I have had the most amazing 3 weeks so far, it’s been pretty hectic but full of fun, fundraising and school, of-course!
On the 14th of October, Niraj (aka Buddha) came over to visit for a couple of weeks. He was asked to DJ at the Lake of Stars music festival in Mangochi, which conveniently fell over my half-term holidays. So I had the perfect excuse to see a bit more of Malawi, catch up with my lovely boyfriend and have a holiday, yey!
Traveling in a bus here is just not the same as the UK, 5 hour journeys turn into 12 hour journeys with over-heated engines, flat tires and endless stops squeezing even more people into an already over-crowded bus. Buses are only full when the driver can no longer close the door whilst man, woman, child and animal fights for space. It’s not unusual to be sharing your seat (if you get one) with a chicken or goat. Pick-up trucks operate as buses too, although slightly more uncomfortable than the bus, it is a small exchange for the amazing first-hand views you get not to mention the lush breeze. But one thing you can guarantee, whatever form of public transport you find yourself on, is you will have an unforgettable journey for the better or worse!
Two long bus journey’s later, with Budd, I find myself in Mangochi at the Lake of Stars music festival. Having never been I really wasn’t sure what to expect but I knew what I wanted was to hear loads of African music! And I can honestly say, I wasn’t disappointed. Musicians from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Tanzania, the Ivory Coast and the UK descended on Magnochi filling the beach with invigorating African rhythms and enchanting melodies. DJs played anything from Malawian Hip-Hop, serious dance anthems to laid back sunny-day reggae tunes. A real highlight for me was the Jacaranda School for Orphans Band. Only in January 2010 the Jacaranda School for Orphans were donated used instruments, 10 months later they’d taught themselves how to play the instruments, formed a band and were now rocking the Lake of Stars music festival. Check them out http://www.jacarandafoundation.org!
After the festival we spent three relaxing nights in Cape MaClear before heading back to Nkhata Bay ready for the Fundraising Day on October 23rd. Alice, a member of the school committee and one of the girls who runs Butterfly Lodge, had suggested to the school that they have a School Fete, as a way of fundraising money for themselves. The day was a huge success thanks especially to Alice, the organiser, and all the people who volunteered time, resources and energy. Geoff (aka DJ White Noise Boy) did a stunning job in goal for Beat the Goalie, Budd ran a Video Games stall, Maya did face painting, ladies from the Widows Group made cakes, I ran a Sock Wrestling ring where opponents had to wrestle each others socks off. There were loads of other games and activities, money was made for the school block and fun was had!
The evening culminated in a performance from the school dance troop, a local band and of course, DJ Buddha and DJ White Noise Boy on the decks! Fundraising is a new concept here in Malawi and this day was the first the school had experienced. The day raised 17,000 mk for the new school block, which continues to grow, but more importantly it has raised a feeling of positivity, forward thinking and excitement in the staff and children at Chikale School. This last week I have led a series of follow-up lessons that have involved the children and staff excitedly planning their own fundraising activities and events for future good causes.
Budd left Nkhata Bay on the 26th October but Geoff, his best friend who was also DJing at the festival has stayed on as a volunteer at Butterfly Lodge. Geoff has offered to get involved in my storytelling project, and as the children’s plays come together he will be supporting the kids with musical accompaniment. In fact right now he is hammering and sawing bits of wood and random materials together making a little percussion kit!
Hope all is well for all of my family, friends and all at St Hugh’s. Wishing you were all here swimming in the Lake with me. Am having a real crumpet soaked with butter craving, neither of which is easy to get hold of here. So please, cremate a crumpet in a toaster, load it with butter and eat it for me xx
- Lake of Stars Music Festival Shines Bright in Malawi (spinner.com)