Saturday, 15 May 2010

Investigation period


As a part of the volunteer program in Africa we DI's (Development Intructors) have the “investigation period” that is a period of one week or more days you can visit other projects throughout the country or you also can visit a place of your interest that you think is important to know more about the country you work as a volunteer. I did both things, first I went to visit DAPP Second Hand projects in Mzuzu, in the North of Malawi, after that I went to Likoma Island, in Lake Malawi. As DAPP Second Hand projects there are two second hand clothes and shoes shops, one is retail shop that also have second hand books, and the other shop is a wholesale of second hand clothes. There is also the “production” that is the place where clothes and books arrive from outside the country to be sorted and delivered to the shops in Mzuzu and Karonga.

I live in south of Malawi, Blantyre, so this time I went to another part of the country that is quite different from south. The people there prefer to eat kondowle that is a kind of nsima, their staple food. It is similar to nsima but kondowle is made by cassava flour instead of maize flour. I tasted it, and after I ate it I felt very full. It's heavier than nsima in the stomach!

After I visit Mzuzu, I went to Likoma Island. To travel to there I used Ilala Ferry that goes from Monkey Bay, south of the lake, to Chilumba, north of the lake. To go to Likoma you need to take the ferry when it does the way north to south and to go back you need to wait 5 days on the island until the ferry go back on south-north way. I took the ferry in Nkhata Bay and bought the first deck ticket, K2,800. The first class deck is where the tourists usually travel because the other classes are not only crowded with people but all the stuff they need to bring to the island: banana, cassava, sweet potato, maize, flower, rice, fish, chicken, crates of soft drinks and many other things. The travel is at night and takes 6 hours, so I rented a mattress to sleep during the travel. Some people put tents on the deck.



Likoma Island is a fantastic place with unique vegetation of grass and baoba trees, and so clear water that you can do snorkelling and see 10m or more in front of you. The electricity on the Island is provided by generators and goes off at 22:00. I stayed at Mango Drift lodge a good place to relax without that guys selling handicrafts on the beaches that sometimes annoy you trying to sell their things. For me this place was the most beautiful at Lake Malawi.

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