Who Is Mathew Hau Hau?
Ready for a Ride - Mathew just completed his first solo flight. We're waiting to hitch another ridge back to launch.
Over the next while I will be sharing photos and stories from the The School of Dreams in Malawi. Please join me for what has been the adventure of a lifetime. If you feel inspired, you can come next summer to create your own! :) B
After 'cheese' the first word I learn in any new country is 'yes.' It's a survival thing. You see, despite my red hair and funny looking face, it is not uncommon for someone to begin speaking to me, in their native tounge, as if I were their neighbour. And though I could find polite ways to stop them, I have found that it requires less effort if I just say 'yes' after each statement, occasionally throwing in a 'No!' for texture. In the Salima area of central Malawi, a group of eager children followed me up a ridge. The scorching heat turning their excited screams into an inaudible haze, I can vaguely recall a young boy staring at me, exclaiming 'Elephant!' Feeling mildly insulted, but too tired to care, I gave him the thumbs up with my usual 'yes.' This continued until I launched 30 minutes later; 'Elephant!' 'Yes.' 'Elephant!' 'Yes.' [show:image:19949]The flying was intense, soaring low over the 100 metre high ridge with a personal goal of making to the other end and back; a daring out and return along this interesting geographical feature. Over tall trees and no landing opportunities I flew cautiously, until a feeling in my stomach told me to turn back. I tried, but the lift had gone and now my feet were dangling but 20 metres over the tall trees below. Pointing down-wind to make distance, but without a clearing in sight, I was mentally preparing for a tree landing. Then, by some great fortune, I spotted three mud huts and a small garden close by. I had just enough height to make it! [left:image:20199]Upon landing the small remote community, the 15 villagers and children kept back and went about their business. It was as if I didn't exist. Strange. I waved and said hi, but to no response whatsoever. While packing up a young boy found reason to approach me. 'Elephant,' he said. As interesting as this was, I had 8 km of bush to whack by GPS before dark and chose not to care; not until after covering my first few hundred metres. There before me stood a pile of poo that could have filled a Mini. [show:image:20200]Then, a tree fell 'Krrrrrr-pommmbb' right next to me. I froze and looked around. Another rustling came from behind. I turned slowly as not to startle what turned out to be a handsome old lumberjack wearing an antique 'Via Rail' conductor's coat. In perfect English he said 'What are you doing here? The elephants can kill you!' A tsunami of emotion overtook me. So sure of myself, missing all the warning signs, I had ultimately been chewed up by my own reality and crapped out into the obtuse ball of humiliation that I was. 'Yes' was no longer the answer. The hours which followed offered much time for self-examination. How could I have been so arrogant? Who am I serving in behaving this way? Having reached camp just before dark, I had escaped the hoofs of the hungry mammoths behind me. But that night, nothing could have felt more crushing than the realization that, having become so absorbed in what I had to offer these communities, I had ripened into a self-important cow pie, neglectful of the gifts they offered me in return. Ben
Pilots wishing to be amongst of the first humans to free fly in Malawi are welcome to register, come January of 2018, for three different opportunities between May and August of 2019. [right:image:22111][/]All pilots will be greeted by Mathew at the airport in Lilongwe and taken to, and lodged at, the beautiful Nazareth Community Centre in Mganja village. Mathew will act as your personal guide, translator and best friend. [url=http://theschoolofdreams.org/opportunities/paraglider_resources]Click here for more information on pilot resources.[/url] [h2]The three opportunities are:[/h2] [right:image:22592][/][b]1. Volunteer Instructor[/b] You will spend one month or more, working one on one, with a young Malawian man or woman who dreams to fly as well. We will arrange their equipment and accommodation. Mathew will be available to support you as a wind technician or guide in the landing area. Students will be fluent in English. [url=http://theschoolofdreams.org/opportunities/instructors]Click here for more information on instructing.[/url] [right:image:22626][/][b]2. Volunteer Tandem Pilot[/b] You will spend two weeks or more flying whenever you like, gifting tandem flights to the beautiful people of the Mganja Village area. We have a tandem kit on site, ready for you to use. You are also welcome to bring your own kit and fly solo when you choose. [url=http://theschoolofdreams.org/opportunities/fly_tandem]Click here for more information on flying tandem.[/url] [right:image:22438][/][b]3. Solo Pilot[/b] You will spend two weeks or more flying whenever you like. There are options to fly in other parts of the country once you have flown Mganja for at least one week. Mathew will be able to accompany you if he has not already committed himself to supporting volunteers or other pilots in the Mganja area. [url=http://theschoolofdreams.org/opportunities/fly_solo]Click here for more information on flying solo.[/url] Space is limited so you are encouraged to [url=mailto:email@example.com]contact us[/url] immediately to express your interest. Mention which of the three opportunities you are interested in, as well as when you are available and your experience level. We will respond as soon as possible.