2009

 

Malawi diary - Jayne - June 2007

Day 2

Got up early to go and have breakfast in the hotel - interesting tea! It was unlike any tea I've ever drunk before, and with any luck, I'll ever drink again! We met with Richard, whose British Airways flight from Heathrow had missed our connecting flight in Johannesburg, so after a 12 hour delay, he had arrived really late last night - we now realised we had even more in common than we thought, because they lost his luggage too! There was nothing for it - we'd have to get some basic replacement items of clothing. It proved easier said than done, because the Lilongwe main shopping area amounted to a handful of shops - limited, to say the least! At least we all managed to get a change of underwear and socks, plus some shirts and trousers of an 'interesting' style. Even after all our years of travelling the globe, there was still more poverty than I have ever seen before, contrasting with the happy, optimistic people on the streets.

Our taxi driver was called Smart, which he certainly was. His parents had died leaving him with 4 brothers and sisters to bring up, and he'd done just that. I invited him to the evening Business Presentation - fine young man - he could do well.

Here we are at the hotel again, for the 2.30 second Business Presentation. Will anyone turn up? Maybe they are all working? But 20 or so arrived and yes, in true African style, as we started the presentation the audience suddenly became 50. Love them to bits - now that I'm aware that most of them have walked miles, I really don't mind. Just before the meeting, I read in a newspaper article that Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world - oh dear, can we build a business here, or will it all be just too hard? Let's wait and see. And still they are coming in! Spoke by telephone with Maria Idigo in Nigeria - her tip was to show it all and see where it takes us, together with big emphasis on the products. John is doing a good talk today. When Otilia introduced us, she told her story about finding Forever through mum. She said that, "Dear Dorothy was late" - what a nice way of putting it. Now the room has over 100 in it.

Well that was a much better meeting! Lovely young woman called Gillian - studied international business in USA - married, and wants a business. Jonathan - already has own business, but excited by Forever. Very mature 19 year old from a good family. Older couple with family in Liverpool. Married couple with the woman partially crippled from a car crash. Just like building the business anywhere else, everyone has a story.

As we started the evening meeting, it was obvious that this would be the smallest so far - 20 in the room. The electricity supply was being very erratic - kept going on and off - oh joy. Then we're off to the hotel restaurant, still plagued by the thought that we don't yet have a car for the 400 km drive to Blantyre tomorrow morning. Nothing available at the airport, nothing from the hotel and even good old Amex are stumped this time. We're supposedly leaving at 8.30 to give us time to get there before the next Business Presentation - this could be a bigger challenge than the lost luggage! Let's sleep on it, see what happens and how we can handle it.

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