On my way


So, just what is this all about anyway?  

Good question!  I'm not entirely sure myself yet, but let me try to answer that as best I can right now:

For the next three months (more or less), I will be serving as the Guest Choir Director for the Manda Wilderness Choral Festival.  To quote from the description of this position that I first saw at the end of last year:
The primary purpose of this position is to help plan and run the Manda Wilderness Choir Festival. In its fourth year, the festival will take place on July 27, 2013, and will bring together villages and choirs from the entire Manda Wilderness area. The Guest Choir Director would be responsible for touring the participating villages and delivering training sessions to each village choir prior to the festival.    
So it is that I start on a journey to a place I don't really know at all yet!  The map on the right is helpful, even if a bit confusing.  It comes from the Malawi tourism council, so naturally it emphasizes the wonders of Malawi.  Thus it is that the map proudly says "Central Malawi" over a part of land that is not part of Malawi at all, but Mozambique.  The circle is over the spot where Manda wilderness is, specifically Nkwichi Lodge, the headquarters for all who come to the Manda region.  The lodge is so nice that the Malawi Tourism Council sees fit to promote it as part of its own country's tourist draw.  I certainly take this as a good sign!

The crooked red line running from the top to the bottom of this map marks the boundary between Malawi to the west and Mozambique to the east.  You will note the jut into the lake; note also that there are two dots above the white circle: these two dots are island exclaves of Malawi; that is, they are small parts of Malawian territory completely surrounded by Mozambique.  The eastern island of Likoma, as well as the Mozambican mainland in and around the white circle, will be the primary focus of my time in Africa this Summer.  

From the base at Nkwichi Lodge I will be hiking from village to village in the region to see if the local choral directors would like any support or assistance as they prepare for their July festival.  I will also be teaching a song or two to all the choirs to sing together at the festival, assuming they approve of any of the selections I am bringing (or perhaps as they create their own selection!).  Naturally I expect to learn a lot from this experience; indeed, I already have.

One of the first lessons I have learned is to be as flexible as possible.  Currently I am writing this as part of an all-nighter, preparing to board the first plane fo this morning.  My itinerary will involve about twenty-four hours of flying: Boston (at 6:30 a.m.) to Toronto to Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) to Lilongwe (Malawi).  I thought I would be taking a charter flight right out to Likoma (remember Likoma? see above), and from thence taking a boat the rest of the way to the Mozambican mainland.  As it turns out, however, the flights to Likoma are full until Friday, so I will have a couple of days to get to know some of the Malawian capital before I make my way to my Summer destination.  That's fine!  If nobody else is bothered by such changes, then I see no reason why I should be either.

Barring any further surprises, I think my next post will come from Africa.  Lilongwe?  Perhaps.  Likoma? Maybe.  Nkwichi? Who knows?  That's adventure!

A quick note about blog format:  Until I get to Manda Wilderness and see how internet access works, I am disabling comments on the blog.  I would not want comments to go unmoderated for too long, or the comment section might be awash in spam!  Once I understand more concerning my temporary home this Summer, then I might be able to lift the restriction.  Thanks for your patience!


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    A choral conductor walking cheerfully over the world...


    May 2013