After the World Vision part of my trip I went on a safari with a couple of friends. It was a big change from the places we had visited off the beaten path - but it gave me the chance to see the beauty and majesty of this peaceful country up close and personal.
Speaking of majesty - found out that just a few weeks before we arrived at Mvuu Wilderness Lodge, that Prince Harry was there helping with the elephant relocation program.
You see, with poverty comes all kinds of nasty ways that people try to make money to survive, and one of them is poaching. Poaching elephants, taking their tusks, and selling them on the black market brings in money. And money can be used to buy food for your family. So when you're desperate you do desperate things.
Things are turning around in Malawi. Yes, there's still poverty, but the government is cracking down on the poaching because they need the animals. Rhinos, elephants, zebras and all of those mighty creatures found in Malawi bring in tourists and tourists bring in money. Simple as that.
Now that the numbers of elephants are increasing, the government - along with Prince Harry - has been busy relocating these lovely beasts to other parts of Malawi. And that my friend, is a sign of progress. Increasing herd numbers, increased sightings of different animals, including the elusive Sable Antelope, means stability and more potential to attract foreigners to your country to spend their money on lodging, food, and those fine crafts from the market that I'll be carrying back in my overfilled suitcases.
Turns out Prince Harry stayed at the same lodge we were staying at. Wow! Imagine that! To say you ate at the same table as royalty is kind of cool, even if it wasn't at the same time. Anyways, while eating my breakfast outside on the deck of my cabin at Mvuu lodge, a vervet monkey visited me and tried to convince me to give him my bisquit. "No no," I told him as I pointed to a sign. "You remember the rules. No feeding the monkeys." He was most perturbed.
So in honour of Prince Harry's visit I named this cute little creature "Prince Harry". He's cute, he's got a sense of adventure and he has good manners. After all, he didn't steal my bisquit like some of the other monkeys. But then again that's another story.
My journey as an author, giving voice to those who can't - or won't - speak.