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April 1st 2013
Published: April 1st 2013
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phew! its good to be back online again! i feel like i havn't written in so long and i don't like it!!!

We were very busy bee's whilst in Iringa - we shall miss it very much. after a ropey start getting robbed, and the stark realisation that the company that we were volunteering with lied extensively on their website (seriously, we were living in SUCH a sh*t hole!!), we genuinely grew to love that place. Neither of us had been overly impressed with Tanzania as a whole, (don't get me wrong - there are some incredible places and we have seen and done some once in a lifetime things, but as a country i guess it was slightly lacking in the homey, modest beauty that perhaps Uganda had) however, Iringa really did feel like a home from home. i would happily go back one day - in fact, many of the other volunteers we met are doing just that. with pledged orphanages and land plots being looked at by everyone else, we almost felt inferior waving goodbye and merrily moving on to the next project!! but we know that whichever project we feel we have connected with most will get a good helping hand from us when we get back home and organised. Plus we bought chickens for Kili Kids, and self funded a huge advertising board for FISCH - what more could they possibly ask for??!!!

Iringa was like a village from middle earth or some such fantastical place. literally set in the ravine between several large hills/mountains the landscape was utterly green and forresty, and if you climbed any one of these (yeah i reckon they were) mountains, all you could see beyond were even more mountains (some of them - in the distance - were bonefide large enough to be actual mountains) and just one windy dirt track coming in from the South and one windy dirt track going out to the North. and like a giant of old had sprinkled an array of crumbly croutons onto each and every mountain, massive boulders littered the hillsides everywhere you looked in varying degrees of climbability. Maff and i were adventurous enough to climb a few, and at times i nearly pooed myself because they were the kind of boulders that looked very gnarly and easy to grip onto, but half way up they changed their minds. and once i even had to squeeze myself into a terrifyingly narrow slice cut into the boulder and kind of wriggle upwards and risk almost certain stuck-ness (which i artfully avoided) because i was too scared to climb this horrible inverted bit which overhung about a 20foot drop into total darkness..... Maff was a hero and managed it - even he was a bit sweaty of palm though!!! good job we were with Mark - some kind of rock climbing/mountain goat man who always went first and advised the best ways to go!! probs would have given up if it were just us!!!

where Kili Kids felt like proper hard work, working at FISCH really felt like we were contributing. we loved the things we worked on there - i know how much Mote and Atu (the Tanzanian couple who were in charge) valued the volunteers and what we could help them achieve. we re-decorated, and organised the Saturday social clubs, and helped to feed the kids, and helped with home visits and school visits for the kids. maff also made this advertising A board (which was well pro) and i wrote an idiot proof sponsorship manual for future volunteers to continue on the work that we did into setting up a system to sponsor children back into education. good job we decided to stay 5 weeks instead of only 2!! its so handy to be on no schedule!!

so before we moved on to Malawi like we were planning, some of the other volunteers decided that they wanted to go and see Lake Malawi from the Tanzania side (Lake Nyassa to Tanzanians). happily we tagged along and i'm really glad we did as it was such a great few days. the resort was so beautiful and the water was lovely and warm! we all stayed together in a large family room and just chilled and swam and snorkeled. also, there were some crazy crazy electrical storms out in the centre of the lake which rumbled almost constantly and lit up the entire sky with mental colours - its was actual spectacular viewing. one time Mark and i swam out a little further than normal whilst the lightening was hitting the lake ahead of us (was really scary!!) and then this literal bolt of lightening zapped horizontally down from the sky like a Zeus bolt or a voldermort strike - no beginning or end to the strike - just this white zigzag that looked like someone had lobbed it up ahead of us. i have never seen anything like it - it was mind blowing. but then it also really sh*t me up and i had to swim in cos i was too scared that we might get electrocuted!!!!!!! doh!

and we are now in Malawi. its just too beautiful for words here, its more like Uganda again. green and tropical and lush and heaving with character. mountains, waterfalls, churning rivers, paddy fields, pastures, teeny rush roved villages, the lake, and hardly any traffic. its fab - we love it! we have no particular plan in mind for the moment, we are just content to lazily wander our way around the lake and stop at all the beaches and soak up the sun (in between the rain) and avoid the mozzies (maff has no fewer than 17 bites on his little white bum right now!!) and i have a constellation of bites on my arm too 😞 the buggers.

we will try to blog a little better now that we are out of the very rural areas, but no promises mum!! lots of love to all and a very happy Easter....... xxxxxxxxxxxx

ps, maff says " oh.... i dont know any Malawian words yet...!!!!"


8th April 2013

Hey, So great to finally see some blog action. Set myself up to recieve the notifications and then didn't get any. Had to look in my junk folder for a mail I was expecting from a contact not yet in my address book and saw you had blogged. So all the notifications had been going there - DOH! Such an idiot for not thinking to check sooner. Anyways sounds like you are having an amazing time and making a real difference. Can't wait to see you both and your amazing photo's up close and personal - the little images on facebook look pretty amazing but I'm sure don't do them justice. Lots of Love Tab xxx

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