This blog is a recording of the Credit Union coaching assignment for the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) to consult with Credit Union Managers in Malawi Africa. This is the second year of a two year commitment. I am part of a team of six Credit Union Managers from Canada going to Malawi.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Good bye Malawi

Well our last day in Malawi started off good since this is the first night I slept through the chanting. We met for breakfast and decided since we were leaving some of our stuff behind because of weight restrictions we would see if we could get anything for them at the market. I had a pair of sandals and a pair if Adidas to bargain with. So off we went I was not in an aggressive bargaining mood so I didn't do as well as I could have if I spent some time at it. I also didn't have much space left so I bargained for small items.

Markets in Lilongwe

My main goal for the morning was to video the market and I have some great video of Dennis and one of the merchants. The video also shows how aggressive the merchants are, it is not the best quality but it gives an overview of the atmosphere of the markets. When we returned to the hotel I finished packing and asked about a scale and went to weigh my bags. The big bag was just under the limit so I was good to go.

Sylvester and Dixon were right on time to pick us up and the road to the airport was a beautiful drive except for one spot where we passed a big passenger bus in the ditch on its roof. Apparently it happened the night before and it was down a sharp embankment, by the looks of it the driver veered over to far and couldn't pull the bus back on the road. In the two weeks we were there this was the second big bus accident we heard about and we also heard about three other mini bus accidents. I don't remember there being that many bus accidents last year, but we were up north and there are not as many vehicles as there are in Lilongwe.

We cleared security in Lilongwe and when we boarded the bus to go to the airplane I had one more look around and wondered if I will ever get to return to this beautiful country. 

                                                           Lilongwe Airport

When we arrived in Jo-burg we had to disembark down the stairs to a waiting bus which I was happy about since it got us out in the warm sunshine one more time. At Jo-burg we got our tickets right through to Toronto, we now had six hours to kill which didn't take long since the airport in Jo-burg has a lot of interesting stores and sites to see. The eleven hour flight to London went by ok I didn't get much sleep, maybe an hour in different cat naps. We arrived in London a bit early so we had to circle for ten minutes and then landed at terminal one. Once we got off the plane we had to transfer to terminal three by bus, now it was minus six and my jackets are in my checked luggage. The temperature didn't bother me as much as I thought because the plane was so hot it was nice to have the cool air.

When we were going through security we discovered that Robert and Bruce were on a later flight than the rest of us, we were scheduled to leave in 1 ½ hours and they were three hours after that. Bruce has and interesting story on the London security check points which you can read on Bruce's Blog the link is under interesting sites to the right.  We didn't realize this fact until we compared out flight numbers so we flew out of London leaving Bruce and Robert to catch up with us later. This flight was a lot more relaxing since it was also only half full so we all had no one beside us and I actually slept for 2 ½ hours. We arrived in Toronto where we will debrief with CCA for two days before returning home and as luck would have it all our luggage also arrived.

My time in Malawi was an experience I will never forget; I met some great people and hopefully helped the Credit Unions that we here working with. The Credit Union movement in Malawi is growing and if they can stay profitable they should continue to help their members for years to come.

Children in Dwangwa 

Rural Malawi

Staff at the Sunbird Lilongwe
Fisherman on Lake Malawi

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