Chitimba Stream

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    • Day 36

      Chitimba Camp Day 2

      December 30, 2019 in Malawi ⋅ ☁️ 25 °C

      The heat and humidity of the night had given me that feeling that I was trying to breathe under water which made for a difficult night's sleep. I also still had very sharp pains in my foot as I was getting up in the morning from the urchin spine in my ankle. This combination left me feeling very tired and a bit low in mood. I had some breakfast and decided that I wouldn't do the whole village tour I'd planned to do, as it would require a lot of walking on my painful ankle, but instead just visit the local 'witch doctor' which would have been a part of the tour anyway. However, this way I could see the African shaman on my own and find out more about how he practiced. Two young local men, Robert and Steve, took me to see the village healer. They were nice young men and said that they rated their local healer and visited him themselves. He was apparently very ethical in that, if he felt he could heal someone he would, but if it was a condition that he couldn't remedy he would send them to the local hospital. Interestingly, the local hospital would send people to him for healing that they couldn't heal themselves, so there was a nice reciprocity of traditional and western medicine. I talked to Robert and Steve along our walk to see the shaman to find out more about their lives. Robert had been studying a mechanical engineering degree but his sponsor for his fees died suddenly and he had to end his studies - this showed the precarious nature of young people's education in East Africa. Steve was studying to be a midwife and a nurse and carved wooden sculptures (as many local people do in Chitimba) in the holidays to help supplement his fees for studying. Malawi children do get free primary school education learning their tribal language (6 in Malawi), the common national language, and English. However, they have to pay for secondary education which many cannot afford.
      After a 15 minute walk through the village and along a main road, we turned off to a few traditional mud brick houses where the shaman practiced. I was met by many young children who took my hand and sat down all around me, touching the hair on my arms and legs, my rucksack, clothes and seemed completely fascinated by my differences to what they would normally experience. The shaman was preparing himself in his hut and eventually gave the signal for me to come in. I entered a small room with three stools for me, Steve and Robert to sit on and one stool for the shaman. Steve and Robert did some drumming and the shaman came in with a reddish brown, short sleeved tunic, with red stitched crosses on it, and a big wide belt made of metal bell shaped vessels which clattered together as he moved. He began dancing in front of me and making an occasional strong guttural noise with a strong out breath. The local children and a couple of adults came in and sat in the room, watching on in fascination. He then beckoned me to dance with him which I did in front of an audience of respectful locals - he seemed gratified by my participation. Steve and Robert explained to me what was happening and what to do next and served as translators because the shaman never went to school and didn't speak English. His father was the medicine man before him, as is the traditional lineage, and taught him local plant medicine from a young age. The young shaman then danced around me in one circle and pushed a white painted stick he was carrying against my chest for several seconds. I learned from him that he did this procedure to feel my energy and discover any sickness or illness in my body. The shaman had lost his father at the age of about 16 years and had gone into the wild mountains of Livingstonia for several months, dreaming of his father, who taught him, through his dreams, to gather medicinal plants which he later brought back to the village for healing. As I asked questions through my friendly translators, the shaman explained that as he walked around me, the spirit of his father helped him sense the area of the my body that needed healing. He also said that he mainly used local plants and roots which he ground together in powders for different healing properties. Then he pointed his stick at the exact point on my ankle where I had been experiencing the pain of the urchin. spine, which was impressive. He shook my hand steadily for several seconds and said that I had 'good blood flow' which indicated that I was otherwise in good health. I then showed him my own nature ritual wheel and explained to him through my translators, how I use it to more deeply connect with my local trees, animals and plants. He nodded in approval and was pleased to receive the wheel as a gift which he took to the back of his hut where he kept his shamanic tools and bag with remedies in. We had a warm handshake goodbye with good eye contact and it felt like a we'd made a good connection. As I walked back to the campsite with Robert and Steve, they said that the shaman had been very pleased with my questions and interest in his practice. They said that he often had people staying in a few huts nearby for more extended healing like a shamanic hospital. We returned to the campsite through Steve and Robert's old school grounds. They knew everyone locally that we passed as this is clearly a small and tight knit community. I visited Steve's stall outside the campsite and bought a couple of small wood carvings to donate a small amount towards his college fees.
      I had some lunch in the campsite bar and then walked down through the sand to the lake shore. I sat on the side of a wooden boat and looked up at the wild, forested mountain of Livingstonia where hyena, antelope and other wild animals still roam. Further along the beach women were washing clothes in the lake, and further on still, men were drying sardines on extensive wooden drying racks. Fishermen canoed and fished along the lake. Orange dragonflies flew around me and hundreds of white butterflies flew around the trees. I watched a brown heron like bird work it's way along the shore. I reflected on my experience with the African witch doctor and imagined the spirit of his father flying with the Eagle I saw soaring towards the sheer red rock face of mount Livingstonia,
      When I went to collect my wood carved souvenirs there was a mistake with one of them which took time to carve again. As I waited, I talked to a couple of the young men wood carvers who talked about their difficulty with selling their wares and making enough money to fund their education and look after their families. One man talked about how the local mountain is having its trees cut down to make charcoal for money thereby driving the wild animals away. There are such complex issues at work here, where people understandably want to find education and work to better their conditions, but also aspire to western style consumerism that will destroy their environment. There are no easy answers to this complex problem.
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    • Day 83

      Chitimba Campsite

      July 28, 2023 in Malawi ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

      When we arrived at our camp, we didn’t have a lot of daylight left. There was just enough time to have a walk on the beach. We decided to upgrade again. The rooms were very cheap, and we have an extremely early start tomorrow!Read more

    • Day 42

      Och nö, der Strand ist so weit weg

      February 16, 2019 in Malawi

      Wir verließen den wunderschönen Kande Beach, um zum nördlicheren Teil des Malawischen Sees einzutreffen.
      Natürlich mussten wir nach dem Zeltaufbau den Campingplatz erkundigen. Wir stellten fest, dass man erst zum Strand laufen musste und der Strand noch nicht mal vergleichbar so schön war wie auf dem Kande Beach. 🙁 trotzdem schwammen wir darin.

      Ein Einheimischer kam vorbei beim Abendessen und hielt eine Rede darüber welche Angebote es gab.
      Alle hätten schon Lust auf eine Wanderung gehabt. Aber 6 oder 12 stündig? In der Hitze? Nee.. Da schüttelten wir unsere Köpfe.
      Nur die Frauen meldeten sich beim Schmuck an und wir zwei, Sarah und ich, bei Holzverarbeitung. Wir waren interessiert wie sie die Figuren schlitzten.
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    • Day 43

      Work with wood needs power

      February 17, 2019 in Malawi ⋅ 🌧 30 °C

      Ausgeschlafen, Frühstück und dann ging an die Holzarbeit.
      Wahnsinn! Es gibt keinen Schraubstock, der die Figur hält. Entweder mit beiden Füßen oder einer Hand sollten wir das Holzstück festhalten.
      Wir arbeiteten mit gefährliche Werkzeuge. Beim Abrutschen habe ich mir sogar am Fuß verletzt. 😅 zum Glück nicht so tief.
      Sarah und ich haben Respekt bekommen, wie sie die Figuren verarbeiten. Wir hätten nicht gedacht, dass der ganze Körper eingesetzt werden muss.
      Unsere Teile mussten noch geschliffen werden, da schleppten sie uns zu ihrem Shop. Sie wollten uns wieder was noch zusätzlich verkaufen. Man können sie nervig sein. Wir können verstehen, dass sie Geld brauchen, aber so verscheuchen sie doch nur die Leute. 🙈
      Einer von denen war Vater von einem gehörlosem Sohn und fragte, wie viel so ein CI kostet. Er war erstaunt, dass wir sprechen können. Ich versuchte ihm zu erklären, was ein CI ist und dass wir es selber nicht bezahlt haben. Aber wo sie die Summe erfahren haben, schauten sie uns an, als wären wir reich und zeigten uns Dinge, Figuren und Bilder. Ich so: we don't need it! Sie waren zwar beleidigt, ließen uns aber endlich in Ruhe.

      Wir brauchten nach der Arbeit eine Abkühlung und vergnügten uns danach mit Buch lesen.
      Alle haben an dem Tag schön gechillt und einfach den Tag genossen.
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    • Day 24


      September 7, 2018 in Malawi ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

      Le lieu est tellement chouette et Willie, le proprio sud africain si intéressant qu'on reste une journée sur place. On profite de la jolie plage sur laquelle on discute avec un local puis on s'amuse avec des enfants. On se marre bien, ils sont sympas comme tout! Puis on fait la rencontre de vendeurs de woodcarving. Après avoir compris qu'on achètera rien, on se pose avec eux, on joue au Bao game ensemble, on discute longuement puis on part manger dans un resto avec l'un d'eux très sympa! Belle soirée :)Read more

    • Day 28

      Hakuna Matata Camp

      July 6, 2017 in Malawi ⋅ ☀️ 10 °C

      Today we had another very long day, we were driving for 13 hours. It didn't help that we were stuck at the border for 3 hours waiting for people's visas and the truck to be cleared.

      When we finally got to the camp we had to set up in the dark and everyone pretty much put their tents on top of each other using the trucks headlights to set up.

      The camps facilities were really good, there was a nice bar overlooking the lake, clean and functioning toilet / shower blocks. Everything is so cheap here, the vodka and soda was about $1.50.
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