From The Shores Of Lake Malawi

Happy June! (Hi Mama…!)

So, clues I’m starting to shift from Africa back to Canada are stacking up each passing day in fun and unexpected ways!

I ended staying in Mbeya a few extra nights… ate some delicious but ultimately suspect chicken and was rather reactive for a few days…! While resting at a cozy motel I eventually turned on the TV in the room and did I ever sit up and take notice when on came game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals!!!

The next morning I was feeling pretty good and decided to get on a public taxi heading for the Malawi border. Over the speakers of the mini bus I couldn’t help but laugh to hear ‘Shania’ telling me in rather loud and somewhat distorted fashion how she was ‘so glad we made it, look how far we’ve come my baby’..! No kidding!!!

After spending a peaceful night in Karonga, the first border town south of Tanzania, serenaded by the beautiful sound of Lake Malawi (it is huge… I am told it is only shy in size from being classified as a sea) lapping upon the shore, I woke early the next morning in time to watch fishermen heading out onto the water in their wooden boats carved out of large tree trunks while other harvested rice growing in the wetlands alongside the lake… sunrise was gorgeous, rising from behind the mountains of Tanzania on the eastern shore. Later in the day I headed on to Mzuzu, the first large city when one enters Malawi from the north. The hostel I decided to stay at was a short distance out of the center of town and sure, who did I meet there within moments of my arrival…. 3 Canadians! One from Vancouver, 2 from Edmonton… it was really fun to connect and share stories!

Malawi so far, has been one big surprise for me! The beauty, diversity and abundance pouring forth from the land (and water, here) seen in the other countries I’ve visited continues, while in other ways Malawi seems very different. There are many many whites here who appear to run lots of businesses in the urban centers I’ve visited these past few days, many own ‘prime’ real estate ( backpackers hostels, resorts, homes etc…) on the lake shore. Although I saw the biggest ‘World Food Program’ truck I’ve seen so far during this entire journey as we made our way along the winding highway between Karonga and Mzuzu, I have yet to meet one volunteer or aid worker, many people here seem to be following personal pursuits, traveling through, several I’ve heard, came for a week and have stayed a month or 6! I’ve encountered numerous locals and imports alike in their 20’s and 30’s, many walking about with a glazed fuzziness, seemingly immersed in a life currently centered around activities like chilling out and snorkeling aided by partaking in the local brew and herb! I notice a distinctly layed back touristy feeling interspersed between the many barefoot children and local adults trying to earn their daily bread and the rasta colors, dreadlocks I see, combined with competing reggae and religious songs sung in Swahili and the local language of Chichewa I hear, all makes for some kind of interesting plateful for my recovering system to digest!

An example might be… yesterday, as I made my way along a path, in front of me was a woman and child both carrying heavy bundles of wood upon their heads. They froze at a bend in the path, observing something out of my view further along. As I came to stand side by side with them I could see where the path ahead widens into an open area and several whites who had put up a net were in the middle of a volleyball game. Assessing their bottles of beer court side, the total obliviousness to the woman and child (and me for that matter) and the complete taking over of the path by the game players, I stood for a few moments with the locals understanding their wonder as to if/how they could get around this and continue home with their fuel source. An interesting awareness of feeling both African and imported followed for me as I encouraged the holiday-ers to a short time out while walking alongside, sort of welcoming the woman and child to pass and continue on their path…

I’ve only just begun here and today I’ll visit with a traditional healer in a village not far from where I am right now in Nkhata Bay who I’ve heard is working to provide support for the many orphan children there… will no doubt aid in broadening and informing my perspective of where I actually am…

Much Love, Many Blessings,
Catherine

About Catherine Koch

Founder and President of Love Is The Answer, a Canadian registered charity serving orphaned children in Africa.
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