We left the fabulous Wendels Lodge in Llongwe by car and drove 2+ hours through arid countryside and then over a large mountain pass to Mua Mission. Here one can buy artistic wood carvings which are of the highest quality in Malawi. There was not a huge selection but still plenty to get a view of the type of art available. There was an interesting museum for Kw 600 entry fee ( $4) which an enthusiastic guide opened fir us. He led us through its 3 rooms which were filled with descriptions of the country’s history starting with the Catholic priest who started the White Fathers, an order so named not because of skin color but because they wore white robes in order to blend in with the Muslims of the time who otherwise would have discriminated against them. One room was dedicated to tribal rituals of the area for burial and coming of age. A final room displayed hundreds of masks hanging from a display looking like a baobab tree. Each mask had a special purpose and some were quite explicit! After lunch under a thatched roof, we were let into the mission church which was stiflingly hot but held lovely wooden carvings of the stations of the cross, a Madonna and child, Christ on the cross, Christ risen and perhaps Moses – all tenderly carved. The ceiling held large interlocking circles of reeds – a dramatic effect though I do not know the symbolism – and the expansive feel of the yellow interior which could hold maybe 700 a 800 was uplifting.
We returned to our cars to find our drivers had been fishing while we were away and had hung 6 fresh fish from the passenger rearview mirrors where they remained for the rest of our journey to Blantyre.
We arrived in Blantyre around 5:00 to find a bustling urban setting crowded with people going here and there among more developed markets and stores on paved roads, a few even of 4 lanes. We moved into Assemblies of God guest house which we have taken over at a very reasonable price for the remainder of our stay. After a quick shop at the ShopRite which had a rather nice selection of foods other than salad fixings, we made our own spaghetti dinner.