Photo – arriving into Lilongwe.
It still amazes me how far we can travel in such a short time. I find it incredible that I left heavy rain in London and 15 hours later – travelling via Addis Ababa – landed at Malawi International Airport into a completely different culture and the clearest blue sky imaginable!
Flying in over lake Malawi was stunning, looking down at the criss-crossing paths and roads looked no different to any other country, until I tried to spot vehicles – for over ten minutes of flying, I counted just six. I think that is a indication of what’s to come: a beautiful country, friendly people but one of the poorest in Africa with over half the country living below the poverty line.
We were greeted by two lovely members of the WaterAid team as we got off the plane – it wasn’t hard to find us as there were only two commercial planes at the airport! Still, after almost a close call with some temporarily misplaced luggage we arrived in Lilongwe where we met the rest of the country team.
So this trip is all about understanding the impact that WaterAid has on the local communities in Malawi and why the work of WaterAid and all the support we give it is so important. I’m not sure what tomorrow will bring, we’re visiting sites in the capital Lilongwe for the first full day before heading out to other towns and villages later in the week.
As an aside, here are a few stats about Malawi:
Malawi’s a country of 17.4m people, where 2.4 million don’t have access to safe water (that’s the same number as Anglian Water’s customers) and a staggering 14.7m people don’t have access to safe sanitation.
Follow my blog for the rest of the week to find out more about what I see here in Malawi…