Kaya Mawa has used, in its construction, not only the natural surroundings – on Likoma Island, in Lake Malawi – but also natural building materials. Built by hand, without the aid of power tools, it took six years to create. All the rooms are built from rocks that were brought straight from the lake by locals carrying them on their heads, and each one is topped with a thatch roof. At least 100 local people were employed in its construction, from carpenters to stonemasons.
The rooms are rustic but luxurious and showcase local craftsmanship. The interiors are designed and finished by an island company. Each room hugs the lay of the island and has direct access to the lake. All the lodge’s employees are local.
FROM GARDENS TO TEXTILES
Kaya Mawa employs one person from every family living in the three neighboring villages. It also works within the community, and the ten projects it is involved in include piping water to the villages and feeding people in need. Locals are encouraged to not only develop gardens and sell their produce to the lodge but also stock their stores with things that Kaya Mawa can purchase.
The interiors in the lodge were made by Katundu, an island company set up by the wife of one of the directors to assist single mothers and orphans on the island. Katundu employs 26 women, all single mothers or older orphans, who create fabulous textiles in their workshop that they then sell locally and abroad.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS
“Because our staff comes from the surrounding villages, all of our neighbors have benefited, from in-house training provided by the managers to the financial and medical support and education provided by the lodge. The company’s aim is to provide flawless service and beautiful accommodation without sterilizing the African beauty of our surroundings.”