The Best Lifeguard In Malawi

I wanted to write about Livingstonia Beach Hotel – so I took a trip down to Salima, this weekend. I mean have you seen the place? I get so much nolstagia when I visit the place.

It takes me back to my childhood – Christmas vacations; the thrill of going to a different beach after summer school was over.

I grew up in Mangochi, so the beach is nothing new to me. I, however, loved the Livingstonia beach because of the purple sands. Yes the purples sands. They still amuse me to this day. I even collected some for my livingroom centre piece.

I enjoy going down to Salima every so often, because I live in Lilongwe now, and it is the nearest beach to the capital. I really really love the lake, but I am near terrified of the water.

On most days, I will opt for the Swimming pool – but even then, I swim like I am escaping something. I should have learnt how to swim when I was younger. I really should have – and most of my peers did. Me? I preferred to be nearer the shore and just play around as I managed to turn my eyes to a nice bloody red.

I did not go to the lake to swim at all this time. I wanted to get on a JetSki and I was pretty clear about my agenda.

Pemphero and I met the last time I was at Livingstonia, and we really really had a blast. I mean check this out on my Instagram.

Pemphero, the best lifeguard in Malawi

He walked up behind me to where I was sitting. I did not see him approaching, and was pretty amused when I noticed him. He did not expect it to be me sitting there, so he didn’t recognise me at first, and was near shocked to see me. I told him I just wanted to get on the jet ski, this time.

We organised for that, and in no time – I was going at 80km/hr on the water. The Adrenaline Junkie in me really really enjoys Jet Skis!

Old Photo of me on a JetSki at Sunbird Nkopola in Mangochi

I was on the Jet Ski for about a quarter hour, got satisfied with my adrenaline activities, and I came back to the shore. Pemphero said “Let’s go swimming”.

Now he knows damn well I do not play swimming games “for pleasure”. He immediately noticed my reluctance, and let out a chuckle. I whined for a bit, and then started walking into the lake. He asked me to jump on his back as we were getting deeper into the lake.

I was so scared when I started realising we were at a point where I could not be able to support myself with the bottom of the lake, if I tried. Yikes. Now I really had to swim. He assure me he had my back in case I got tired.

Yolam and I, heading to Namalenje Island in Salima via Speedboat.

Our first lesson was the obvious ones – the front call swimming. That is for me, as it is the first type of swimming I managed to teach myself. I have only ever done it for survival because dear Lord I could not float!

So as expected, the second lesson was on floating (which I genuinely I am terrible at, or at least was). He told me to show him what I knew – and I was genuinely prepared to suck at it. To my surprise, I did not. I did not even sink. Perhaps it was something to do with the fact that he was right there, and I trusted that he would save me if I did. Lack of that fear, led to me being able to float as I already knew how.

The next thing we did was to try floating on our backs. This is really something that I have always loved, but I always sunk cause I did not have the necessary lessons, skills and tips. He was so helpful in showing me how to control my body, place my legs and arms for balance and it was a breeze. I was afloat for near 5 minutes!

We proceeded to try out swimming while floating on my back. He was so precise with which parts of my limbs I should move, and which ones to keep steady.

The other thing I suck at is swimming under water. If you get a chance to swim with Pemphero, you will easily call him a fish. He can disappear from here and reappear 10 metres away in a matter of a minute. Me – I can last a while under water; but submerge my entire body in water and I will be floating back to the surface. He showed me how to be able to go near the bottom using my limbs for balance. He basically assured me I can control whatever happens to me in water.

We ended the swimming lessons (because I had to get back to Lilongwe) with learning how to “Dog Paddle” which seemed easier this time than any other time I have ever tried it. Pempho really has a way of calming you down when you are almost freaking out. The breathing lessons did a lot for me.

After 23 years of struggling with swimming (and this with efforts from dozens of people to teach me), – I can finally tell you that I can swim! So when I say Pemphero is the best lifeguard in Malawi, trust that I know what I am talking about.

Ask for Pemphero, the next time you are at Sunbird Livingstonia Beach, and please tip for me!

Have fun swimming!

All my love,

Ntha x

Photo in this article were taken by this guy, Yolam! Isn’t he amazing?

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