Eco-lodge on the beautiful shores of lake Malawi
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Hey All, My name is Tamra. I'm from the US but am currently living and working in beautiful Malawi. In 2018, I set forth on a journey - to merge the things I'm passionate about into a force for positive social change. And what that looks like is the social enterprise I'm currently building - an eco-lodge on Lake Malawi (more about that in project description). I'm a strong, independent woman and mother that lives life in a way that works for me but also promotes peace, love and harmony with nature and all beings. I value and revere the connection we all have as humans on this earth and my philosophy is to harness our collective nature into solving the ever changing problems we face together - as a community and with our environment. Practically speaking, I love building relationships and working with other like minded people to solve challenges. I have a very busy lifestyle and have to keep a high degree of balance to make it all work, which I'm successful at most of the time :) I spend about 8 months of the year (non-consecutively) in Malawi working on the eco-lodge and the nonprofit I've founded with my Malawian colleague. The other 4 months of the year I travel back to Colorado to be with my 8 year old son, who is schooling there. He also spends his 2 month school break with me in Malawi - so you might see him around here if you are lucky. He's a pretty cool little dude!
The project is located in northern Malawi, in a rural but not too remote area just north of Chilumba. Currently, the eco-lodge is under construction and not open but I spend about 3 or 4 nights a week "camping" on the land. There is no power or water (besides the lake and boiled/filtered drinking water) but it's a beautiful spot on the lake (arguably the best in the country but I'm biased) to spend your days and nights. The village is called Chitende (if you look on google maps you can find us under a "place-holder" name of Chitende Beach Eco-lodge). You can find us online at thecovemalawi.com or on social @thecovemalawi. When I'm not camping on the land, I stay in a more urban area called Uliwa. It's a bustling little trading center right along the main tarmac road, the M1. I rent a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house with power, water, kitchen, etc. It's a nice break from the camping life and a place to recharge all the gadgets and stock up on food. Most days I drive part of the way to Chitende with my car and walk about 20 minutes to get all the way there. The road to Chitende is really only fully accessible with motorbike which I do take sometimes as well. We are working on fundraising to improve our road so that it's accessible by car, year round. Rainy season is really the troublemaker for us!
Come contribute your creative fire, natural building and/or permaculture skills in one of the most warm, welcoming, pristine environments around. The Warm Heart of Africa - that is Malawi! We are building an eco-lodge in Malawi on one of the most beautiful spots on the lake. We strive to nurture and protect the natural environment in which we work. To do this, we've embraced a natural building philosophy that re-purposes natural and artificial resources that are going to waste. We are constantly surveying our local landscape to identify natural materials that don't get used. Many things are left to rot or end up getting unnecessarily burnt. *Plastic waste and pollution is a big problem in Malawi and we are exploring creative (and beautiful) ways to collect and build with trash. *Rice farms are abundant in our area and produce a lot of natural by-products, like rice husks and rice straw, both incredible building materials. *There are Kapok trees galore that provide incredibly soft and useful "cotton" fiber. *Even with Malawi's deforestation concerns, there are still so many trees that are cut or fall naturally that don't get used. Experimenting with natural building techniques like cordwood, light-clay straw, cob, stone and eco-brick building also helps us educate the community on different ways to better utilize what nature is giving us. The Cove is also unique in that we are allowing nature to actually shape the design of the lodge itself. By this, I mean that we are intentionally choosing to build our structures where nature has already provided us a clearing. Of course this can prove to be challenging on our timeline and budget, but it means that we will integrate ourselves into our environment in a healthy, non-destructive manner.
There are two options for accommodation and you can choose either or a combination of both: 1. Camping - if you so choose, you can spend your nights in a tent along the shores of lake Malawi. Bring your own tent or use ours. We have a wooden camping platform, dirt spaces and a space under a half constructed bungalow. And there is also always the beach! *Be advised though, this option is really basic. We still do not have power (just power banks we charge at our house). Our composting toilet is ALMOST finished, but currently we use a pit latrine. Drinking water is boiled and filtered and available at the campsite. Showering is done in the lake - but the water is fresh and clear. 2. House - there are two rooms available in a rented house that I, Tamra, live in at the trading center of Uliwa. One room has a single twin bed and the second room has a bunk bed with a double on bottom and single on top. Both rooms have a shared bathroom with shower. There is no hot water but that is really never needed due to our hot climate. The kitchen is also shared. Both rooms have fans and we are lucky that we rarely ever lose power or water (unlike some places in Malawi).
During the work week (M-F) lunch is provided at the land in Chitende. Our chef makes a nice variety of local foods and our menu can accomodate pretty much all food restrictions (I am gluten-free). You just need to let us know. Dinners are more flexible. If you chose to camp, we can provide food to cook, but depending on how many other people are camping, you may need to cook your own dinners. If you are unable or unwilling, we can arrange for someone to cook for you. At the house in Uliwa, shared dinners are more common. The food items will be purchased (unless you want something special from town - like cheese or specialty food items), but the cooking is often do more as a team or we take turns. Again, if you would prefer to have all the food cooked for you, that can also be arranged. We are extremely flexible and we want to accomodate everyones own style of eating. Breakfasts are usually pretty simple, as we like to get an early start on our days. They can include fruits, yogurt, hard boiled eggs, oats or porridge. Tea break (M-F) is also included while working in Chitende.