June 20, 2002 - Part 2

It is almost 9:00pm, past my bed time! But, I am stuck sending a load
of email on a slow connection. When the generator is on, I can listen to
CD’s on the computer. We have three, two strange puke bands and a modern
chill CD, which I am listening to. Music feels sooooo good!!!

So, let me tell you about all the fun going on here. Things definitely
seem to have livened up a bit. Tomorrow we are hiding out in the bush
to have a solstice celebration, and don't tell, but it's Patrick’s 31st, so
we've organized some nice surprises. The best of them all are the
fireworks Nadia bought in Lilongwe. That will be great. I wonder what
kind of sorcery the fisherman will think we are up to.

About twenty people stuffed into Miss Nkwichi boat on Tuesday morning.
All the regular muzungus as well as Josia from Colorado who has come
to survey water in the area. He is working for Water Aid an NGO that
works to supply Mozambique with fresh water and to educate people on
sanitation. These people must stop using the lake as a toilet or
bilharia will soon take over killing them in masses just like the Angoni
400 years ago.

Patrick and Josia stayed in Mbuka, a southern lakeside village.
I trekked alongside our best guide, John Kapito as the other
fifteen staff pushed ahead, moving east inland to Manda Buzi (the
village I went to with Joseph). The trek was a practice for Manda
and the commercial treks they hope to do. They want to charge
$100 a day for these treks, which will come with all the works: porters
carrying everything, but your camera and water bottle. You walk along with a
local guide looking for wildlife, following track, studying droppings, etc.
When you arrive at the campsite everything is ready - tents set up, fire
going, hot water ready for tea or a beer. (Yes, they carry
a load of booze with them as well.) There is a toilet ready to go, with TP
hanging near by, a bucket shower, tables and chairs... the works!
Nothing like camping at all. It is all done Livingston style. They say at
one point he had over 600 porters, and every morning it was a real
debate whether to move or not.

I had bacon and eggs for breakfast before I set out with four porters
and Stuart to do some exploring. Our mission was to find Cobue River
and see if the ravine is passable in the dry session. We started
walking just after sunrise, heading north along a massive inland plane.
We stopped only to quickly examine hyena track and then again to
identify buffalo dung (not unlike cow dung). We walked for three hours
without stopping. I swallowed my pride and admitted I could not have
maintained that speed carry the massive bags the porters carry. Yes, my stuff was all
carried for me. I am not used to such treatment, but my stuff was only
feathers to these men. They are incredibly fit. I still struggled to
keep up with only a fanny pack and a camera.

We finally approached a river and stopped to rest our feet. The staff ate raw
cassava; while Stu and I dreamed of the sweets we left behind with
Patrick. A woman and her two children approached from the dried river bank
and stopped to stare at the two muzungus. 'Are you on ulendo (safari),'
she asked. We told her yes, and that we were looking for Cobue River. She
informed us it was only a few hours walk away. She had just come from
that direction. We all smiled and looked forward to a long restful

To be continued....

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