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Diary of a Volunteer





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Party Piece
"There's not much to say about this party, really!" More...More

Breakfast Party
"Should I tell you about the camping holiday, that became 2 nights at The Savoy?" More...More


Nov. 1996

Quite simply, Zomba Plateau is beautiful!

This month I returned to Zomba, with Caro-Anne, to savour the splendour of being "lost and alone" on the Plateau. (And there was a bit of a birthday bash too!)...

Party Piece!

THERE'S NOT much to say about this party, really. I mean, a party's a party, innit! You gather some friends, buy loads of beer (and in this case buy lots of meat for the barbecue), and boogie-on-down to Madness 'til the early hours. Admittedly, we danced outdoors with the plateau acting as a magnificent backdrop; and the (almost) full moon brightened the dance floor - but these are just minor details. It was just a party - Anne-Marie and Clare's joint birthday party - where everyone was trying to have a good time: mingle a little; flirt and dance a little; and laugh a lot.

I am happy to report that I mingled, flirted, danced, and laughed a good deal at this party. I met some familiar faces, and compared notes on our travelling-around-Malawi horror-stories. (Ploughing through a herd of cows, whilst travelling by bus, is the best story I've heard so far!) I met some new faces, and gladly told them how much I have enjoyed working at DPD, but it really was time that I did something else. (Anything else, actually!) And yes I did dance to Madness. Hey! I've got the Madness walk down to a tee. As for laughing, and flirting - well, how can you laugh, and not flirt? Just natural companions, aren't they?

But parties are tiring. (I bet!) All that socialising, looking good, and saying something; it's tiring, innit! And as I just came back from the party TODAY, I think it's time I did something a bit more relaxing instead (like reading about 'Couples who go to prostitutes' in Cosmopolitan!). Now I bet you don't know much about that, do you? Do you!?

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Breakfast Party

I DON'T know where to start. Should I tell you about the camping holiday that became Two Nights at the Savoy? Or should I tell you about walking along the plateau, and witnessing the Emperor's View? Or would you be more interested in my ultimate breakfast experience? A tough choice, eh! (Well, the title of this piece somewhat dictates the answer, doesn't it?)

The walk to Emperor's View was quite splendid, as I'm sure you can imagine, but I'd rather not have to try and bring the walk back to life, with colourful prose and idyllic forestry images; I'd rather not have to describe the Emperor's View of Zomba and surrounding area. Find a guide-book, or just click the image above: Thomas Hardy-descriptions are not my thang!

The camping surprise is worth a few paragraphs, though. A two day camping holiday had been quickly arranged between Caro-Anneeand myself. We would wander around the plateau, camp under the stars, and then continue onwards to Mangochi, where Caro-Anneelives. After a conversation we had about Caro-Anne's ultimate breakfast, however, I decided I could afford one last luxury in Malawi: I booked a standard room at Ku Chawe Inn - the Savoy of Malawi - for two nights if you please! (I know "standard" implies cheap and cheerful, but it just so happens that the standard rooms have easily the best view. They're not cheap either!)

I booked the room in Blantyre, so that all I needed to do at Ku Chawe was check-in and collect the key. And that's what I did; whilst Caro-Anneesat out in the landscaped 'beer garden', I dashed off, all furtive-like, and returned with the keys to room 138. Caro-Anneewas... surprised. (We VSOs don't usually get to stay at Ku Chawe!)

Ku Chawe Inn is part of a chain of hotels, owned by Protea. Now all Protea hotels in Malawi are famous for their location, and they are famous for their... breakfasts! A self-service affair, where you help yourself to as much cereal, fruit salad, yoghurt, fruit, cold meat and bread as you like, then you get to eat a full English breakfast. (I know the hotels are infamous, too, for being overpriced. The standard of service, and the overall quality of food is poor, but I don't wish to break the spell. Breakfasts are good!)

The first morning, we breakfasted in the dining room. We sat ourselves down and ate several bowls of cereal; we drank a few glasses of real fruit juice; and 'vanished' a plate of sausage, bacon, eggs, potatoes, and tomatoes. Full, but satisfied - that were us!

The next day - and not forgetting my conversation with Caro-Anneeabout her ultimate breakfast - I ordered tea and coffee for 6am (remember this is Africa, and the days start and end early). I then ordered breakfast in bed, for 7.30am. Our break-fast was to be two pots of coffee, two bowls of cereal, fruit salad with yoghurt, toast, croissants, and other scrummy things (again, remember I have been starved of luxury for most of my two years here). There was no log fire, but we had privacy; we had the outdoor fresh air of the verandah; and we had the glorious view of Zomba and surrounding district (that I can't be bothered to describe to you). I will use the word 'breath-taking', to describe the sunrise, though.

Room service was on time, and all that we had ordered had been served us. We munched away, whilst in the distance Zomba slowly woke. It was a very enjoyable morning, and proof to the adage that "money is meant to be spent."

I said that this had been Caro-Anne's ultimate breakfast experience. My ultimate breakfast would be different(*): It would be shared with all of my family, sat round the table - Caro-Annel, Phil, Shelli, Marcus, Julie, Paul, and myself. Where we would be, and what we would eat wouldn't matter. It would be one big family gathering. Awwwhh! How sweet!

(* Who am I kidding? It was a bloomin' marvellous weekend, and the best breakfast ever!)


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