Thursday, 30 July 2009


Hi everyone,

We're nearly at the end of our 4th week now and things are beginning to wind up. We leave Monkey Bay on Tuesday and fly out of Blantyre on Wednesday morning, but tomorrow will be our last day on the orphanage project. We've got a few things planned for the weekend, and it's quite sad to be saying our goodbyes to all the people we have met through the orphanages, the building, the football team and the MVO staff, but we are also looking foward to getting home, having a proper wash and going for a curry!

I went to see the hospital today, as I wanted to get a better idea of the medical projects before we leave. I helped out with some routine observations, but it was a fair way out of my comfort zone so I took a back seat for the most part. We did our last afternoon building today and Amy and I are going to Chilombo orphanage (our favourite) tomorrow morning.

We're not going to be able to give blood as the blood drive has been delayed(!)

As ever, I'm missing so much out, but I'm going to bed now.

Andy (and Amy, who has already gone to bed!)

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Fat Monkeys...

Hi everyone,

We've had pizza. We didn't fall off the matola. We have bought funny shorts. Going swimming.

This place is amazing!

Andy and Amy

PS. Might not be able to get on the internet much next week as there are now 27 people to 1 computer. If all else fails, will be in touch from Blantyre next Sun/Mon.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009


Hi everyone,

We've had a good few days although I have a bit of a cold which is slowing me down a bit. Nothing serious though. We're off to Cape Maclear this weekend, which is a bit more of a resort, and there are rumours of both hot water and pizza. Two and a half weeks is a long time to go without either of those!

We had our first rides on Malawian public transport on Monday, which was quite exciting. Matolas are basically pick-up trucks that run up and down the roads between Mangochi and Monkey Bay and stop for people (and animals and bikes and bags of tomatoes) to hop on the back. They can get quite full, but there is so little traffic on the roads round here that it is safe. Safe-ish!

Me and Amy took the children from our favourite orphanage down to the beach this morning to play with some tennis balls. It was great because they don't usually have the chance to do anything like that and the orphanage doesn't have any toys or resources. Everyone was very excited, and one boy went for an impromptu swim! We have a really good relationship with the teacher there, who runs the orphanage from her own back yard, and she cooked us breakfast this morning - hot sweet potato!

Blood donoring has been put off til next week as the blood drive is still being planned and organised. Amy went back to the wound clinic for a second time and still managed to avoid any horror shows. I would like Martin Ling to be the new Cambridge manager. I think that's all for now!

Lots of love,

Andy and Amy

Saturday, 18 July 2009


Hi everyone,

There was a big party at the house last night, with people from the neighbouring villages invited to watch and perform some traditional dances. It was a really good night, and there are a lot of people feeling a bit rough this morning...

Other than that, Amy and I have agreed to pay for some petrol to allow us to work on the building for an extra 90 mins a day, which will effectively double the time we can spend there each afternoon (the builder is quite often late) and I am trying to decide if I'm brave enough to give blood!

We're about half way through the trip this weekend so we are spending a bit of time thinking about what we want to see and do before we leave.

Hope everything is good back home,

Andy and Amy

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Quick update...

Hi everyone,

Things are still going well here, just working on the projects etc. I've been to a couple of training sessions with a youth football side in the next village and I'll be doing that for a couple of afternoons over the next couple of weeks.

We went to the pub last night and had a really good time. It was the coach of the youth side's 19th birthday (although he only found out he was 18 about 3 months ago!) so a few volunteers joined a few local guys for a drink or two in Monkey Bay, which was a really good laugh.

As part of the medical volunteering programme here they run a Wound Clinic in the afternoons and Amy went down to help with that for the first time today... and didn't see anything too gruesome! I think she might go back though, which will be a really good experience.

I'm tired and have been waiting for the Internet for a while so I'm going to wrap it up here. I'll tell you all the full story of our Monkey Bay night out when we get back!

Lots of love,

Andy and Amy

Sunday, 12 July 2009

End of week 1

Hi everyone,

Back from Safari - saw elephants, hippos, water buck, antelopes etc. Good weekend made a bit stressful due to broken tent, but great to see all the animals!

We are both looking forward to getting stuck into the orphanage work this week and have been planning some ideas for resources that we are going to make and leave with the orphanage teachers when we go. Quite a lot of people in Malawi only have quite a superficial understanding of English as they only learn set phrases, largely through repetition. One of the orphanages we are working at is run by a local woman in her back yard (with about 40 3-5 year olds) and we're going to do our best to help her with some ideas as her English is quite poor, although she does a great job using the few songs and games that she does know in English. We're also continuing with the building work in the afternoons and I am taking training sessions with 2 football teams this week...

That's probably about it for now, we're just waiting to be called for our tea. The food at the house is lovely - prepared by 2 cooks, Saul and Computer - and is predominantly meat and rice or noodles. Not much veg! While we were on safari, we were looked after by Gibson, who also works for MVO and he prepared fantastic meals for us: pork and lamb last night, sausage and bacon this morning!

Am missing being able to keep up to date with Cambridge's pre-season progress, but other than that all's well!

Lots of love,

Andy and Amy

Thursday, 9 July 2009


Hi everyone, sorry for the lack of updates - there are 21 people here and only one computer! We've been at the house in Monkey Bay since Tuesday, when we were picked up from Blantyre and driven 4 hours across Malawi - it was a really good trip as it took us through a few of the main towns, mountains, and lots of rural villages, so we got a real impression of what the country is like. Albeit, at 110mph, through thick clouds of smoke from fire in fields and on the roadside!

Before we left Blantyre we spent the morning having a walk around the town, which is quite small considering it is the 2nd city. The highlight was definitely being shown a shortcut back to Doogles which involved walking along a railway line, and not being robbed in the process! Everyone is really friendly here and will do you a favour just for a handshake and a chat.

We;ve spent 2 full days in Monkey Bay now and are pretty settled into the house, which is right on the beach/shore of the lake. There are 21 volunteers at the moment but that will grow to about 27 in a week or 2 - working on a variety of medical/teaching and orphanage projects, from a drop-in wound clinic to an after school wildlife club. We had an induction day yesterday and went to the orphanage for the first time today - teaching/playing in the morning and building a new building in the afternoon. As I say, everyone here is friendly and will approach you for a chat and our building work this afternoon soon became a team effort with 2 builders, 6 of us and about 25 children all carrying bricks for us! It's going to be great to get stuck in over the next few weeks and hopefully get the orphange building and toilet block finished before we leave.

We're off on safari tomorrow afternoon until Sunday, which has been organised by MVO, who run the projects and own the house we live in. I'm going to have to go now as I'm sitting in the dark and there are mice running around my chair so I think I'll let someone else have a go on the computer! I'm sure I have missed a lot out and not done things justice, but we'll be able to fill you all in on the details when we're home.

Lots of love
Andy and Amy

PS. Wawa is Chichewa for Hello.\
PPS. The chef here is called Computer!