Tuesday, 28 June 2011
We moved from Myoka Village next door to Butterfly Space. We will be doing some volunteer work here in the coming weeks. Butterfly is a grassroots organization, they have many different projects in and around the small community of Nkhata Bay. We are hoping to entrench ourselves in a variety of different areas if possible. The opportunities are endless as this small, lakeside community is quite impoverished. It is the real reason why we came over to Africa. We had a stroke of good fortune in being able to move in to a small "hut" right by the lakeshore. With only a mosquito net for protection it has no shower or toilet, those are about a 20 meter walk away (not real fun in the dark). Our room has come with a quite a few insects but hopefully between the ever present spiders and lizards they will be able to keep the population in check. We also learned on our first night that we are sharing our room with a family of rats as they continually went into our groceries that we had hung on the wall to protect from the ants. Again, I sometimes wonder if Erika thinks she made the right choice that fatefull day in 1995! On a more uplifting note, the view from our "veranda" is truly incredible. It looks out over the vast expanse of turquoise waters towards Mozambique. A wealth of daily life takes place right outside of our front porch. We awake every morning to the local ladies scrubbing the previous evenings dishes using our own little beaches' sand to scour and then clean. They are followed soon after by the young girls who end up doing the family laundry, slamming it against the smooth rocks rubbing vigorously against their wrists before rinsing their tattered, fragile clothes in the pristine waters of the lake. All the while the village men set an early launch to their small wooden hand dug out canoes from the beach as they go in search of an amazing aray of fish that inhabit lake malawi that they will try to sell at the local market. Our ongoing battle with the familia rat came to a boil finally when Erika was awakened twice in the middle of the night by the creeping varmits, literally, scampering across her forehead in search of food. Erika does not believe in killing innocent animals but this was the last straw, the critters had violated her personal space. We were able to obtain a little poison and took some of our cherished peanut butter which we had found in a local market in Zambia and carefully placed the deadly mixture onto several banana leaves and placed them strategically throughout our little cottage and waited patiently for the little creatures to feast. Sure enough, it was not but a few minutes before they attacked the poisonous concoction with reckless abandon. Shortly thereafter, most of the leaves were completely emptied of their contents, we watched in rapt fascination as one poor rodent crossed our floor several times to nibble at what he though was a meal and what we knew would be his last. He made one final attempt but suddenly, seized up, twitching violently, while the mouse anthrax entered into his small veins. We felt a little bad as he helplessly fell to the floor and rolled onto his back in one final, desperate surge. The question now was how in the world were we going to dispose of the damn thing!?!? Neither one of us wanted to pick the creature up by it's tail for fear it might make one final, desperate surge and bite us, so we had to improvise. I found a flimsy piece of cardboard and carefully, slowly, picked up the lifeless rat and slowly but steadily walked outside to toss him into the teeming jungle. However, I tripped and the varmit flew off the cardboard hitting the wooden planks of our balcony with a loud thump! Much to the dismay of the deceased rat, Erika and I burst out laughing to the point where Erika wee'd herself. After we pulled ourselves together, we were finally able to extract the critter off the deck and tossed him to an unceremonious burial in the near bushes where we were certain the local ant population would devour him. We are not quite sure where the other members of the family were but we were almost certain that they too met a quick demise as most of the piles of the tainted peanut butter were gone the following morning. The good news is that we were able to sleep through the night without any of our plastic bags rustling and as we looked around to where we had tossed our one former pet, there was nothing to be seen as we were certain the elements had taken him away.