The news of Malawians being the ‘world’s slowest walkers’ has been met with great amusement here. I think there is consensus that it’s better to be the slowest walkers in the world than, say, the fourth slowest walkers. I’ve started paying attention to people crossing the street, and yes, most do so slowly, but then again, many of them are carrying a huge amount of weight on their heads and have children slung on their backs.
Last weekend, we wanted to take advantage of the holiday weekend, so we spent Saturday night at an old tea plantation house. The “cottage”, built by tea planters (in the 20’s?) is set in lovely, English-style gardens and comfortably sleeps ten people.
The cottage is secluded, sitting on a hill near Thyolo mountain and surrounded by tea. My favorite part of the house is the porch, which was really an extra room with large tables, a sofa, and comfortable reclining chairs.
The cottage is only a 45 minute drive south of Blantyre in Thyolo. I especially love the Thyolo area in the rainy season. The region is characterized by gently rolling lush green hills. The roads are tree-lined, and the tea fields are perfectly manicured. You can see the massive outline of Mulanje mountain in the distance. Yet it is the color of the tea in the rainy season that is so striking. I know I’ve written of this before, but the bright, almost lime-green of the new shoots contrasts so beautifully against the emerald green of the older leaves, and the fields are broken up by the muddy orange dirt paths. Just minutes out of the city, and you feel like you’re in another world.
While we were only there one night, we were able to completely relax. There were nine of us, who entertained ourselves with card games and reading on the porch. Sandy made a roast chicken dinner and we had homemade brownies for dessert.
In the morning, I went for a short walk before the rains came. We enjoyed breakfast on the porch and watched the rain fall in dense sheets. It was tough to leave, but because it’s so close, we look forward to going back soon.