Mutinondo Meander I Newsletter 2004 I Newsletter 2005 I Newsletter 2006 I Newsletter 2007 I Newsletter 2008 I Newsletter 2010 I Newsletter 2011 I Newsletter 2012 I Chintu Mukulu I Alternative Energy I Gemstones & Jewelry
Mike's niece' s wedding was a great way to start the year. It meant us having to go to Melbourne for a family get together followed by some exploration around the south east toe of Oz soaking up all the good things found around there -our visitors at Mutinondo ask us what we do for holidays...we love to visit the sea! Fortunately microlighting is also attracted to coasts because we then stayed on to have microlight lessons near Sydney (Kiama) and New Zealand (Tauranga). Mike hung in there heroically and was in reach of going solo, Lari decided after two and half hours that horses were far more negotiable and friendly than these wandering wings! This trip was also the beginning of our website, a chance to discuss its creation with Alison, (another niece of Mike's) who got us motivated.
Quentin Allen (artist) and Steve Robinson (photographer) looked after Mutinondo in our absence and celebrated the full rivers and waterfalls with magnificent creations, these have just (6/12/03) been exhibited in the Photo-Sketchy exhibition in Lusaka. An interesting mix of media rendering all their hard work, wet camping, trekking and mid-night-like mornings admirably.
We returned to wonderful surprises ala Quentin and Steve. Thanks and congratulations to Steve for managing to conquer our ever swelling office contents and Quentin fulfilled a childhood dream by discovering rock paintings on no other than Quentin's Rock……??? - He promptly proved his merriment by decorating the family chalet (Musase) with a crescendo of fabulous rock art! Apart from this, putting up much needed rustic signposts, paintings galore, Quents also did wonderful work on the illustrations for the Miombo Woodland Book which he is doing with Paul Smith from Kew. This book is now at Kew Publishers and we can't wait to see the finished product of these clever chaps.
Good bookings also greeted us, including our first seminar and three school groups from the UK! Business has increased this year and we have been very happy to have many visitors return a second and sometimes a third time. We weren't sure what the tourism world was going to bring us when we eventually opened two and a half years ago and so far we feel very privileged to have had such super guests. We enjoy getting to know them, having to get out of the office and show off and enjoy our lovely home …….. and then they pay us! Many, many thanks to all our visitors for making our "work" such a pleasure! Our endemic Bar-winged weavers have lured amazing dedication this way and we look forward to seeing Patrick and Marie-Louise Cardwell, Warwick and Michele Tarboton and Johann and Lizet Grobblaars' good work being published in "African Birds and Birding" and other journals.
The rock art find inspired us to go searching and we were rewarded well on Charlie's Rock with some more rock art and then, after years of corresponding with Larry Barham, (head of the Archaeological Dept. of Bristol University) about Nachikufu Caves, Larry and his wife Mary visited us and we could show them these exciting samples. Larry is leading some archaeological work in Luangwa Valley and hopes to include this area in the big picture of early man -all very exciting!
The work plan whilst we were away should have been clearing the airstrip but unfortunately the Department of Civil Aviation couldn't check the site before we left. We really need an airstrip so that we will be accessible for those flying between camps and for the Mike and the microlight (which we bought last year). A visit from DCA this year seems to have concluded positively after a rather unpleasant overnight allowance dispute! Let's hope the 2004 newsletter is proof of the verbal assurances we have since received from them.
Bonnie, our Chef was diagnosed with diabetes at the beginning of this year and he looked terrible after not being able to get treatment in Lusaka. Fortunately he agreed to come home with us and be treated at Chilonga Hospital and thanks to the wonderful care of Dr. Pauline and Dr. Mijum is back to his super-self again testing his own sugar levels on his own magic new machine. David, Kennedy and Pata-pata Peter have proved their tour guide capabilities this year by impressing many of our guests with their good bush knowledge. Jo, Co, David and Collins have been learning to ride this year and, like Clement, Kennedy and Peter are proving to be very sympathetic capable riders. Our number three chef Guinea decided to walk out on us due to kitchen friction so we are training up Co, Chris and Kennedy to all be able to help Bonnie and Christopher when required. Fred, Bright and the road gang have done wonders keeping our road "as short as possible" and in general a big thanks to all our staff for being such a big part of Mutinondo and for helping to make this year quite stress free.
Our soya farmer outgrower business this year wasn't as good as last year with poor growth of a new variety of seed and we lost a lot of our loan repayments to briefcase businessmen men who sadly pay poorly, spoil the system and trust and are here today, gone tomorrow! Our Farmers Shop is still being hobbled by dishonesty but hopefully to a lesser extent. The jewellery workshop in Mpika got resurrected thanks to the return of the runaway jewellers. Lari has trained Simon from a nearby village to cut and set stones and he is now doing a lot of the time-consuming work allowing Lari more time for the accounts and office. (Lari has since regretted not having given Simon computer lessons instead!) Chintu Mukulu, the Community Natural Resources Reserve project went through a bad time this year with unfulfilled plans from the consultants leaving the people on the ground in a very tricky situation. The land application for the project has now been approved despite some very disappointing political interference so we look forward to some positive results in this department for 2004. During these frustrations we have tried to initiate some smaller proposals, Kalulu Crafts- Salamo Village Industries being the most exciting. Ryan Chibowa who is responsible for all the recycling, tailoring etc at Mutinondo wants a craft centre along the road to expand his market and offer a central selling place for other craftsmen in the area. His proposal is complete and being circulated and we wish him all the very best. Contract workers from the village did good business with brick making and thatching grass cutting and cleaning for us and it is good to have had spare grass to sell. This is something we would like to expand as a village industry.
Development at Mutinondo includes a jewellery workshop and shop for Lari to prevent the reception from disappearing any further under tools, work benches, cutting machines and show cabinets! The shop has been designed to also accommodate a permanent exhibition of Quentin and Steves' pictures in the form of prints, framed originals, greeting and post cards as well as the locally made Mutinondo Products and Kalulu Crafts. An enclosed lounge, dining room and kitchen is also nearly completed, to save our guests from any more freezing winter dinners! Two new horses joined us this year and a lot of dust was kicked up in October with our original 4 having not seen any other horses since 1997! They've since settled down well and its great to see them all grazing and wandering peacefully around our wilderness. Baby (Black eyed) Bulbul has also joined us. Jay and Paddy Fisher (Lari's nephews) rescued him and brought him up wonderfully. They decided that Mutinondo was the safest place for him to grow up with no cats or dogs. He is a great distraction, flies between wilderness, office and people at will and charms everyone. He may even have contributed to the very pleasant visit and clean bill of health from ZRA the other day! - A good note on which to start the New Year.
Love and best wishes for 2004!
Mutinondo Meander I Newsletter 2004 I Newsletter 2005 I Newsletter 2006 I Newsletter 2007 I Newsletter 2008 I Newsletter 2010 I Newsletter 2011 I Chintu Mukulu I Alternative Energy I Gemstones & Jewelry