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Day 153 – Livingstonia – The Mission

22nd February 2012


Livingstonia is a mission that was founded in 1875 by the Free Church of Scotland. The mission had originally been based in Cape Maclear at the southern end of Lake Malawi, but the malaria transmitting mosquitoes were maintaining a high death rate and the mission had to move. It moved north to Bandawe but still the missionaries gained no reprieve from the flying merchants of death and so it moved again this time not only north but also skywards. It moved to the top of a plateau that had the benefit of an altitude less desirable to the Amosquito and with a splendid view out onto the Lake itself.

A little later on (almost present day) a Belgian named Haug (we never did get the spelling) built a sustainable, eco friendly, perma-culture lodge and campsite on some land that he’d been allowed to rent by the chief. He tamed the land, cultivated it and built upon it and he named it Lukwe. The Lonely Planet told Huag that they would visit and they did, eventually, a little drunk.They later declared in their little book of stories that Haug serves fantastic lasagne. (Haug smiles explaining that he has never served lasagne.) The Bradt people came and said that he did amazing vegetarian dishes, ( vegetarian dishes are offered but their quality is variable in our experience, n=2, 1 positive and 1 negative, in our opinion) later still and a couple of Belgians visited, Belgians who we just so happened to have met back in Mabuya Camp in Lilongwe and they told us Haug served amazing steaks. Only the last group had any consistent truth, but by God that cow did not die in vain.

We’d spoken to the ‘Fantastic four (and a half)’ of Deon, Richard, Emily (and bump) and Flo and had gotten on so famously that we were keen to continue the jaunt up the hill. Lukwe was balanced on the edge of a steep slope that looked out over a forested valley onto fields that lead to the sandy beach of Lake Malawi whose waters lead to the horizon. The tag word ‘permaculture’ implies that all the produce used by the business is grown on site and Haug has cultivated one of the most interesting and impressive market gardens we’ve ever visited. He was growing pineapples, mangoes, passion fruits and peas. Air potatoes (the most bizarre thing I’ve ever seen,) ground potatoes, chillies, coffee beans and dozens more plants, fruits and vegetables grew in his garden all watered by a spring with channels dug to irrigate the ground. Goats, rabbits and chickens provided fertiliser for the ‘crops’ and our toilets were long drops of a sort but had with them a ‘two scoops’ rule. Following every use one scoop of earth and one scoop of ashes, both supplied, must be sprinkled down on to the dung to help it compost. It will eventually provide more fertiliser in the garden. (It doesn’t bear to think about his last cycle too closely.) The place was quite simply stunning. We arrived late in the day and perched, with drinks, upon the decking on the edge of the cliff; the Mission could be explored the following day.

Posted by ibeamish 05:02 Archived in Malawi

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