Malawi Blog No.4 - 'Most Welcome...'


Hi all

Yesterday on the way to a national wildlife reserve we passed through a township within walking distance to us – very colourful and we made a note to return. We were off to go to the reserve to see some of the surrounding animals – I'd heard there were birds, not my favourite, but when in the land of fellow Scot David Livingstone the least we could do was explore – in the hottest part of the day (40 degrees) with one bottle of water between me and Donald, a Boots carrier bag, and no food. The guide wasn't available so the park ranger – perhaps spotting our exploration heritage (or maybe it was the barely concealed fear?) said we'd be just fine, and 'hoped to see us return'. Did I say there were hyenas? 

So, back to our day off. We went off on trail no.2, we were told not to go wandering to the other trails. Within 30 mins we were sunwashed, with no fluids, armed with a Boots carrier bag and good well-proven hyena-escaping footware – sandals. We heard a few sharp calls but ventured on. After an hour we had seen a blue monkey family and the backside of a baboon. There was also a bounding deer that wasn't a deer (David Attenborough eat your heart out..). We finally made it back and the guard looked more relieved than Donald or I. 

We decided to walk back through the township on the way to our lodge. It was bustling with kids. The township was called Bwelera. We saw a sign for a recording studio and hung about outside. Soon one of the guys from Ckyrah Records invited us in. We all decamped to a small room in the sparse house which was a little studio. We were sweltering, the local guys had hats and jackets on. Lucky was the artist being recorded (pictured). It was authentic Malawian music, he even had accompanying videos, which featured he and his mates singing to camera but also had big budget intercepts from The Passion Of Christ and Hotel Rwanda. We had to admire their lack of concern for copyright. We'd now met a 'Lucky' and a 'Happy' in one day (our taxi driver). 

We walked on and found ourselves in a local beer shack, part of 'Arthur's' house (pictured in shirt and tie). He was a local banker and was back to his old township 'where my wife cant find me,' he said. He tried to get our banking custom. He was so friendly and told us about 5 times we were 'most welcome'. We sat with him and a few others and had a beer. I needed to visit the toilet, the one from drinking too much water not the other kind. Even though I was still looking over my shoulder for hyenas. Arthur escorted me around to the fly-ridden urinal trough. 'You are most welcome', he said again, motioning with his arm where I was to do my business: 'MOST welcome!' he said again and again. I can only report that he stood there smiling for 2 more minutes while my situation got more serious. 'Thanks, thankyou Arthur, I'll just…' 'Most welcome my friend, you have everything you need here?" He was very proud of his abode. Relief over I returned and he nodded with more pride. 

Soon he got the message. I liked the sign on their wall.

On the way up the hill out of Bwelera some children were go-karting on a homemade Kart. Never seen anything like this. Donald filmed them coming down the hill and their laughter at seeing their images back at them in will stay with me. 

Last night we heard at the lodge that an elderly man had been killed in the area by 2 hyenas.