On the lookout for a chill-out spot on the shores of Lake Malawi we came across Cool Runnings, a beachside backpackers that is deeply involved with the local lakeside community.
Driving into Senga Bay it was impossible for us not to notice all of the yellow smiley faces, a friendly reminder of all of the ‘cool’ work being done to make this sleepy fishing village a better, brighter place.
Cool Runnings is run by Samantha Ludick, known to the laughing local children we met as ‘Mama Cool’. Sam grew up in Malawi and throws her heart and soul into improving the lives of the villagers she lives among, with 45% of the profit from Cool Runnings being ploughed back into the community.
The various ‘Cool Projects’ are run by Sam with the help of a group of hard-working local villagers and include disabled groups, community police and a safe haven for orphaned children to learn life-long skills such as craftwork. With projects ranging from recycling to local football teams, there is no part of village life in Senga Bay that isn’t being made ‘cooler’.
Sam understands the need for a bit of give and take, so the ‘cool kids’ who play football need to go to school, learn about HIV/AIDS and take part in looking after Senga Bay by doing much-needed community work, such as cleaning up litter in the village, in order to stay on the team.
All of this ‘cool’ work being done behind the scenes is made possible by Cool Runnings, where we spent our days kicking back on the deck chairs, swimming lazily in the crystal-clear lake and catching a boat over to Lizard Island for some snorkelling among the multi-coloured fish.
Soaking up the laid-back atmosphere at Cool Runnings, we visited some of the ‘Cool Projects’, lounged by the lakeside and shared stories with Sam, making our stay not only chilled out but also heart-warming.
For more information about Cool Runnings go to: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cool-Runnings-Malawi/