A Travellerspoint blog

Day 154 – Lovely People

23rd February 2012


We were armed with verbal directions to the waterfall and caves as we wandered through the garden trying to avoid the webs of the Kite Spider that had been strung across the path. Our misuse of directions had essentially led us into somebody’s back yard but that wasn’t holding us back. A young boy directed us towards the waterfall. The waterfall was in the nook of the valley, so all we had to do was follow the cliff edge and we’d get there. But we were struggling to find the correct route. A little further along we found a gentleman carrying largest part of a palm tree, roots included, who pointed out that the road to the waterfall might be a more forgiving path rather than moving from yard to yard.

On the road we found two would be guides who could take us to the waterfall and the caves. They did and I regretted my decision to wear flip flops when slipped and fell flat on my arse; in doing so turned into a grumpy sod with a big brown bottom and a wet bum. Somers thought differently, she couldn’t help herself laughing and taking pictures.

After the enjoyment of the waterfall, nice but by no means spectacular, we began our wandering up the road towards the mission. Surrounded by banana groves and coffee plantations the plateau is essentially the edge of the Nyika National Park which disappears west in rolling green mountains. In Livingstonia we met Rakesh, a Londoner who was teaching at the Livingstonia mission and coaching the university football team. Before long we had established that he had a housemate, a Norwegian called Claus, who hadn’t wanted to teach and so had found a cushy little number volunteering at a local honey co-operative. The co-operative had been set up by a Japanese gentleman to make forward progress in establishing a profitable means of existence for the bee keepers of Livingstonia. Since opening they have already won awards and are selling their sweet product in the nearby town of Mzuzu. We couldn’t resist.

The only rub that the co-operative really has is that problems arise when trying to distribute the meagre income amongst members of the co-operative. Should the man with more hives receive a greater share or should the profit be based on weight of honey supplied? If the latter is the case, how does the co-op support the man who has a bad harvest? And all this before the question of re-investing in the business could even be raised. Claus was book keeper and bringer of new ideas. He seemed to be very happy in what had been achieved and was slowly introducing ideas to take the co-op forward. If nothing else, the honey was superb.

We wandered a little longer, visiting a cafe run by the local orphanage for some drinks; we ate samosas, saw the mission church and the famous Stone House where Doctor Laws had lived and we learned that, around these parts, they’re still killing cows with an axe: Up to ten blows to the back of the neck before a kill is recorded.

On our way back through the town a shout rang out from the shady porch of a shop front. Two men were asking for their picture to be taken and we duly obliged. One of the men, James, could not help himself from giggling every time the camera was pointed at him, his smile was infectious.

Heading down to Lukwe we met a group of kids playing in front of their homes. We danced with them and laughed with them, shook hands and took pictures and spoke about their families. They had us smiling from ear to ear and were so refreshing compared to the outstretched hands we’ve seen elsewhere. We made it back in time for our final feast with the Kenyans. It would be a shame to say goodbye to them.

Posted by ibeamish 05:07 Archived in Malawi

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