A Gem in the Cloud

June 2nd, 2014 - Zomba, Balaka, Malawi

(More Stories..)

Last week, we set out to fly from the east lookout of the Zomba Plateau. It's a unique spot in the south of Malawi with a paved way to the top.

Upon arrival, the weather changed for the worse. The clouds and wind consumed us. For a white, we felt defeated and, just as we were about to leave, MacDonald, the man we met selling precious stones at the lookout asked us to stay longer.

"We have to go because we have run out of food" we reasoned while packing up our gear.

"Don't worry, I will feed you as long as you stay to fly" he pleaded with us.

Because of his hospitality, we ended up staying three more days. Every day, he walked six hours to and from his village to get food for us. MacDonald's support made us feel right at home.

On the third day, the sun came out for 15 minutes and Ben managed to fly down to Zomba town. Seeing him fly made him jump with excitement. He wanted to run all the way down to shake his hand.

The search for great Paragliding sites continues and I feel insecure about where we will find them. Regardless, it's heartwarming to discover the love and support people and communities are offering, as they resonate with our passion for free flight.


In search of Malawian Gold

It's hard to believe it that it's finally happening. Tomorrow marks the day that our great Malawian Paragliding Expedition begins.  Godfrey and I have been doing Hike 'n Flys at Mount Mulanje all week, testing our camping gear and connecting as a team. Come dawn, we will head out into the beautiful unknown to discover all of what this magical country has to offer the world of free flight.  This time, we will be travelling in a jeep Godfrey and his father have lovingly restored, enabling us to travel to Malawi's furthest reaches and most rural parts.  Ultimately, our goal is to find dozens of great flying spots and the perfect location for the School of Dreams, Malawi's first paragliding school and Community Development Center.  Please join us on this incredible journey by returning to this web site and 'liking' our new Facebook page: [url=http://facebook.com/TheSchoolOfDreams]http://facebook.com/SchoolOfDreams[/url]  <3 Ben

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The First Malawian XC

I never thought it could happen to me.  As I scoured Google Maps in search of Malawi's highest peak, my objective was to train the first Malawian to paraglide, have him fly from there, and make a film about it. It was an epic 'top-to-bottom' and we all went home satisfied.  Three years later and I have returned to this magical land with a deep hunger, no longer to teach others, but to teach myself. The lesson: Fly far and high in a land no paraglider has ever explored.  After a three hour hike in, my team and I found ourself perched 500 metres above the valley floor. The thermic cycles were strong and frequent so we wasted no time. Within ten minutes of launching, I was wishing I had setup my in-flight pee tube; not because I had forgot to go earlier, but because I was so excited I could hardly contain myself.  My wildest of dreams had come true! The great Mount Mulanje, upon which I often gazed while training Godfrey years back, was allowing me to fly along its beautiful body: A medley of ancient spires, massive caves and painted cliff faces. Throughout the entire flight, I had a feeling that this rock knew something I did not, suggesting that I tread lightly for this incredible mountain commanded the respect of a dinosaur.  As the short winter's day came to a close, I landed on a dirt road to the tune of hundreds of cheering villagers. They had all whitened something they had never thought possible. So had I.  For more photos of the great Mulanje, follow us on Facbeook: [url=http://facebook.com/schoolofdreams/]http://facebook.com/schoolofdreams/[/url]  View this flight online or in Google Earth here: [url=http://www.paraglidingforum.com/leonardo/flight/922361]http://www.paraglidingforum.com/leonardo/flight/922361[/url]

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Cool new bags, hand-made from Recycled Paragliders!

Adventure Bags & Pouches

Adventure Bags are hand-made from recycled paragliders and traditional Malawian Chitenje cloth. Each bag is a unique piece of functional art and was made by a proud mom who learned to sew at The School of Dreams in Malawi. Read more.. or Get Yours Today!