This weekend my friends Alex and Brad, plus me and my roommate Alissa, decided to head to - where else? - the lake. This time it was to the southernmost tip in the semi-secluded area of Monkey Bay. Due to some late night random partying on Friday, we didn't get going until about 10:30 am on Saturday, but I didn't mind. What's the rush in Africa?
On the way, we stopped at what I can safely say is my most favorite place in Malawi so far: Mua Mission. It's a small mountain village known for it's beautiful catholic church and cheap woodcarvings. Unfortunately, we missed the turn off the M5 and only realized it after we'd risked our lives crossing The Scariest Wooden Bridge I Have Ever Seen (re: two planks of wood for the car tires laid across the river). So we had to whip around and Risk Our Lives Again.
However, it was so worth it.
Once we got up the steep dirt road, it emptied out into a bustling but serene village of Mua. They've built up quite a tourist industry around the Mission, complete with a lodge, restaurant, waterfall, zoo, museum and woodcarving station. As we stumbled out of the car (still recoving a bit from Friday night), children lined up to greet us with "Hallo! How are you fine!" My favorite was one kid who kept following me saying "Give me pen. I am school."
On the whole, however, the village seemed to be used to seeing mazunga's around, because we were pretty much unmolested (except of course, for my friend School.) and left to poke around the well-off village on our own. Unlike other places in Malawi, Mua is nestled in on a hillside, surrounded by beautiful, shade-giving trees. It was so different from the dusty, shrub-like atmosphere of lower elevations that I almost felt like I was in a fairy-land. That, combined with the rolling of a distant waterfall and twittering of tiny chickadees, left me in kind of a luscious stupor.
At any rate, Brad and Alex were dragged off by some kids to see the "zoo" (one crusty looking alligator, a red-rumped baboon and one very angry monkey) I just kind of stood around and breathed. I must have looked a bit constipated because I woman passed by me to enter her hut and said "The toilets are over there." Her English was superb (that kind of lilting, sing-songy, soothing African English) so I started chatting with her about life in Mua, and then life in general.
Sister Josephine has been living in Mua for four years, studying at the Mission and doing research on staring a village for emotional and spiritual healing. She spoke with such conviction that I was touched. In a place as calm and quiet as Mua, one definitely wanted to envision a peaceful center for healing - where not only the physically ill but the emotionally drained could go to find a drink. We chatted for along while and afterwards, she gave me a hug.
I think it was my first hug since leaving home, actually. I think it was just what I needed.
We soon had to leave to drive the rest of the way to the beach. But Alex and I are committed to coming back on the 4th of July to check out the museum and eat at the yummy looking restaurant.
As far as the rest of the weekend went, it was pretty uneventful. Did some beach sitting, watched "Freddy vs. Jason" at the beach bar, drove home, and slept.