Tikodane

Let’s just say that Eastern Province was a touch more difficult than Southern Province.  This seems to be due to the fact that most tourists fly in and out of South Luangwa (or at the very least, don’t stop along the way to and from the park!).  This means that the water, when it is running, is mostly cold.  The electricity comes and goes as it pleases — and there are not generators to make up for the loss.  And there are rats and “wild things” :) that appear more friendly — or just are noisier? — than in other places visited thus far.  Finally, the transit is much more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants deal (i.e. most people are happy and willing to jump in the back of a truck rather than wait for hard to find transport).  These “truisms” were found throughout our journey in Eastern Province — from Chipata to Katete to Petauke.

From our time in Chipata (good research-wise but left something to be desired tourist-wise), we ventured westward to Katete.  Based on the recommendations of other researchers met and the Lonely Planet, we stayed at Tikodane.  Tiko is a local NGO, started and facilitated by a single, older mzungu woman who came to Katete ~15 years ago after her husband died.  Her goal was to start a local, economically sustainable guesthouse and craft center.  We couldn’t wait to get there!

Once we arrived, it was clear that the local part was very true — the locale (in a village on the outskirts of town), the facilities (the Lonely Planet described them as monastic), and the food all where certainly local.  And, the sustainability also seemed to be in full-effect.  Local people are employed (albeit with minimal wages), and local folks do most of the coordination and operation of the guesthouse.  It was certainly a comfortable — if not eccentric! — place to land.  We were surrounded by locals who came by at the end of the day for a beer, travelers who were volunteering for the long-term (these guys were *characters!!*).

Far and away, the most notable part of staying at Tiko was *the best* run had yet on this trip.  We had a 9 miler to complete, and struck out around 4pm.  We ran through the small village, past the local (very well run) hospital, and out to a village.  It was GORGEOUS.  The sun was starting its progression into a setting position, the road was clear of cars — just people walking and riding their bikes, the fields surrounded us on all sides, and we were on the slightest hill which afforded us views of the valley.  As we ran through one small village after another, people would greet us and us them — but we felt less like a spectacle (as we do when running in town).  We ended up jumping from stone to stone to clear a few creeks, running through banana fields, and along narrow pathways.  On our way back, two young Zambians ran with us for one and two miles respectively — they just wanted to hang with us and chat a bit.  Simply perfect — it was the kind of run you dream of having in “Africa.”

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2 Responses to Tikodane

  1. Dad says:

    After your dissertation, Julianna, and in addition to your day-jobs, you guys ought to consider writing articles for travel magazines, travelers’ guides, runners’ guides, etc. Your posts are excellent and create wonderful images in my mind’s eye.

  2. Mama says:

    Totally lovely imagery. Could be a scene from an introspective, indie movie.

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