Zeb the Duck Remembers Africa

I, Zeb the Duck, really loved my summer in Southern Africa.   I wanted to show you some of my favorite memories, but there were so many.   Remember this trip started with us volunteering for a couple weeks with Ripple Africa in Malawi.

Ripple Africa

Ripple Africa

The students were so friendly and eager to learn.

Students

Students

We saw this all over Southern Africa.   Living on the shore of Lake Malawi, we appreciated the sunny days and the evenings watching the moon rise over the lake.

Moon rising over Lake Malawi

Moon rising over Lake Malawi

We saw people everywhere carrying items on their heads.

Great posture and great balance as they carry heavy loads

Great posture and great balance as they carry heavy loads

The humans walk so gracefully and have beautiful posture.   These changu changu moto stoves save so much wood and requires so much less work to use.

Changu changu moto wood burning stove

Changu changu moto wood burning stove

They are a huge improvement over the traditional three stone stove.   Men stack wood on frames on their bicycles.

Loading firewood on bicycle

Loading firewood on bicycle

Seeing them ride with all the wood was fascinating.   We smiled at this sign, but it was true.

The monkeys do take things

The monkeys do take things

The monkeys will pick up most items and the items may be gone forever.   Victoria Falls is so big and so powerful.   It really is a sight for all to see.

Rainbow Falls at Victoria Falls, Zambia

Rainbow Falls at Victoria Falls, Zambia

This is Rainbow Falls on the Zambian side.   The rainbow seems to be there almost all the time. Male dancers and singers in the Kingdom of Swaziland entertained us.

Entertainers from Kingdom of Swaziland

Entertainers from Kingdom of Swaziland

Many humans think of large animals and safaris whenever Africa is mentioned.   We loved our safaris and the animals are so majestic, and in many cases, they were playful and entertaining. Impalas are so plentiful and also so delicate and graceful.

Impala

Impala

We never tired of seeing them.   We love the zebras.

Zebra

Zebra

The stripes are so exotic to me.   And the massive elephants, especially in groups always take your breath. And there is nothing like a baby elephant to soften your heart.

Elephants

Elephants

Cape Buffalo always make us smile.

Cape Buffalo

Cape Buffalo

The Swazi candles were some of our favorite souvenirs.   Packing them was a challenge!

Candle from Swazi Candles.

Candle from Swazi Candles.

This monkey candle is bigger than I am.   I loved seeing the Indian Ocean from Bonnie, our horse.  p1000388The money in Africa was very colorful.   We like each denomination a different color.    Makes things easier for humans.   Each country used a different currency, but US dollars were accepted most places.

Money from Malawi, Mozambique, and South Africa.

Money from Malawi, Mozambique, and South Africa.

Zimbabwe did not print their own paper money.   The official currency of Zimbabwe is the US Dollar.  We did bring a little local currency home, but most of the left over money is donated at airports to help the local people.   If everybody gives a little, that equals a lot of money and a lot of local help.   We did purchase many Visas, each time we entered a country, and flights between countries in Southern Africa were expensive and not always convenient.   But the experience was unforgettable.   The people–so friendly and helpful.   The land and animals are beautiful.  We were able to visit Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Kingdom of Swaziland, South Africa and Mozambique.    We hope you visit these countries soon.   You will never forget the experience.

From Ripple Africa to Mua Mission, Malawi with Zeb the Duck

Today we are leaving our two week home with Ripple Africa, but we are not leaving Malawi.   I, Zeb the Duck, and the humans enjoyed our time on the shore of Lake Malawi with Ripple Africa.   We all learned so much and met such warm, friendly people.    I said goodbye to my friend, Dan.

Dan from Ripple Africa

Dan from Ripple Africa

Dan is the Volunteer Projects Manager.   As we leave, the children follow our vehicles, waving and smiling.

Children from Ripple Africa

Children from Ripple Africa

We will be back in the capital, Lilongwe, tonight, but we will visit Mua Mission on the way.   Sights along the road include this truck driving in front of us and a biker also on the road.

Riding through Malawi

Riding through Malawi

The passengers seem happy and friendly.   It is July, the winter in Malawi, so it is not too hot for gardens.   We see produce stands like this one, with such beautiful tomatoes.

Fresh tomatoes available today

Fresh tomatoes available today

Mua Mission is one of the oldest Catholic outposts in Malawi.  The Mission was established by the “White Fathers” at the base of the Rift Valley Escarpment in 1902.   Our first stop is the Chamare Museum which opened in 1999.   This museum is said to be the finest ethnographic museum in Malawi.   Let’s go through the gate and visit the museum.

Let's go through this pretty gate

Let’s go through this pretty gate

Isn’t this a great mask outside?

Mask at museum entrance

Mask at museum entrance

I, Zeb the Duck, love it.   We will pay our entrance fee and meet our guide.

Chamare Museum

Chamare Museum

The first room has an overview of Malawi history and we are allowed to take photographs.    Photographs are not allowed in the other rooms of the museum.   I examined these items and wandered around the room as the guide explained what we were seeing.

Artifacts inside museum

Artifacts inside museum

You really would enjoy visiting the Chamare Museum.   Remember that this is a Catholic Mission, so this panel with the Resurrection is very important.

The Resurrection

The Resurrection

The other rooms contained items and information about the three major cultural groups of the region, Chewa, Ngoni and Yao.   The last room was perhaps the most impressive.   It contains the world’s largest collection of Gule Wamkulu masks, around 400 total masks.   Photos are prohibited to preserve the masks and other items, but it is sad that I could not share some of these with you.   When you are in Malawi, this museum in Mua Mission, is worth a visit.   The outside of the museum is decorated with several colorful murals, such as this one.

Colorfull murals on outside of Chamare Museum

Colorfull murals on outside of Chamare Museum

The Art Gallery is near the museum.

Art Gallery

Art Gallery

We visited the show room, and made several purchases.   I loved the wood carvings.    I also like the fresh look of the church.

Church

Church

Choir practice was being held outdoors.

outdoor choir practice

outdoor choir practice

The mild weather is wonderful for outdoor activities.   We walked behind the museum to see this amphitheater.

Amphitheater

Amphitheater

This would be a wonderful place to enjoy a performance.   Our short visit to Mua Mission was pleasant.   If you have more time, you could spend a couple days here, enjoying the mission and the surrounding area.   Next time we will show you more of Malawi.

Zeb the Duck Sees Daily Life on Lake Malawi

In Malawi, we walk to most places.   While we are walking we often see friendly children, in school uniforms.

Friendly school children

Friendly school children

The children always want to talk to us, asking our names and we ask their names.   They want to know where we live.   Many visitors here are from the United Kingdom, so the United States or America, also invites more questions.   These children are very polite and kind.   They seem to enjoy practicing their English with us.   There are many cows here, also.

I like these cows

I like these cows

Usually there is a Malawian man nearby, watching the cows and directing their movements.   I like these cows.   This teacher is standing in front of his preschool classroom.

Preschool teacher in front of classroom

Preschool teacher in front of classroom

Aren’t these tropical plants so green?

Such beautiful tropical green plants

Such beautiful tropical green plants

So pretty.  We walked to Ripple Africa’s nursery.   These tree seedlings are almost ready to plant.

Tree seedlings

Tree seedlings

Ripple Africa teaches about reforestation and is involved with the local community to plant trees.   Also at the nursery, the human volunteers made bricks.   First they removed their shoes, put water in the dirt, and walked barefoot, mixing the dirt and water to make mud.   Then the mud was put into molds for bricks.

Barefoot in the mud. Filling brick molds with mud for bricks

Barefoot in the mud.  Filling brick molds with mud for bricks

The full molds were then dumped to dry.

Bricks will dry in tropical sun

Bricks will dry in tropical sun

Most people make bricks for making stoves and houses.   Later we visited Angela.   Angela had land and wanted to help her community.   She is using her land as a farm.

Angela at her farm

Angela at her farm

She grows some potatoes and plants many trees.   She plants a variety of fruit trees.    This is a welcome and familiar sight in our village.   Many children go to school, at least to primary school.

Children in uniforms entering school

Children in uniforms entering school

We believe that education is very important for everyone.   Remember that the human women are volunteering with Ripple Africa for 2 weeks.   Ripple Africa has two locations on Lake Malawi.   This sign shows the direction for each.

Lowani or Mwaya?

Lowani or Mwaya?

I am staying at Lowani Beach.   Mwaya Beach is where the long term volunteers are staying.   The two locations are very close.   We walk between them, sometimes on the road and sometimes on the beach.   Each location has housing and dining areas.   Also, each location is on a beautiful  beach.   This is our friend, Pumpkin.

Pumpkin caught these fish

Pumpkin caught these fish

He had been fishing and is showing us his catch.   Very nice fish, Pumpkin.   Pumpkin is also an artist.   We bought a couple paintings from him.

Painting by Pumpkin

Painting by Pumpkin

We liked this typical Malawian activity.

Painting by Pumpkin

Painting by Pumpkin

Lake Malawi is so pretty.   We think these paintings are very nice, don’t you?   Today I wanted to show you what we see every day and a little about how the people live in our closest village.   These humans in Malawi have all been very friendly and very nice to all of us.   We like Malawi and the Malawians.

Zeb the Duck and the Humans Visit Secondary Schools

On our first day with Ripple Africa the human women and I went to the secondary school campus.   Since this is our first outing, I think this means that everyone believes education is very important.   I, Zeb the Duck, believe so also.   Here are some of the teachers in front of the administration building.

Secondary teachers by administration building

Secondary teachers by administration building.   We did meet a lady teacher also.

Two classrooms are in each of these buildings.   We visited the class on the other side of this building.

Classrooms here. We were in class on other side

Classrooms here. We were in class on other side

These students loved to have their pictures taken.

Students love to have photos taken.

Students love to have photos taken.

Really, they loved seeing their pictures.   They were so friendly and nice.   Walking on the campus, I met these girls.

I like these students

I like these students

They are my new friends.   Ripple Africa helps support this secondary campus.   Ripple Africa pays some of the salaries for teachers.   The government of Malawi pays some salaries also.   Ripple Africa helps construct the buildings.   Some of the teachers receive housing on campus.   Here, another house for a new teacher is being built.

Building a new house for future secondary teacher

Building a new house for future secondary teacher

One of the teachers took us to see his house.

Secondary teacher's house

Secondary teacher’s house.  Limited electricity is available here.

I like his house.  This teacher has chickens.   The chickens can climb this ladder and sleep in the chicken house.

Chicken house

Chicken house

Some of the female chickens are in this pen.

This chickens furnished eggs for our breakfast

These chickens furnished eggs for our breakfast

These ladies provided the eggs that Esther cooked for our breakfast.   And the eggs were delicious and so fresh.   Many students walk hours from home to school every day.   This is very difficult as they also need time to study and have work to do at home.   The school, with help from Ripple Africa, built this dormitory for female students.

Girl's dormitory for secondary school

Girl’s dormitory room for secondary school

Some girls can live here, eliminating the hours of walking.   I, Zeb the Duck, think this is great.   After our tour of the school and campus, we walked back to Lowani Beach.   Along the way, we saw this cassava soaking.

Cassava, peeled and soaking

Cassava, peeled and soaking

Cassava is a root vegetable and one of the main foods eaten in this area.   Before soaking, the cassava is peeled.   After peeling and soaking, the cassava is dried in the sun.

Drying cassava

Drying cassava

I will tell you more about cassava another day.   While walking home, we stopped to visit Patrick, the tailor.

Patrick the Tailor

Patrick the Tailor

Patrick was very nice and everyone seems to know and like Patrick.   These are some other stores near Patrick.

Rural stores

Rural stores

I, Zeb the Duck, enjoyed my day visiting the secondary school and seeing things on the walk home.

To Ripple Africa on Lake Malawi

Today I, Zeb the Duck, and the 6 human women are going to our home for the next two weeks. The women are volunteering with the British organization, Ripple Africa.   We are riding north in two cars for most of the day.  Leaving Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi, we will be a little south of Mzuzu, Malawi on the shore of Lake Malawi at Nkhata Bay.   Here is the map of Malawi.

Malawi in Southern Africa

Malawi in Southern Africa

While stopping for fuel, we admire this lady and her bright dress.

Pretty lady with colorful dress

Pretty lady with colorful dress

Isn’t she pretty?   I think she is.   While riding, we saw signs announcing that we were in a goat group area.   So, we asked what this meant.   Our driver told us that Heifer International gave some families a few goats.   The families cannot kill and eat the goat.   They use the milk, sell the extra and let the goats reproduce.   The families then give extra goats to another family.

Many goats.

Many goats.

When the village has enough goats, the extra goats are given to another village.   This is a great way to give people a start and let them help themselves and their neighbors.   Now we know what a goat group is.   We like it.   We are now at our new home.   This is our building.

Where we live

Where we live

My room is the door on the left.   Each of the rooms is for two women.   Inside my room I notice the mosquito netting over the beds.

Our room, with mosquito netting over beds

Our room, with mosquito netting over beds

This is necessary to help prevent malaria, from mosquito bites.   There is always the chance of malaria, but this is not the main season for mosquitos.   However, we are all taking daily pills to avoid malaria.   We will eat our meals here.

This is where we eat

This is where we eat

We have a great view of Lake Malawi from our dining area.

Lake Malawi

Lake Malawi

Of course we want to walk on the beach.

Canoe by our beach on Lake Malawi

Canoe by our beach on Lake Malawi

I love this canoe.    As you remember from yesterday’s map, we are in the tropics, between the Equator and the Tropic of Capricorn, so there are many wonderful green tropical plants.

Love tropical plants

Love tropical plants

There is no electricity here, so our meals are cooked on a wood burning stove.   This is a 3 burner changu changu moto stove.

Three burner changu changu moto stove

Three burner changu changu moto stove

We will tell you more about these stoves another day.   Ripple Africa helps support this clinic.

The clinic or dispensary

The clinic or dispensary

The hospital is hours away from here, so the clinic is very important.   Ripple Africa also supports and encourages reforestation.   These little black bags of dirt will have tree seedlings inside and will be planted when they are big enough to grow outside.

Bags of dirt to plant tree seedlings

Bags of dirt to plant tree seedlings

One of the main functions of Ripple Africa is to improve the education.   Many schools receive help from Ripple Africa.

Children in uniforms entering school

Children in uniforms entering school

We will show you more about the schools another day.   Today this duck wants to give you a glimpse of what Ripple Africa does, and what we will be doing for the next two weeks.   The slogan for Ripple Africa is “giving a hand up, not a hand out.”  For more information about Ripple Africa, visit http://www.RippleAfrica.org   There is no better way to end our first day on Lake Malawi.

Full moon rising over Lake Malawi

Full moon rising over Lake Malawi

We love the full moon rising over the lake.   Without electricity, the skies here are so beautiful.