Day 299, Monday 29 October 2012 – Kande Beach, Malawi
Wow, a new record – three good sleeps in a row, and I didn’t even need to get up before seven either, fantastic. After breakfast we had a tour of the local village Mbamba led by one of the villagers Samuel l. Jackson. The local people are from the Tonga tribe and are farmers and fishermen, though their income is supplemented by tours and selling local crafts. The people involved in tourism take on western names so it is easy for us to remember. Like Zambia, the local people learn some English at school and take whatever opportunity they can to learn English from westerners.
As we were cleaning up the breakfast dishes, Samuel L. And his brother arrived with the freshly slaughtered pig that was going to be spit roasted over the day for the nights dinner.
We met at the gate of the camp, as I approached I could see the feet of the local hawkers waiting outside, I snuck my camera out of my bag to get a shot before the gate opened or before any of the rest of the group saw what I was doing and changed the dynamic. I wanted to get the whole gate in, but was unable to. I was fairly happy with this though.
The visit was interesting; it was split into two parts – a one hour village walk followed by a walk up to the school and clinic for us hardier types.
As soon as we were out of the gate we were mobbed by the hawkers, we were nicely split up and had two hawkers each, mine were Sisco and Gift. They were 19 and 18 respectively and great guys, Gift especially had fantastic English and over the couple of hours we were together we discussed a number of topics, from politics, through HIV/AIDS to football and village life. I assume they have a prescribed script they start with, though I was pleasantly surprised at how well informed they were. Of course the whole thing was designed to make me spend more money !
We started the walk with a look at a couple of houses, brick making and the water pump that was funded by the Canadians. Samuel L. and the chicken house, the chickens walk up the ladder at night where it is safe from predators.
It was then time to visit the village kindergarten. The kindy is funded by the village and all pre-school children are encouraged to attend. There are about thirty children there, though impossible to count. We arrived just on morning tea and after a couple of minutes of shyness from the kids it was all on as we were flooded with children wanting their photo taken. It was hilarious as they piled in and climbed over each other, it was a lot of fun.
Just as we were leaving the kids sang a few songs and even did a form of the Kamate haka which was really funny. Apparently there was a Kiwi volunteer at the local school a few years back.
The group split into two after the kindy and I went with the group that walked another couple of kilometres to the local school. The school has about 1000 students and 10 teachers, this class has 160 pupils and they all sit on hard concrete floors.
We were given a talk by the head teachers, which was basically a plea for donations, though we had stories that the money does not necessarily go to the school so were hesitant to give cash. The meeting was in the library and there were a few books – a lot of donated paper backs that were totally unsuitable for children, the rest of the books looked dusty and unused – I was disappointed to be honest.
We visited the clinic next, a similar situation, we were shown to a room that really did look rarely used and given a plea for donations. I will say it must be tough to run a clinic here, there are a lot of people with a lot of illnesses and only a couple of nurses, the doctor comes by once a month.
After the clinic we walked back through the town and back to the campsite where we were given an opportunity to invest in the local community and buy some art works. I paid way over the top for four small paintings, but I liked them and they will go with some of the pictures I bought in Asia. I also traded two pairs of used socks for a bracelet Sisco was wearing – hopefully I wont lose this one.
The rest of the day was spent mooching, doing laundry, writing and photographing.
A few of us had a play with photos as the moon rose over the lake shore and then it was dinner time.
After dinner Leonie, Brett and I had a few wines by the chalet overlooking the lake and it was time for sleep at 10:30.