Our journey from Glasgow to Malawi took in Dubai and Johannesburg airports and was therefore lengthy. In fact, did we not give Malawi a wave as we flew over the day prior to our arrival on the way to Johannesburg – and that nine hour wait on a luggage trolley?
When we finally touched down on the runway of Blantyre it was the early hours of the morning and what hit us was the darkness! And then it was the armed security, whose welcome was far from warm and reassuring. The free-for-all that was baggage reclaim would have been entertaining was it not for the realisation that all that was familiar in this all so new world was a suitcase of belongings! All of a sudden it represented security! A mass of people much more au fait with the ‘arrivals’ process scrambled to collect their baggage from a heap on the runway, some ambitiously careering towards the ‘terminal building’ with two and three wheeled trollies. Once through passport control we were surrounded by people trying to take our bags from us.
It all made for a rather austere, and if completely honest, frightening introduction to Malawi.
The drive from Blantyre to Mulanje through the thick of night didn’t do a great deal to put us at ease. It was so dark we couldn’t make anything out. Every so often someone walking along the road would appear out of the darkness, miles and miles from any village. We desperately wanted to take in our surroundings and get a much-anticipated glimpse of Malawi but all we were aware of was the long dark journey into the unknown.
We didn’t embark on our trip to Malawi without prior knowledge and research but it was no preparation for actually being there. Arriving at night, in hindsight, was not a good idea.
This link will take you the short film we produced www.rumblelimited.tv/malawi