By Clare Radford (Bishop’s)
Today we left for our first adventure to Livingstonia, which is a village located halfway up a mountain. The 5 am ‘cock a doodle doo’ that normally wakes me in anger was a nice way of getting out of bed and shortly after we were herded out the door. As we drove out of Makupo, the villagers had already started their day. The group, on the other hand, was still groggy and ready to get more sleep. We did, however, watch the sunrise, but soon everyone was napping. As the others slept, I couldn’t peel my eyes away from the window. As we zoomed past what has now become so familiar, the landscape changed into heavily forested areas. My imagination began to stir up thoughts as to what one might find in such thickly wooded area. I later found out from one of my colleagues that the Canadian government donated the trees. As we continued driving past the woodland realm, my mind began to paint a picture of the fantastical world that might have been found within. My imagination brought me into dreaming of a town full of tiny people who’s houses were up in the thickly intertwined branches and the world below had unexplored portals where others had gone and never returned.
When we started to get closer to Livingstonia, I felt like we were on a roller coaster, going up and down, round and round. I didn’t mind, although when we reached the plateau of the mountain and the bus started to climb up the steep stoned path, my heart started to throb. I don’t think any of us had expected what was to come. Dr. Stonebanks made it clear to us that at any point we could get out and walk up. Our group took this as a challenge to be the first group to make it to the top together in the bus. At times you could see that some were struggling, as the bus made its way up the bumpy, uneven road. We pushed through, however, and I am happy to say we made it to our destination in one piece.
With the adrenaline rushing through our veins as we got off the bus, solid ground had never felt better. As we slowly recovered, we all walked down to the main seating area and took in the beautiful view. I wish I had words to describe the landscape but even the photos we took hardly capture the true beauty the land shared with us. After we got settled in, we had the most incredible dinner of our trip so far. Everything was freshly grown from the owner’s garden. We ate salad, sirloin steaks, and seasoned potatoes. There was a short moment of silence as everyone began to eat, taking in the old flavors we used to be so familiar with. We ate until our stomachs hurt. After the amazing meal, some of us went and sat by the fire while others went over to the bar. I decided to head back to our lodge to journal and reflect. Sitting on the porch under the stars, in complete silence, other than the voices of the others at the bar, I thought to myself that there was no better way to end the day.
I awoke the next morning in a daze, and initially I was not completely sure where I was. As I unzipped the tent I was blinded by the sun, but slowly found my way to the railing of the balcony and looked out upon the breathtaking view. I gradually made my way down to the main lodge to have breakfast, which consisted of over easy eggs, homemade toast with jam, and coffee. We had a relaxed morning, which I think everyone needed, before hiking up the rest of the mountain to see the village of Livingstonia. At Lukwe Lodge, I thought that the view couldn’t get any better; but as we made our way up the mountain, the scenery became a little clearer, and we could see across Lake Malawi and even more of the beautiful mountain terrain – possibly concealing the unknown creatures.