It was 2014 and my colleagues and I decided to do something fun together and plan a road trip to Mulanje. Someone knew someone with a car we could use for the trip so the eight of us pooled some money together for fuel, snacks and alcohol and we were good to go. It started out great, with spirits high and the drinks flowing (except for our designated driver) then about halfway to Mulanje, we had our first break down. Not ones to miss an opportunity, we used the time to set up an impromptu photo shoot while the guys tried to figure out what was wrong (sometimes you simply let gender roles happen).
They fixed whatever was wrong and we set off again. Only to break down just as we got into Mulanje. Yeah, not a great harbinger for the day ahead. Luckily enough, the second break down happened near a mechanic, and a plan was hatched – we’d leave the car with the mechanic, set off for our destination by bus and come back for the car at the end of the day to head back to Blantyre. Deal.
We got on a bus and continued the journey, spirits still high, joking and laughing. The buses stopped before we could get to our destination and from there, we each had to hitch a ride on a kabaza (bicycles for transportation) which was a laugh. Finally, we made it to Hapuwani and proceeded to have lunch and went for a swim.
After this, somebody had the bright idea of convincing us to go check out Kara O’Mula since we were already in Mulanje and it was “close by” (spoiler alert: somebody lied). We were having fun and the idea of an adventure sounded awesome so the group agreed. We got dressed and set off on foot.
Y’all. The hike up to Kara O’Mula was the longest twenty minutes of my life. What had sounded like a good idea at the time was turning out to be the worst. Everyone was drunk and tired and although we tried to keep things lively, we were all done. We just wanted to reach Kara O’Mula and regret our decision in peace. When we finally arrived, the view took our breath away and nearly made up for the hike. They had a pool and we decided we might as well go for another swim, since we’d come all the way and had to make the most of it. So we swam, ate, finished the drinks and took more pictures. It was a blast.
Afterwards, everyone decided there was no way we’d make the trip back down the mountain on foot so we managed to find a minibus to come get us and take us back to the car. Which: surprise, surprise… still wasn’t fixed. In the end we had to call someone from Blantyre to come and bail us out and tow the car all the way from Mulanje back to Blantyre. They came. But didn’t bring the equipment required to tow a car. The makeshift rope they used kept breaking no matter how many times they tried to make it work (I’ll give you an idea: a lot) and it made for the longest ride back ever. On the bright side? We spent that time singing all manner of songs out loud from the tops of our voices, because the car radio was dead and we refused to be defeated.
So it was definitely an eventful trip – and the best trip of my life because even though it had its many, many plot twists… it was a great time with great people and we made the absolute best of it. I’ve left out the arguments that occurred (and the tears) but that’s a blog post for another day!
We have since gone on more road trips as a group and I’m pleased to report that they were decidedly less disastrous. But this one will always be my favourite.