Last week,we went to a very interesting talk,given to the wild-life trust of Malawi,by Geoff &Patsy,the Nyika trust managers, all about the work they do up on the plateau, including,controlled burning,bridge and road repairs. Two of their guys also spoke which was brave of them as they had never done anything like it before. Well attended meeting, Michael showed them a few photos of vwaza – I think they were impressed by the number of animals we are seeing so hopefully word will spread which is good.
Spent last week-end visiting Nkhata Bay (Lake Malawi),roughly three hours drive from where we are now staying. Rather bizarrely,when almost there,another Land-rover flashing it’s lights as it came towards us,turned out to be Luke & Shelley,from the UK, whom we had spent time with in Brazzaville,Congo, whilst trying to obtain our Angolan Visa’s…….a small world considering the amount of miles travelled between us.(they’ve been to Cape Town and back) As it happened they were coming to visit us, but sadly we were heading in the opposite direction,however we parked up on the side of road and had a good old chin-wag,by the time we said good-bye at least fifty villagers had gathered around !
Found a lovely little room at Mayoka Lodge,built into the very steep hillside,overlooking crystal clear,turquoise waters ,perfect for swimming and snorkelling. This is definitely “The Happening
place” with many back-packers/volunteers staying,we had a good chat to two lovely Israeli girls who are volunteering in Zomba, Southern Malawi and had just come for a break. Seeing all these young people made me miss our girls all the more,but we did have some good long-distance chats at the w/e.
We ate some delicious fresh fish from the lake…..actually we ate far too much the entire week-end !
Returned to Vwaza,for the working week to commence, Michael’s been busy,measuring up more staff houses with George 2 and having meetings with George 1, in his spare time he likes to make catapults and bread.(I know I’m meant to be the cook and I do all the other stuff,but he does rather fancy himself as the master baker…….you can imaging ,I’m sure !!) The catapult is definitely needed though,as the monkeys constantly want our food. I know I packed ours for Africa ,but can’t find them anywhere.
Michaels been assessing the park workers housing so we can put a work programme together. In one of the outlying camps the women walk 3 to 4 kilometres every night to collect 40 litres of water which they carry back on their heads – try it, that’s over 80lbs. One got bitten by a snake last week and is in hospital. Michael and Geoff were not impressed as the water system is all there and has been for 4 years all it needs is a solar panel and a pump – a firm kick is required ,we think.
Emma told me to do this bit.
Visiting the camp office last week, Kennedy the senior ranger called me over and showed me two local hand made guns – brilliant examples of African ingenuity. These are made by local poachers using water pipe and are essentially flintlocks.The detonation is carried out by the hammer hitting a small primer pipe filled with match heads, this then triggers the main gunpowder charge which is made using fertiliser. All done by guys who have never been to school using hardly any tools.