Trip Start Jun 21, 2007
14Trip End Aug 03, 2007
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The following day while a portion of the group ventured off on a 30km hike to the village of Livingstonia a small group of us walked around the village of Chitimba to see how the locals lived.
When we reached the hut of the witch doctor everyone waited outside while we entered and awaited his arrival. A few minutes later a fifty-something year old man came in wearing what appeared to be an old red cross nurses dress, yeah it was the witch doctor. He proceeded to dance around the room blowing a whistle while two other guys banged away on bongo drums in the background.
Witch Doctor: You are traveling from North to South.
Paul: Yes. (Oh, he's good! It's not like anyone of our entourage could have told him that before hand.)
WD: You are single.
Paul: Yeah. (an easy assumption as I was there alone)
WD: You are from America, but you live in another country.
Paul: Yeah. (okay, pretty damn good)
WD: After your trip you will return to your home and find the woman you will marry (I have begun to grin with amusement). She will not be from your country (At this time I was no longer grinning, since I had been down that road before and don't plan on going down that road again). You will have 3 children --- the first one a daughter and then two sons.
Paul: Cool. Thanks. (I really think you're full of shit)
The others proceeded to have their futures told to them and luckily I found out that they were told pretty much verbatim the same damn thing. Whew! Now I know he was full of shit.
As we returned to the campsite I stopped off at a crafts market to look for some African masks. I found a couple that I liked along with some other wood carvings and while negotiating on a price the man running the stall asked if I had anything to trade. Hmm, this is intriguing. I had bought a tent with me on the trip that I had yet to use due to an abundance of extra tents in the truck. I figured I could trade that and relieve me of having to carry it around when I reached South Africa. I rushed back to the truck, got the tent, and returned to the market. The man was trying to be a shrewd businessman by telling me that I would have to give him some money plus the tent. Figuring what he was giving me was worth no more than $30 I just looked at him and said "You're giving me 4 pieces of wood and I am giving you a home!" Now if you have ever seen a Malawi village home you would understand how big of an upgrade my canvas tent was! I proceeded to show him how to put the tent together (with the help of about 6 others who were eager to see what the tent looked like). It felt like I was part of Habitat for Humanity building this mans house with the help of locals. When the tent was set up I could see his eyes were about to pop out of his head along with a big smile on his face. At this point I knew I had the upper hand in the negotiations. I probably could have got a couple of other carvings off of him but I was content with what I got, however, he still wanted more from me. "Okay, plus three beers" he said. "Uh, No" I said. "Two beers?" "No" "One beer" "Ah, what the hell I'll buy you a beer." I went off and got him a beer and when I returned I asked him what he was going to do with the tent figuring he might trade or sell it. "Sleep in it" he said!