As often seems to be the way with my experience of overseas trips, there is ZERO time for planning/packing. This trip was no different. It wasn't the first time I had been to Malawi for the Madonna adoption story, in fact, I had been there just two week earlier. But...this time there were better pics to be had, hence the blog post.
Dashing over to London Heathrow airport, only a few hours notice, with a hastily packed bag, it was time to go and find the family of the two children Madonna had adopted.
Arriving in Lilongwe half a day later - we hit the ground running, finding Madonna's private jet at the very airport we just landed at. Later, I stood for a couple of hours, watching, waiting for the plane to show any signs of leaving. Eventually the engines spooled up and people started boarding - alas, with a 200mm lens and the near pitch dark, I couldnt get close enough to see if I had captured Madonna.
With this proving semi-successful, the next day we hit the streets in a village about 100km out of the centre. Our fixer, Peter, doing an amazing job of tracking down people who knew various family members of the two sisters that had been adopted. With light fading, we were told that the village was "a short drive" down a track. What they didn't tell us was just how muddy it was. Within 200 meters we were badly stuck, in the pitch black.
After about an hour of digging, and an unhelpful 4x4 that simply drove past us, we made it out. Vowing to get a proper 4x4 and head back tomorrow.
We returned the next day with a beefy Nissan 4x4, which I insisted I drive, of course. Channeling my inner rally driver, we made it down the road (I say road...) and into the village.
The reporter, Paul, spoke to various people and relatives of the sisters who Madonna adopted whilst I wondered around snapping away, and taking in the amazingly different culture.
Success. We came away with a fantastic story and a great set of pictures. An exclusive. The thrill of doing overseas jobs wont wear off for me - its amazing to be able to work in a different country and see a completely different culture.
More pictures can be seen on the Mail Online here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4214416/Sisters-Madonna-s-newly-adopted-twins-happy.html