So 2018 has been a great year for planting - we got the rain.... eventually! Yes the planting started late as the rains continuously spurned us during January. We watched the rain soak the country around us while Zomba stayed dry but rain it did, we just had to be patient :)

And we had a lot of trees.

Some of the trees we got privately and some of the them (a lot of them) were from One Acre Fund via FRIM and all thanks to some generous guests, Friends of Malawi Association and the Responsible Safari Company to name but a few.

The Malacamu Village ladies and the Nankhunda choir did a lot of the planting as did the 2 football teams whom TREEZ sponsors: the Happy Hammers and Berries FC.

Jonas Beard also continues to be a tremendous help: as well as organising his own environmental awareness programme (Nankhunda Transformation), he has been helping the Tour Guides Association and TREEZ and even organised a concert on Martyrs Days for the local communities which went down a storm and all in the name of conservation.

The Outer Western Slopes of the Plateau are looking great - Most of the area has been replanted and it has been amazingly well maintained. Now are visible large areas of young pine varying from babies to yound adolescents and it won't be long before we lose the incredible views but that is a small price to pay for a return to the pine forests. The Forestry Department and the Mulunguzi Timber Co-Operative have done an outstanding job on our side. Lets hope that it can serve as an example for the rest of the Plateau and other forest reserves. Why not repopulate Chiradzulu Forest Reserve (which has no more trees) for example?! It can be done :)

A big well done and a huge thank you to all those who have been and continue to be involved with TREEZ!

So days 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 all go swimmingly: Tom cleaned and painted whilst I walked the dogs, entertained my baby brother and cooked for us all (which means cooking for 5!). Days 6, 7 and 8 go in a similar fashion except that I have lost my baby brother (back to normal life) and in between walking hounds and cooking, I got to do some toilet scrubbing (great!!) and some painting, and then some more cleaning but we are definitely making progress. By the evening of Day 9, all the rooms are clean and repainted. For Days 10 and 11, we had planned putting the lodge back together. 

I must also add as it is fairly relevant and ironic:

From Day 1, all the way to day 9 we had been waiting for rain! Our rainfall in January has been REALLY low so I had been doing some little rain dances when I was walking the dogs and I didn't think anyone was watching - obviously in Malawi there is probably always somebody watching! Maybe I got extra brownie points for having witnesses to my weird and wee bit ridiculous behaviour... but on the night of the 9th, we were woken up by rain, and thunder. And then there was BIG rain and BIG thunder, and then, we were blinded with our eyes closed and simultaneously deafened by this gigantic clap of lightning!!! We both thought that that one was a bit close! We do have lots of very big trees around us after all!

But in the morning of Day 10, when cleaning and tidying were supposed to take place, we discovered that the lower corner of one of the khonde pillars had been blown away. There was also some paint damage in the lodge :/ We had JUST finished painting it!!! So the paint pots came back out, and now instead of looking forward to Day 12 being off, we are looking at Day 12 and Day 13 painting, cleaning, tidying: Joy! 

On the plus side: we did get some rain! We are not sure how much as our rain gauge is broken at the top but this morning it was overflowing at 60mm.

Be careful for what you wish for they say :)