July 10, 2016
Cape Maclear, on the tip of the peninsula near the southern end of Lake Malawi boasts long stretches of pebbly sand. There is the shushing sound of waves lapping at the shore. Children play on the beach building sand castles and drop off anchored boats into the water. They swim like fish. Women do their washing at the shore, the soapsuds bounce on the waves before they dissipate. Fish caught by the fishermen lie on long elevated platforms, drying before being sold. The village market is a huddles of shacks, some more permanent than others. Pyramids of tomatoes vie in colour with those of bright red, smoking hot kambuzi peppers. Mounds of maize lie next to heaps of lentils. At one corner is a man frying intestines of a goat. From another the smell of frying potato chips wafts in the air.
In one alley long stalks of sugarcane lie against the thatched wall waiting to be sold in foot-long sections. You tear off the skin with your teeth and bite off chunks. Chew, suck the juice and spit out the remains. The whine of sewing machines can be heard over the buzz of flies as tailors sitting under thatched roofs make dresses, trousers and skirts out of garishly patterned chitenjes. There are gaggles of children, quick to pipe up to say “hello”, a precursor to playing tic-tac-toe scratched on the dirt with twigs.
Under a tree sit a group of adults, listening to a preacher as he gesticulates enthusiastically and paces as he tells of God. A line of camps, lodges and resorts line the beach and come evening there is sometimes a campfire with a group of drummers coaxing beats out of goat-skin drums. And the stars are spread across the sky, so many that constellations are hard to find.