One of the best things about having Sally here in Massangulo (there are many) is that she’s pretty much always willing to join me on my somewhat crazy and often overly ambitious adventures. As we were driving home from Lichinga on Sunday evening, I asked her if she would like to join me for a really long walk the next morning and she immediately said yes. After thinking more about it… I decided that a ride might be a better use of our time so we made plans to head off at 8am.
We wanted to go and visit a lady in a village that Cam and Scott have spent a fair bit of time in – Cuisimba, out near the border with Malawi. To go along the road, it’s about a 30km trip so our plan was to take a shortcut through the bush. I’d looked at Google Maps and had a pretty good idea of where we thought we might go. I’ve found that over the years, getting lost is a really great way to meet people so I wasn’t too worried about the lack of a specific plan.
Going adventuring here when you can speak Ciyawo a bit is just super fun. People are incredibly friendly and you can stop to talk to anyone – they’ve always got time for a chat. Along the way we came across the guys who had been digging a bore hole at our house. They had moved on to the next village so we stopped in for a chat. They were stoked to see us.
We met a couple of other guys who had walked all the way from the lakeshore in Malawi (probably 50km) with a box of small dried fish that they were hoping to sell us. We declined, but had a lovely chat. We crossed paths with another man who was very interested in where we were headed. I explained to him our planned path and he redirected us to a better one.
I love that there are no signs here, it forces you to be so much more aware of your surroundings. I explained to him that we would go just past “Maganga” (the name of the village) and then where the cemetery was on the left hand side, we would head down that path through the bush. He told me that instead we should keep going until we had crossed over one more river and then gone up a small mountain and when we got to the place where the sugar cane grew, there was a better path to take. He wasn’t very confident that I’d understood properly (he was only speaking Ciyawo) but then I was able to reassure him that I’d heard and later on we found the right spot!
After going down that path for a while, we arrived in a small village and started asking around about where the best path to Cuisimba was. Almost everyone told us that there was no path and we were better off going back to the road. I tried throwing in some local knowledge and asked if there was a path to Ce Nungi’s farm (one of the small chiefs in the area who works for us). Once they heard that, one man drew a mud map in the dirt for us and sent us on the way. We found a pretty decent path and were joking about the other people trying to telling us that we couldn’t ride our bikes there!
And then we arrived here…
Despite a muddy and difficult crossing – there was good news! I realised that we’d arrived at Ce Nungi’s farm, I knew where we were! It was just another 40 minutes or so of pushing the bikes up hill and we would be in the village!
Once we made it to the top of the hill, we had a lovely time visiting with our friend who very kindly made us lunch! Cam had come out to meet us with Sydney and Nikiss and the car! We were very thankful as we weren’t quite sure how well we’d go riding back as well! All in a day’s work for our friends here though!