Tuesday, November 5, 2019

News from the Beach! Word from Alexandra!

Here is a word from our newest intern Alexandra from Germany.  She is doing a fantastic job studying our brushpark installations. 

What leads a person who is about 30 years older than the typical student to the shores of Lake Malawi, doing an internship? Well, it is my late discovered passion for the underwater world and its fauna which caused me to get down to Marine Science studies two years ago and to realise a personal dream.
My name is Alexandra and I live in Munich in landlocked Germany. In order to collect more practical field work experience in the course of my studies, I searched for opportunities in an interesting part of the world and applied for a three months internship with The Maru Research Center located in Kande Beach.  So here I am, landed in a true paradise, trying to put the impressions and experiences of my first three weeks in words.
One of the first surprises was – and still is every time I go in the water – that I’m living at a lake and not an ocean. The endless water surface, the waves, the wind and the sandy beach feel so much like living at the sea, and even after these three weeks I still expect to taste salt water when I go swimming or diving.
There are so many things that I learned to love here and already start to miss today. Let me name the top three: Going out to my daily walks to carry out survey tasks in the fisher village and at the two rivers we are monitoring means getting a taste of the local life and chatting with amazingly friendly Malawians in my unfortunately very limited Chitonga knowledge or in English. The second highlight is diving and doing surveys near Kande Island, which is situated around 1 km from the beach and is the habitat for these incredibly diverse, colourful cichlids, the main reason why I came here. This is my first fresh water diving experience and it is decisively my first experience to go diving using a canoe! Last but not least, my participation in the establishment and monitoring of an artificial reef, a brushpark, which aims to create a new habitat for breeding, shelter or harvesting purposes.
Of course, no paradise is perfect in every respect and some of the downsides are the strong winds that turn the interior of my lovely hut into a beach, or the lake flies that are regularly blown in large clouds across the lake that enter every little gap and leave a black carpet behind. But all these little inconveniences can’t spoil the pleasure to be here – it’s Africa!


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