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Malawi Backroads

Malawi Backroads

On the Sunday drive from Ntschsi Forest Reserve to Kasungu National Park people were walking the roads in unusual numbers. I have travelled from Lilongwe airport earlier in the week and although there were always occasional walkers, the numbers and variety were not like the Sunday migration. Then it dawned on me. It is Sunday. Traditionally what happens on Sunday. Except for those religions who commune on Friday and Saturday (Malawi tolerates many religions), this is the weekly gathering day. There are colourful costumes, Sunday best, on display. The women often carry children on their backs in a practical batik sling. There are the usual fossil fuel vehicles interspersed with the extraordinary. A livestock powered wagon on the dusty red road or a man pushing a load of wood up a hill on a bicycle. It has not rained in months. Everything is coated in a layer of dust. Everything except the people walking the grittiest roads in the world. They are all polished up for the one day of the week they are not toiling away an agrarian lifestyle in eastern African (unless they are making bricks which appears to go on every day of the week). And many of them have a smile for an obvious visitor to their fair country.

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