November 13, 2011

The African Youth Climate Justice Caravan- Winnie's Diary

Day 4-10thNov 2011

Dar- Iringa
Thursday blues.....I wake up so late as I had slept even later. Its time to leave and the journey to Iringa starts in earnest. Down the valleys and up the hills.....beautiful place this is and I can’t help but marvel at the abundance of Gods’ creation in this part of the world.
We all collect petitions at each stop and hope that we have left an indelible mark. My Swahili is much polished am so proud of myself. We get to camp in the evening do an assessment of how the day was like and ways to move forward.
.Day 5-11thNov 2011
Iringa – Chitimba
This is one of the special stretches we’ve passed through. Imagine seeing elephants, giraffes, throw in the grand gazelle and zebras , then hurray thats the no cost, in the comfort of the truck all lining the nearby bushes as if standing in solidarity with the campaign and wishing us well.....We have faith Indeed!
And now imagine a world where all this species are threatened because of climate change, when they can no longer be able to survive in an environment extremely altered by humans.......
Then we get to the Tanzania-Malawi border where we are pleasantly surprised to be welcomed by a whole bus of the Malawi 'We Have Faith Campaign team as well as Red Cross First Aiders they have marshalled for the entire duration of our stay in Malawi.It is also here that we bid farewell to the Tanzania' Have Faith Secretariat members who have been with us since Namanga border and escorted us all the way to the Malawi border.....A big shout to Goodluck, Dietrich & Abel :)
Then we get into Malawi and as we past the drying rivers which are supposed to flow into Lake Malawi, I can’t help but imagine a dry lake if nothing is not urgently done.
We arrive in camp in the evening and set up then prepare food. Today Ugali is on the Menu and you can see the smiles on the faces of the Kenyans....been long, so I guess!
Day 6-12thNov 2011
It’s about 5 am when I wake up. It’s already daylight here and you would think its 8am in the morning already. The waters of Lake Malawi are insanely inviting so I go in for a quick swim which ends up being a totally refreshing and invigorating exercise.Lake Malawi has over 500 fish species in it, one of the largest in any of the lakes in the world plus it stretches for hundreds of kilometres......If ever a lake was beautiful.
We then leave and head out, going up the 28corners which make the road up the lake towards Mzuzu.The Malawi team that came to receive us at the border is still with us, they will be here till we cross over to Zambia....
It’s a 2hour drive to Mzuzu and we stop close to a market where we collect so many petitions, do the ‘It’s Hot in here’ flash mob song then Ten Sing give a performance, Vuvuzela and his crew entertain the crowd and then it’s time for the ‘Shosholoza’ song by the South Africans. Then it’s all over after community members are given some Tshirts as a token for answering questions on climate change .The crowd is totally fired as we get back on our trucks to head off.
The communities here are well informed on climate change issues and easily answer questions put to them. Here they talk of long periods of drought, unpredictable rainfall coupled by severe flooding and a multiplicity of other issues that have left them in a web of an almost intractable poverty. What stands out are the efforts communities have put in to address climate change-use of energy saving jikos, planting tress, growing drought resistant varieties etc- it only means our leaders have to do more to match up these efforts.- Tilindichi Kulupililo!



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