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As we entered Malawi we noticed the long lines of cars seemly parked down the side of the roads for miles before petrol stations. We later learned that Malawi was experiencing a diesel shortage, which in turn was affecting the beer supply and cheese supply. Not a situation my birthday dreams were made of.

It’s always a bit hard having a birthday overseas, away from friends and family. It was already planned that one of our three days at Kande beach on the shores of stunning lake Malawi, was going to be a fancy dress party. As we pulled in to the main clothing market, men appeared from seemingly nowhere with bag full of shiny, sequinned, fur covered outfits and ridiculous 70’s jumpsuits. We each had a budget of 500 kwatcha (3 usd) to purchase a complete outfit for the person who’s name we drew out of a hat.

The next day, was the nominated party day. With two Acacia trucks at the same campsite, chaos was due to ensue. While I mindlessly sat on the beach and swam, little did I know that by the truck the party was taking shape. Our driver paul, lit a bonfire to roast two goats for dinner. Fiona, our tour leader mixed up two massive coolers of punch (alcoholic contents are still a mystery) and balloons and streamers were hung.

As the party time approached I made attempts to shower. An extremely helpful Greg offered to grab my things from the truck. Hmmm suspicious. As I waited by the tent he reappeared with two metal mugs and a bottle of champagne. We sat on the beach watching the sky turn from vibrant blue to dusty pink.

With the bottle empty we realised we were late for the punch party. As I rounded the corner of the truck, noise makers blared, party hats were on and I was welcomed with a very loud and enthusiastic Happy Birthday.

Over the next few hours outfits were traded, goat was eaten and vast quantities of punch was consumed. The night past in a sparkly, flesh barring, photo taking blur.

If the hangover the next day is any way to judge to success of the night before, than let’s just say it was an epic night. Thanks to everyone in the group who made my birthday an amazing experience, and not one I will quickly forget.