Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Mangochi retreat

...Here are some notes I made while I was there...

Had a three hour minibus journey to get to Mangochi from Zomba. It was K2,500 so about 5 pounds. It was such an experience. As you can imagine, all packed in like sardines. Unfortunately for most of the journey someone was actually carrying fish so that wasn’t great. All in all though, so much fun.

I arrived at the township bus depot and had arranged for the owner of the lodge where I am staying to pick me up as it was about 12km away. I arrived at the place and it was just leading up to the sunset, around 5pm. It had an amazing location, right on the lake front, with a nice sandy beach. Met some great people here working at a school for orphans. One lady from the US had retired and decided to try and set up a social business where she sells things the kids are learning how to sew. It was so lovely to meet her and the other people who are volunteering there. It’s very quiet here though, just nice and peaceful. Last night they had brai, which is basically a huge BBQ where they cook lots of meat.

I'm sleeping in an old thatched chalet which is very quaint and fairly basic, but has such charm. Lots of noises outside as there are so many birds and insects around and villages either side. All in all it’s a incredibly weird yet wonderful place. It seems that the owners are quite old and a bit bonkers and its looking for the next generation to take over soon and give the place a spruce up and bring in more visitors. That said, it’s a beautiful place and I’m grateful for the few days down time being able to enjoy the peace and scenery and have time for things to just percolate for a bit as I try to make sense of all the information I've gathered these last few weeks...

Over the next few days I spent time on and around the beach and sitting in an old chair my room in the chalet looking down at the beach, doing bits of work here and there, letting things settle in their place. There were also some more social things that happened:
  • Had a dutch pancake breakfast organised by a lady who stays here each year for two and a half months supporting a children’s village. It was a lovely breakfast with nice company. 
  • After putting some of my best evening clothes on and starting to walk to the bar for a bit of work over a drink some young local boys started talking to me. One of them was trying to sell me a small fish. We ended up having a football match – England vs. Malawi. Sadly, England lost 7-5. We had a rematch the following day and sadly England didn't redeem itself.
  • Watched the fishermen get into two lines and pull in a long long rope from a km or more out at sea to bring in their catch. The nets are taken out earlier that day and sometimes they are hauled in very early in the morning. This time it was an afternoon catch and the catch was all just full of small fish, seemingly due to the practice of using nets with holes the size of mosquito nets which is depleting the fish reserves.

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