trips

  • Cash
  • Towel (bus rides)
  • Toilet paper
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Cipro
  • Immodium
  • Food/snacks
  • Fleece (cold bus) but layer because sometimes HOT
  • Dri-fit clothes
  • Sunscreen
  • Antimalarials
  • Travel pillow
  • Good camera
  • Silverware for snacks

Don’t take with you on road trips

  • Computer
  • Don’t travel with meat (hot)
  • Raincoat (unless forecast for rain)
  • Large luggage (pack light)

Noah’s Ark Orphan Care (with photo Noah)
Contact: Nancy Sisco, 0888515248
Transport: 5,000 mwk one way from Terrie’s

We went on a Tuesday at 11 a.m. NAOC is a school/orphan care facility that provides food and education to local orphans. It is a Christian organization started and still run by Pastor Nancy (80-something years old). She first came here in 1995 doing mission work and moved here permanently in mid-2000s.

The kids range in age from 4-18 although the teacher’s 2 yo daughter also attends the preschool. The do preschool-2nd grade and English. Each child is sponsored by someone in Michigan (Pastor Nancy is from Flint). The kids still live at home with their guardians, usually grandparents or an aunt. The program also accepts kids who have only lost one parent. Usually, the guardians seek out help because they can’t afford food for the child.

The preschools-2nd grade are fed breakfast and lunch. The preschoolers go home at noon and the older kids at 2:30. The kids who leave for primary school get breakfast and a snack for lunch, then return after school at 3:30 are are given dinner before they go home. All the kids get food, shoes, clean uniforms, education and community. They do Bible study and memorize scripture through their schooling.

When we got there, the kids had prepared 2 songs for us, plus the dance to go with it. Josh brought bubbles and the kids LOVED them! After playing with those for an hour or so we transitioned into a bigger yard so they could teach us some games. We ate lunch on the terrace and then we sang more songs so that we could dance with them. It was so much fun and the kids had a great time. This is totally worth taking the day off work!

Group 2 2014

Amanda, Jessica, Lauren, Christy, Bre, Allie, Elaine Andrea

Around Blantyre

  • If you have clothes to donate, there is a women’s and children’s center for victims of abuse called “STOP” in the hospital near OB/GYN. They will gladly take clothes, shoes, toys and toiletries.
  • Bars/nightlife: Blue Elephant (gets busy late on Fri and Sat), Doogles (chill bar, live music Thurs nights, backpacker bar), Quarter bistro (restaurant/bar), TJ (laid-back sports bar), Lucky Lucianos (DJ, dancing, foreigner hangout)
  • Getting around: Alex is good for long trips w/many people because he has a minibus. He is a good driver, now has a brand-new bus, but is pricey. Try to barter. Fraction is very reliable, 4-person taxi. Reasonable rates, especially if you state the price first. He has friends who will also come pick people up if you need more seats.
  • Tea estate: High tea is 6500 mwk per person. We booked on a Wed afternoon at 2:30 p.m. We arrived early to walk around the beautiful gardens and house. With high tea, you get to sample several types of tea, plus you get snacks (sandwiches, cupcakes, desserts, biscuits and jam). Best of all, get ready to play croquet!


Block III 2014

Amber Cibrario, Lucy Kurtz, Jennifer Walker, Christina Harrild, Zachary Baker, Lauren Hasler, Michelle Medley, Tomoyasu Higashimoto

While in Blantyre:

  • Be sure to: Go to Noah’s Ark Orphan Care, La Caverna, P-its Mandala Café, Blue Elephant, African Habitat, Lambatts, Chez Maky (for lunch and a fantastic view overlooking the city), Halaal Meets (the one past Chipiku for a quick and delicious to-go lunch), Kips (for a variety of meals, also has FREE delivery), Veg Delite, and the local markets. Also, fun a Hash or two for unique views.
  • Get custom woodcarvings from Hamilton (ex: Joe Louis’ fist)
  • Write down what you want from Lawrence. A skirt (is NOT) a handbag.
  • Get a late lunch or snack in the afternoon. Dinners are usually around 8, but Terrie’s presence makes it worth it.
  • Roll with everything. Africa is a unique and crazy place.

You know you are in Africa when:

  • You expect your mode of transportation to break down
  • A late addition to your Cape Maclear trip gets arrested, attempts to purchase weed under the only light on a pitch-black beach where all Gecko Lodge can see him, kisses a girl who does not reciprocate, and gets lost at Zomba because walking along the only road is not appetizing enough.
  • A child can carry more on his/her head than you can pick up off the ground.
  • Toilet paper could become a form of currency.
  • That crunch in your samosa was a cockroach.
  • Knees are sexier than breasts.
  • Spontaneous dance parties in the living room are not only for middle-schoolers.
  • If your minibus breaks down, you may see a cow fly 30+ feet in the air while you are waiting for petrol.
  • Children pee outside in the open, somehow always facing you.
  • A few drinks and an honest game of Never Have I Ever has you terrified for our future patients’ lives, and at the same time reveals you have an incredibly adventurous group.