Time flies when you’re having fun. Or when your mates are hammering so hard on a consultancy that there is not much time for fun. Over the past 6-8 weeks, Manyoni and I have had the pleasure of hosting two of our friends who I worked with in Zambia. They were here to do a short-term consultancy on community-led total sanitation and Sanitation Marketing.
As they were given six weeks to do what it took me a year to complete, it is not surprising that they were rather occupied for most of their stay. However, we did manage to get in a year’s worth of catch-up over late-night Indian and Korean dinners. Having the three shit sisters together again also meant that these dinners conversations were largely centred on faeces and menstrual hygiene: I think Manyoni did remarkably well to hide his delight.
Despite their workload, we did manage to play tourist on a few occasions, including two hikes and a weekend trip to the stunning Maravaghi.
I have already spoken about our hike to Kakobona in the previous blog, so won’t rehash it here. Instead, we’ll jump straight to Maravaghi.
Pretty much anyone who comes to vist me in Solomon Islands will be forced to join me on a weekend getaway to Maravaghi. I have spoken about Maravaghi several times before, so I need not go into the details of the massive amounts of fish, beautiful coral, and relaxing vibe of the place. Nor will I mention the fact that, on this trip, everyone in the resort got to see gigantic manta rays up close except us (a sight in the Solomon Islands that has eluded me despite many, many attempts).
What did set this trip apart from others, though, was swimming among the massive amounts of fish and beautiful coral in ballroom dresses with our new-found friend Martina – It’s probably best not to ask why we were doing this. Instead, just enjoy the photos.
If you have been a dedicated long-term reader of my blog, you might remember my first journey to Mataniko falls, where I suffered a loss of $1,000 in phone, camera and orthotics at the hands of the Mataniko’s crystal clear water. This time, I was totally prepared. I even bought a waterproof camera just for this occasion.
The hike up to the ridgeline, along it, and down the steep hill at the other end was just as hot, sweaty and horrendous as I remembered. However, the falls seemed even more beautiful this time around. I was so excited to be able to finally take some photos to share with you all! Oh, except that my camera decided to stop working as soon as we reached the falls. Gah!
So, yet again, you will have to survive with my feeble attempts to describe the scene: A cascade of white water snaking over smooth rocks, plunging into a deep and refreshing crystal clear pool. A large cave next to the falls, with torrential water smashing its way through an opening overhead and churning up the shallow pool below. A tranquility not found elsewhere in Honiara, as we floated gently down the cool river on our cheap blow-up tubes. Hearing my friends’ yells of agony as they sustained mammoth bruising while skimming over shallow rapids and sharp boulders in their rapidly-deflating tubes. Watching Manyoni walking alongside the river in his tough-man camo army gear and sunglasses, with a bright blue child’s blow-up tube around his waist like a tutu. Reaching the end looking like drowned rats and being largely immobile for the remainder of the day.