We immediately felt the friendliness from people improve as we exited Tanzania. The process at the Malawian border was hassle free.
An old gentleman said he needed a lift. Having no backseats in our Cruiser he just held onto the roof racks and stood on the metal lip under the doors, this has defined the way we now give Malawians lifts around town.
Whilst making dinner on our first evening in Malawi we were approached by Christopher Jockey, who invited us to his house the following morning to meet his wife and children. We told him that after two months of travelling through Tanzania we had never been invited to anyone’s house, he said he was very sorry for this.
The following morning Christopher was waiting for us. He led us inside his clean and warmly decorated abode to meet his beautiful wife Cecilia, we washed our hands in a bowl, and black tea was poured through a strainer filled with greenish tea leaves. We were offered fried bananas with onion and tomato (which was delicious) and we helped ourselves to mulberries that Christopher had picked from his garden.
Christopher even played his electric keyboard for us; he looped tracks and beats and his wife sang and it was probably the most fun we had had in a long time. We left their wonderful family home with our arms filled with fresh eggs from their chickens, mulberries and granadillas.
We then made our way to the Mushroom Farm in the far north of Malawi. Perched on a mountainside with hammocks swinging above a deadly drop, it’s the perfect place to “relax while living on the edge”, as their payoff line states. Our A-frame house had a spectacular view over the lake and we were even able to see mountains in Tanzania on the other side when the days were clear.
The owners are wonderful and Mushroom really did feel like (and I don’t use this term often, if at all) a home away from home. Frida, the resident chef, served the most delicious fare we had eaten the whole trip. The mixed salad plate with her homemade bread being a highlight, not to mention her groundnut flour honey and banana pancakes, which we scoffed down most mornings.
We co-hosted a Halloween/Fake Wedding party and about 50 peeps made the trek up the mountain to drink punch and generally misbehave. We were relieved in the morning when there was no one missing, as the deadly drop was somewhat of a worry.
It is refreshing to have friendly interactions with strangers on a daily basis, confirming that Malawi is not called the ‘warm heart of Africa’ for nothing.