Bandawe Mission and Graves

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Things to do


Date of travel

September, 2017

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Whilst staying at “Chintheche Inn, Malawi”:, we visited Bandawe, originally the home of the LIvingstonia Mission before it was moved to its present location: it was thought the location was contributing to the malaria suffered by the Scottish missionaries.

It’s now a national monument and the home of the Bandawe Congregational Church. Having established the vicar had gone away for the day, his wife eventually found the key and let us in. It was huge but with only a few wooden pews and stone steps, there was lots of space. We were asked to sign the visitors book (I have no idea what happens to them all) and make a small donation.

We then drove a short distance to the graves of missionaries associated with the old Bandawe Church, established in 1881 by Rev Dr and Mrs Robert Laws. They were unusual in that they were in a solid line and each plot was huge. The majority appeared from their names to be Scottish, e.g. James Edward Frazer and we wondered what had made them go in the first place, when the prospect of them catching malaria was great and they were very young.

There were also two other, more recent graves. The first was of Mama Jane Jackson, the owner of a nearby lodge, who died in a paragliding accident in Zimbabwe in 1997. The second, according to our travel guide was of an unknown mazungu (white person) but a headstone had been erected to Matthew ‘Matty’ Stocks who died in 2006 and was inscribed ‘he left footprints on the heart of many around the world’. It was unclear how he had died, although we were told he was found on the beach but neither our guides, Everlasting and Wesley, wanted to elaborate.

Back in the jeep, we had to turn around and soon found ourselves stuck with the rear left wheel buried half way in soft sand. Fortunately, there were a few houses nearby and Everlasting and Wesley tried to dig out the sand and shore up with wooden planks. Two small boys came out to ‘assist’ along with an elderly bare-footed woman, who loudly and with much pointing told them they’d turned around in the wrong place.

Helen Jackson

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