Drifting Away at Mango Drift

My room on Likoma Island

After having arrived at Mango Drift at midnight the night before when there was no electricity, I really had no idea what Likoma Island or my hostel looked like.

The view from my bed

I awoke at 6:30am and with the sounds of waves outside my door, I was pulled out of bed with curiosity. I put on my flip- flops, and undid the wooden latch on my hut. As the door creaked open, I stepped down onto the sandy shore, and suddenly, even if momentarily, I forgot about the miserable ferry ride (insert link here) from the previous days. I was staring at Lake Malawi only a few meters in front of me with Chizumulu Island in the backdrop. I was drawn to the hammocks I saw down the beach near the hostel’s bar.  As I walked toward them, I noticed baobabs enveloping Mango Drift, trees along the shore with neat little bird nests dangling from every limb, and beautiful tropical flowers growing here and there.

I relaxed as people slowly trickled into the lounge for breakfast, enjoyed a nice cup of Malawian tea, and was just happy to sink my feet in the sand and enjoy my surroundings. My friends and I trekked up the hill behind Mango Drift late morning to head to the market. And if you thought the people on mainland Malawi are friendly, the people of Likoma Island bring the definition of friendly to a whole new level. It’s so touching to be greeted with such warm smiles and a genuine nature. There are no beach boys on Likoma Island and little haggling to be done for purchases. The people give fair prices to begin with because they don’t know any differently; their relative seclusion from the mainland means they haven’t been exposed to the occasional storekeeper that tries to rip off foreigners or the wandering local that wants to help you find your way expecting payment in return. I bought a jitenji (a replacement for my Kenyan laso) because I left it back in Monkey Bay and had nothing to use for a towel (Yes, this is my second towel I’ve lost within 3 weeks). We ate a late lunch at The Hunger Clinic that consisted of rice, beans, cabbage, and a fried egg. We got back to our hostel just as the sun was setting and decided to go for a quick dip in the lake. Life is good.

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