I wanted to reach the village before dark. Partly because daylight is an advantage setting up a tent, partly because I was about to tent in a totally new environment. After going to the marked I caught a bicycle taxi and the driver took me as far as the road allowed the bike. The last kilometer I had to walk on small paths passing village after village
By sunset I arrived. My destination was a small village called Boma. Boma village is the place where Dr. Livingstone camped during his second trip to Malawi in 1863. I wanted to find and ask the chief for permission to tent in his village, but the more i tried to explain, the less the villagers seemed to understand. Luckily a man which knew some English came to my rescue. He explained what i wanted, the chief approved, we shook hands, and he walked away. Suddenly a man started clapping and singing. Five kids or so cleaned a spot on the ground in pace with the song using hands or small sticks. It took me a while to understand that they actually did this so that I could put my tent there. Later I moved the tent under the porch of a man´s house because of the risk of getting soaked by heavy rain.
According to the local I am the first azungu to sleep by the second Livingstone tree as far as they remember. I thought to myself that I might be the first azungu sleeping here since Dr. Livingstone himself. This was at least what I was thinking while eating fried potatoes and cabbage in my tiny pink tent. As I was eating, I could hear more and more voices outside. It sounded like the whole village gathered around my little camp. I finished the meal and went outside for an evening stroll.
Together with a young man I walked the small paths through the village. We passed small houses made of bricks, an old mosque, families cocking their dinner on charcoal, we greeted passer-bys, and kids. The stars shone brighter than I had ever seen. It was amazing. My guide, Ben, told me that he is a self-taught mechanic. His dream is to go to Lilongwe to study, but financial problems seem to prevent him from reaching his goal. I returned to my tent around 20, or 21pm ready to sleep.
I found lying on concrete quite uncomfortable. Even when I used the backpack, a tarpaulin, and a pair of jeans as mattress I struggled to find a comfortable position. Sleep came at last, but after an hour or so, heavy rain woke me up. I asked myself how rain could make such a loud noise. In a desperate attempt to shut the sound out, I tied a pair of pants around my head. It kind of helped, but then a thunderstorm decided to break out right over the village. I gave up sleeping, and waited for the morning to come.
The next morning, I was shown great hospitality by the owner of the house. He heated water so that I could shower, and made breakfast for me. Immediately I forgot about the long, stormy night. On my way to work I thought of the experience I just had. I was happy that I did it, but next time I will probably check the weather forecast on beforehand.