Watch out! Crazy Norwegian Camping in Malawi!

 

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

The Livingstone tree, slightly higher than all the other trees.

The Livingstone tree in the middle of the picture seen from a rice field nearby 

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.

Boma village

Boma village

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.

My little, pink tent

My little, pink tent

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 house where I ate breakfast

The house where I ate breakfast

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.

The Livingstone tree. I left the village early in the morning.

The Livingstone tree. I left the village early in the morning.

Lars Løseth Takle
Lars Løseth Takle

Lars is a 20 year old drummer from the outskirts of Oslo. Besides playing the drums, he also plays the piano. Since the age of twelve, he has been playing in several bands and in recent years he has also been practicing a lot by himself. Last year, he studied music at Trøndertun Folkehøgskole in Melhus.

Lars is very excited about the MOVE project and immediately knew he wanted to be a part of it when he first heard of it. He’s glad that he’s going to Malawi to meet and work with people from a culture different from his own. He especially looks forward to work with a percussion project in Nkhotakhota, to gain new impulses musically and personally and to hopefully be able to give the same in return to the local population.

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