Today we have 130 k to ride with approx. 890 meters of climbing and 860 metres of descent.
I am having some trouble with asthma which is unusual for me so I have doubled the preventer. I also have had gastro since last night. When I woke up I felt ok but after breakfast I vomited and had another bout of gastro, so into the truck for me.
Went through a couple of towns and they have street cleaners sweeping the paths, wearing masks. We also passed a road crew fixing pot holes with no equipment, but one hand pick which one guy was chipping away with, while 8 others looked on. I guess they take it in turns.
As well as no big equipment to fix the roads I also haven’t seen any farm equipment, including no tractors. There are lots of oxen pulling carts and in the streets, and hoes in the fields. Plus bikes piled high and woman walking with wood, buckets and material on their heads.
Wolfgang from Germany is in the truck with me, he fell a week or so ago and has a badly infected knee. It’s Wolfgang’s first TDA ride but he has done numerous other self-supported rides. Wolfgang is retired and spends 3 months each year on a self-supported ride, and 3 months working on a farm, and the other six months’ home with his wife.
At the lunch stop we had the normal cluster of children watching. A couple of girls aged about 9 had babies on their back, one of the babies about 12-15 months old had dreadlocks.
Coming into Lilongwe it gets busier and busier, and in contrast to what we have seen so far there is a lot of wealth around.
I wanted to get a room at camp as I was not wanting to be in a tent for a rest day, especially with gastro, however the only option left is a room with just a bed and no toilet, and looks like it will be very hot as no fan, so the tent it is.
I hadn’t eaten lunch and by 2:30 was getting quite hungry, so we went to the camp restaurant. To order anything you first have to go to the main office, order and then take the voucher to the restaurant. The service is very slow. There were limited options and I decided to have a burger which came eventually.
After lunch I had a sleep and didn’t get up until 7pm. At this stage it was almost too late for Brett to get dinner as they had nearly shut. I could still feel the burger sitting in my stomach so decided not to eat anything.
At the bar I didn’t feel like beer or wine, so thought I would try a Malawi gin but the bar had no tonic and I didn’t feel like lemonade, so I stuck to water.
I didn’t realize that I had put my tent by the road as I couldn’t see outside the fence, so I couldn’t get too sleep as there was lots of noise of traffic and people going by.
I am hot, sticky, tired, feeling grumpy, and homesick, and wondering exactly why is was that I wanted to do this!
Some info on Malawi: the population in Malawi is 18.6 million with 40% of the population 15 or younger. Teenage pregnancy rate is 29%. 50.7% of the population live below the poverty line, with 25% living in extreme poverty.