Likoma may be a small island, 5 miles by 2 miles, and only have a population of a few thousand but it has a cathedral. Not just any cathedral but one of the biggest in Africa. The Victorian Anglican missionaries built it (I don't suppose they built it themselves) between 1903 and 1905 on the site one of them witnessed three witches being burnt to death a few years previously. It is the size of Westminster Cathedral, many of the bricks were imported from Mozambique and the choir stalls, font and baptism pool are carved from soap stone. It seems lovingly cared for and one of the gardeners was very pleased to have the opportunity to show us round. It was surprisingly light inside despite having very small windows quite high up above the nave.
The island was the headquarters of the Anglican church until after WWII and a positive consequence of this is a 100% literacy rate
Despite all this the belief in witchcraft is still very strong and the local witch doctor is highly regarded.
We walked the 2 miles to the "city" to visit the cathedral and check out the local hot spots, we were back by 11.30. We were adopted by a group of primary school children on their way home from school, the eldest was probably 8, the youngest 4 or 5. They all walk the mile home together but without any supervision, they grabbed our hands and walked along chatting away happily. By the time we reached the lodge all but two had dropped away as we passed their homes, the last two we invited into the bar for a drink, they sat on the chairs and were very taken with the bottled water, it is chilled, something they are unfamiliar with at home. Can you imagine this happening in the UK, two strangers showing any interest in unaccompanied children would be locked up!
Whilst having our lunch what appeared to be a cloud of black smoke drifted across the water from Mozambique, when it arrived we realised it was a cloud of tiny flies, millions of them drifting over the trees like a mist, picture attached. The barman told us they were Lake flies and that no one knew where they came from nor what sets them off, the other two Malawians in the bar had never seen them before, fortunately they don't bite.
Apart from the Cathedral the other thing the island is famous for are the sunsets, we are accumulating an awful lot of sunset pictures to bore you all with when we get home.
Off to the big city
Monday, October 31, 2016
Likoma, Northern Region, Malawi