My second week of Situational Analysis is almost complete. I can honestly say that this has been the most exhausting yet rewarding experience since my arrival in Malawi. To date, Chimwemwe and I have visited over twenty sites – and we have our eyes on three more health facilities tomorrow before we finally return to Lilongwe and relinquish our duties to other team members.


(Views from Livingstonia)

I am currently writing from Ntcheu Boma – a small rural town in the Central/Southern region of Malawi. Unlike the North, in which we stayed at a lovely hotel (the bar is set pretty low here in Malawi) – I am now staying at a mosquito infested dive and am already dreading the restless night ahead of me! Regardless, I can put up with this miserable environment for one more night! A small sacrifice considering what I have gained from this experience.

(Chameleon in Livingstonia)

Last weekend, Andy drove to Mzuzu to meet me! I ended up having a meeting on Saturday morning that lasted until 2pm! But that didn’t damper our determination to explore Livingstonia – named after the famed missionary and explorer, David Livingstone.

(Many women often crochet in Malawi…)

Missionaries from the Free Church of Scotland founded the town of Livingstonia in 1894. Interestingly enough, the Livingstonia Mission originated in Cape Maclear in 1874 but relocated to higher ground due to malaria. After several failed moves attributed to various health factors, Livingstonia finally settled in the mountains between Lake Malawi and the Nyiaka Plateau. Needless to say, the views from this region are simply spectacular!

(Ellie Click, Chimwemwe and Andy)

(Amy hiking)
Chimwemwe, Ellie, Andy and I piled in our car and made the trek up the treacherous road leading to the town of Livingstonia. We stayed the night at the Mushroom Farm Lodge – a backpacker’s haven! Platforms for tents were perched adjacent to the escarpment, offering surreal vistas of the mountains and lake below.

(Camping at the Mushroom Farm)

(Andy stopping for a Coke as we hiked to Livingstonia)

The next morning we hiked to the nearby waterfalls then worked our way to the town of Livingstonia. For being such a large ‘dot’ on the map, there’s not much to Livingstonia aside from the university (and of course, the mission hospital, museum and church). And the road leading to the town is truly horrendous – steep switchbacks winding up the mountain – leaving only a small margin of error before plummeting to the ground below. I can’t even imagine attempting this road in the rainy season! One needs a serious 4-wheel drive to navigate the terrain.

(Exploring behind the falls)

(More falls)

Chimwemwe went to school there and ended up knowing quite a few people! And since he spent years hiking through the bush in that region, we were able to take the foot paths throughout the mountains! My favorite part of the trip was stumbling upon a church in the middle of the bush and hearing the beautiful songs and beating of drums emanating from the doors within. I will always cherish these memories…the sights and sounds that best depict this amazing culture and its people!

(Little boy outside of Livingstonia)

(Church in the hills)

I will be heading to Atlanta May 4 – 14 for training…and then returning to Austin (and Maine) for a brief visit and family reunion in June! I hope to see a lot of you when I return to the states! And for those of you in Austin, I’m already plotting my Hula Hut outing. I can’t wait to have my Thai BBQ Fajitas, Chips and Salsa and Margaritas!!!


Much love to all,

4 comments to Livingstonia

  • another great trip! thanks baby!

  • Hi Amy,

    Moli Bwange

    I have loved reading your blog. I live in Austin and have spent time in Malawi and…your cousins Mameve and Howard Medwed are friends of my parents. I would really, really like to send you an email but I don’t have your address. Can you send it to me at I’d love to “chat” with you about your experience!

    Thanks so much


  • Marcia Hawk

    I am one of your mother’s birding friends from Independence, MO. I have loved getting your website updates and your fantastic photos. No doubt you are back in Atlanta by now, but with the most wonderful memories!!

    Marcia Hawk

  • Chimwemwe Gondwe

    Hallow Amy,
    I have seen the snaps. Let me also say that it was a fantastic trip. Waiting for another one like this.


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