We hopped on a minibus to Salima early on May 6th (having stayed in Lilongwe overnight) on our way to visit Gene.
Quick aside: for those of you who are new to the blog (or have forgotten) Gene (also known as Ugeni) was a JF while I was in Malawi in 2013. Our work was very similar and we had the same coach so we got to be quite close.
We rolled into the bus depot and saw blazing white skin (comparatively, Gene is actually quite tan) and a familiar face. From the bus depot we went to Gene’s house, did laundry and talked about life, work and whatever else floated across the backyard. We spent the day wandering around (i.e. eating ice cream, shopping and visiting the District Council) and the evening with her roommates. They cooked us nsima ndi nyama with the power out.
It was a simple day but it’s amazing how much meaning can be packed into those days. When I last visited Salima it was to see it through Anthony’s eyes, he was living in a different part of town so I got a completely different perspective from Gene. It was also the first time that we had stayed in a home rather than a guesthouse during our trip. The comfort of waking up surrounded by other people and having a home cooked meal (if people tell you nsima is the same wherever it’s not true) was a welcome relief.
The next morning Gene hopped on a bike taxi to work and we balanced our way towards the bus depot on the back of three more bike taxis. Clambering onto an almost full mini bus that left immediately marked the end of very successful visit.