Welcome to the my blog. My name is Lucy Farfort i'm a freelance illustrator & designer maker. This is where you can find out what i've been up to of late, read my attempts at a decent post & the rantings of a visual addict. Hope you like it. You can contact me to say 'hi' by email on lucy@lucyshappyplace.com
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Sunday, 12 October 2014

Introduction – A mzungu (foreigner) in Malawi

I knew going to Malawi would inspire some blog posts and it was my intention to start writing last weekend, but I instead spent it perfecting a proposal to Brass:Pitch which involved writing an educational kid’s story about the Industrial Revolution. I’m not convinced it will lead anywhere, as my idea is quite different to anything else they’ve commissioned, but I thought it was worth a go. Anyway I digress.

Its difficult to know where to start with documenting the holiday, as so much seemed to happen over what was a very short period of time - just 2 & ½ weeks.  I’ve never had a holiday where time seemed to pass so slowly – and I mean that in a good way, but what was just over two weeks felt like a month.
I guess the best place to start from is the beginning. So why Malawi?
Two reasons: 1) because we wanted the honeymoon to involve some kind of festival, in tribute to how we originally met (at Glastonbury), and 2) because Dave’s friend from school - Tom & his wife Janey, own MabuyaCamp in Lilongwe so we wanted to visit, plus knowing someone in a foreign land has obvious advantages. Huge thanks to Tom and Janey for all their help and advice.

Now this is going to sound naïve and weird, but as someone who has never been to Africa and whose only knowledge comes from the news, I was really struck by how Malawi is exactly like the images you see of Africa on T.V.  Women carrying water buckets on their head, children pumping wells, bikes laden with sugar cane, thatched mud huts etc. I know its crazy, but when watching it on television, being so distant from it, I think a big part of me unconsciously felt like it was probably a bit set up to capture a clichéd image. So I was actually a bit shocked to see that things are exactly as depicted. Yeah I know that sounds totally ridiculous!



 I really knew very little about Malawi before going and having never visited a developing country before it was a real education. It was only during the visit that I found out it is one of the poorest countries in the world with 40% of its budget relying on foreign aid. 



 Despite a tough existence though almost all the people we met (and not just the touts looking to sell their wares) were really friendly and helpful. 

The holiday turned out to be split into three parts. I say turned out because there was a big part of it that we deliberately hadn’t planned, so we could get a feeling when we arrived of what might be best to see & do. So there was the safari, which was in Zambia not Malawi, then the road trip, and the ‘Lake of Stars’ festival at the end.

Its impossible to condense our trip into a single post so I’m going to do three (or four) to reflect the different parts of the holiday. And rather than start here I’ll post the first one about the safari next week.
In the meantime if you’d like to take a gander, I’ve uploaded all the photos from the holiday onto Facebook, and below is one of my favourite pics as it sums up the people and the attitude pretty well -  ‘resourceful’ and ‘hakuna matata (no worries), it’ll be fine!’

Captured through the back window on the drive to Cape Maclear – a small pickup carrying a boat 2x it’s size.


  1. Wow to that last photo! Looks like an amazing place and can't wait to hear more about it.

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