Saturday we felt like getting some exercise and exploring Blantyre. Instead of asking a driver to come and get us, we decided to do the 45 minute walk into Blantyre city center. Although most of the walk was downhill, it was not an easy stroll. Not only was it like hiking, watching out for large rocks and holes, but it was in the 80’s and more humid than most days here.
The city center was pretty busy, but it felt very safe. Everyone was friendly; one young man shouted to us “Welcome! Feel at home here!”
We decided to stop at the Mt. Soche Hotel, one of the nicest hotels in the region, for a drink. The hotel has a patio overlooking beautifully sculpted gardens with the mountains in the background. It was great to relax in the shade after a tiring walk into town. Sandy had a fanta orange, and I tried the “fanta passion,” a popular but a very sweet drink in Malawi. I probably should have just gone for a beer.
We walked around town for another hour or so and decided to head back home. We started up the main hill, along the busy road. I don’t know how to describe what happened, except to say that I “fell out.” I don’t know if it was the lack of lunch, the heat, the sweet fanta, the medicine I’d taken in the morning or what, but I felt so poorly that I literally couldn’t walk another step. I had to sit down right there beside the road. People passed us, staring; Sandy started to get worried and encouraged me to walk the 100 yards to the bus lot where we might get a ride home. I felt so awful, I couldn’t even make it that far.
A police man, sitting in a minivan that was pulled over on the road beside us, called Sandy over. He was very nice and after asking how we enjoyed Blantyre, said “is the lady sick?” Sandy explained, and this kind policeman, said he would go check with his boss in the police truck nearby to see if he could give us a ride home. His boss agreed and they loaded us up into the back of the truck. I didn’t care that all of the people on the street were looking at us confused. I have never been so appreciative; they took us all to way to our apartment. Our neighbor, surprised by our police escort, offered to take me to the hospital if needed.
Sandy opened the door to our apartment and I just flopped down on the floor in the kitchen. After being a little sick at home, drinking some water and a cold towel on my head, I ended up being fine. This morning, I feel great, but I know, that without those generous policemen, I would still be sitting there on the side of the road.