The next morning I was looking so forward to the boat trip offering cliff jumping, snorkeling, and fish eagle feeding. I soon learned it had been canceled because I was the only one person signed up, me! I was upset but soon learned there was another trip on Tuesday for free rather than $10! I guess that is why no one was signed up!
I spent the morning swimming, sun bathing, and relaxing. I also read most of the day because I have a goal to finish all the books I brought with me before I go home. Around 2:00 I met two American girls, Leah and Kyla who had just arrived in Malawi a week ago. They came over after they heard me talking and just knew right away I was American! I soon learned they were both pre-med students at Stanford and were volunteering in Malawi for their summer break. I learned Kyla was from Sudbury, MA! We spent the day hanging out and soon met Joel, a Canadian currently mapping sustainable bike routes in Malawi for an organization he and his family have started. Check out his website Bring Your Own Bike
We all bonded and before you know it we were in the water canoeing and swimming together. I have never fallen in love with a group of individuals so quickly. It was as if we knew one another before meeting. I really enjoyed their company as they were filled with stories, wisdom, and great insight. It was so nice talking to them about our lives back home in North America and our experiences thus far in Malawi!
We spent the night playing cards and drinking together. We stayed up till 7 AM to watch the sun rise on Lake Malawi! What a beautiful sight!
I got a bit emotional when I really started to think about how hard it is meeting people you get to know so much about and then within a few days everyone is back on the road either in an office, on a bike, or in the field. I never felt a connection like this before with someone and knew I wanted to see Joel, Kyla, and Leah again!
Joel and I convinced the girls to stay another night which was really exciting. I did not want anyone to leave! We spent the next day at breakfast together, then in the afternoon we did some canoeing, reading, card playing, drinking, and everything in between. We had really nice pizza for dinner and were joined by friends Helge and Nathalie from Belgium!
Kyla and Leah left Monday morning after breakfast. We decided we would try and do something next weekend together so we exchanged emails and would be in touch when we both were back in the office. In the morning I was expecting Hlupe to be traveling to Nkhata Bay to meet up with me. We were beginning a week long project to try and get some of our sewing products on the market for tourist consumption. I called her in the morning to see if she was en route but soon learned plans had changed because of fuel shortages in Kasungu. Go figure! She said she was going to try and get up on Tuesday but could not guarantee there would be any fuel for the cars.
With plans quickly changing, I decided to do client visits and interviews at the MicroLoan office in Nkhata Bay. The office was about a mile from Mayoka, which was really convenient. When I arrived I was greeted by our Loan Officer Ruth and Branch Manager Brighton. I went into the market with Ruth and interviewed farming clients growing tomatoes, sweet potatoes, mustard, beans, and groundnuts. About three hours later we went back to the office to meet a loan group and I called it a day.
I headed back to Mayoka and met up with the crowd. I had dinner and had a very long conversation with Joel. Afterwards we hung out at the bar with friends till 5AM! I said goodbye to Joel and he was off 30 minutes later!
Three hours later I called Hlupe to see if she managed to find any fuel for the vehicle but did not so I decided I would need to head back to Kasungu Wednesday morning. I went back to the MicroLoan Nkhata Bay office and did some group visits for the day with Ruth. I arrived back at Mayoka around 3 PM and saw a crowd of people waiting by the lake. They were waiting for the boat trip that I totally forgot about! There happened to be engine problems so it had not left when expected so I managed to take part in the trip as well.
The coast was spectacular! Lush vegetation grows along the shore as lodges and huts dot the coast. We motored along until the engine came to a roaring halt and the boat guide began whistling. Within seconds there was a call back! What was it? We threw small fish into the water and out swooped the fish eagle from the tree tops to begin taking part in the feeding. It was amazing! I have never been so close to a bird of prey before. Afterwards we began having engine troubles and it soon failed us. We paddled our way back and then anchored for a bit to do some scuba diving. We were told the site we were exploring was the remnants of an old village back in the day so I thought that was really cool. There were all sorts of multi colored fish, I felt as if I was diving some coral reef!! Following we continued paddling back and arrived at the loge right before sunset.
I moved to a new room as I had not planned on staying an additional night so I had to pack up my things when I got back from the boat trip. It was gorgeous! Private porch with a beautiful window seat looking out into the lake!
I had a relaxing night and played some pool with Mayoka staff and then called it a night. I was tired and needed to wake up early to catch the bus back to Kasungu!
Malawi just keeps getting better and I know I am going to miss it here so much! I almost have three weeks left and I already don’t want to leave. I have fallen in love with the work of MicroLoan Foundation and all the great individuals I have come to know and meet!
Peace, Love, and Malawi