*The event targets to raise K7m for training of tour guides
By Duncan Mlanjira
The team of 10 that are walking from Blantyre to Lilongwe — a driving distance of over 360kms — to raise funds that will be invested in the training and eventual certification of 100 tour guides across the country — celebrated covering the 100km mark on Monday along the road from Phalula in Balaka to Chikondi Stop Over in the same district.
The event, that started from Sunday till November 30, has been organised by Paulendo Adventures, a Malawian tour company that aims at promoting tourism both local and international through travel, hiking and sustainability of the environment.
The first leg was from Blantyre to Mdeka and on Sunday they spent the night at Phalula before walking 34km on Monday to reach Chikondi Stop Over.
“Though today has not been easy as seen in the kilometres walked, we felt rejuvenated when we celebrated the 100km mark along the road and we told one another not to give up,” they posted on the special Facebook account that has been created.
Assisting the walkers in kind are various partners and among them is Mellet Enterprise, manufacturers of Frost bottled water, who said they are “proud to be supporting this great initiative to empower tour guides”.
“We are now in Balaka, preparing to set off tomorrow and we need more ice to be used for feet massaging,” they said, adding that other wellwishers along the route are giving them moral support.
One of them, Mission Malango, who is originally from Mulanje, got interested in the walkers and when told what the event was for, he made a sacrificial donation of K100 on the spot.
“This is pure sacrifice,” said the walkers on the Facebook page. “You can also make donations of any amount just like Malango did through: National Bank of Malawi; Top Mandala Branch; Account Name Paulendo Adventures; account number: 1006755417.”
Donations can also be made through Airtel Money (0999 650 826); TNM Mpamba (0881 034 149) or through GoFundMe (http://gf.me/u/y7bvu4).
TNM has made a platnum donation of K2 million to the cause.
They also reported that the scorching heat of Balaka really took a toll on them and had to make several stops under tree shades for fresh breathers.
They are appealing for donations of ice to be for massaging their aching bodies as well as food assistance.
Paulendo Adventures owner, Yangairo Yangairo said they are using tents for sleepovers as well as medical rescue team to be organised by owner of Banja Care Clinic, Sam Matandala throughout the 10 days.
Yangairo said this adventure was mooted together with Kaliati as a social responsibility of giving back to the tourism industry and taking cognizance of the role tour guides play.
“There are many tour guide around but they don’t have the right etiquette to handle tourists professionally,” Yangairo said.
“They earn their bread and butter from this occupation and by training them we are also contributing towards job creation.
“Through our operations, we need to interact with them and we do see some signs that we realize can disappoint tourists thus the need to properly train them,” he said.