For those of you who don't know what SNAFU means, it is an army acronym and you should look it up :)
But it does capture the essence of Zomba Forest Lodge and the hecticness that lies within.
All our energies have either been going into the Run 4 Reforstation and/or into fire fighting/prevention/co-ordination and some of it has been put into looking after our lovely guests. Luckily our guests are the easiest to manage and have not required us to go tearing around the mountain, although some (who shall not be named) have required that we go and find them as they followed Google Maps despite having been instructed not to - But hey ho, one has to remind oneself that Google is not right ALL the time.
And speaking, vaguely of tearing around the mountain, I went run/walking around the mountain as part of the Run 4 Reforestation work. I wanted to know if we could use the same routes again - so I set of with Jonas (chief of the Zomba Tour Guides, chief of FC Berries and chief helper for Zomba TREEZ) and we ran (much more slowly than he wanted) around the 10km and half of the 21km routes whilst marking where the marshalls will be on the day.
And while some of the run was stunning, there is still commercial logging going on (it is a working plantation and a viable economic resource if well managed), what is more heartbreaking is the extent of the fire damage. The lack of manpower and financial resources on the mountain combined with irresponsible behaviour from the part of the some of the loggers and neighbouring communities (and in the case of a fire on the outer slopes: a faulty Escom cable!!) has lead to vast swathes of the mountain to be burnt.
The Plateau is home to the sources of water for half a million people at least, it is a source of income for the tourism industry and for the government. It should not be allowed to be ravaged in such a way.
The funds from last year's Run 4 Reforestation went into creating and maintaining a tree nursery so that we can replant indigenous trees on the Plateau in selected areas, but the bulk of it has gone into trying to prevent these fires and fighting them when they do occur.
The visible devastation is a reminder of why we are raising money for the conservation of the Plateau and why it is so important.
Jonas and I didn't complete the 21km - we opted to bail around Chagwa dam and the views coming down from Chagwa peak are stunning - something positive to look forward to at the end :)