It’s 8:22 am in New Hampshire and 2:22 pm in Malawi on April 5th. In one month from now, on May 5th at 2:00 PM, we will be landing in Blantyre, Malawi. Exactly. All week I’ve been meaning to write this update. I didn’t realize I needed the timing to be this perfect to do it.
When we postponed our trip in October, I suppose you could say I had a hard time letting go. One morning this winter, my husband, Peter, needed to fix one of his crampons. “Have you seen the vice grips?” he asked. I was making coffee. I offered a somewhat cagey “mmmmhmm” in response. He sighed, “Mozambique quarantine?”
Mozambique quarantine is where 95% of what I packed last October still lives. It seemed easier to leave three giant duffels zipped tight against ropes, raincoats, and repair kits then to let them spill out and be put away. It meant that the postponement was short enough that this was the practical choice.
In the five months since October we’ve learned that not only was the postponement practical and safe, it let the Lost Mountain thrive. We have a fantastic new science team with roots in Southeast Africa, valuable new film team members, and even new sponsors and volunteers. I wanted to take this change to briefly introduce our new team members here (you can read more about them on our team page and film page):
- Flavia Esteves is our Science team leader and an entomologist originally from Brazil and now at California Academy of the Sciences. She has been instrumental in developing our science objectives and team.
- Harith Farooq is a Mozambican herpetologist from Lúrio University in Pemba, Mozambique. He brings a wealth of knowledge from extensive fieldwork throughout Mozambique to his upcoming time with us on Mt Namuli.
- Caswell Munyai is our South African entomologist who just recently finished his PhD at the University of Venda. His specialty? Mountain Ants. Really.
- Rob Frost has joined our film team as our Director of Photography in the field. Rob is an award winning cameraman and producer who has filmed and/ or produced content for CBS’s 60 Minutes, ESPN, Sender Films, Camp4Collective, NBC Sports, ESPN2, Discovery Channel, Red Bull Media House, Clif Bar, Animal Planet, Cread Productions, The Sierra Club / Extreme Ice Survey, and more. He’s also a good friend of many of us already on the team.
- James Q Martin is our Cinematographer and stepped into the project in October, but I’ve yet to introduce him to you all. James is an exceptional photographer, filmmaker, and activist and co-founded the Rios Libres Project (RL), which seeks to help keep Chilean Patagonia wild. As part of RL, he has directed the award winning films Power in the Pristine & Streams of Consequence. He’s also worked with both me (Majka) and Kate extensively over the years.
I could not be more proud of the crew we have assembled. And I’m deeply honored for their belief in the project–and for everyone who has supported the Lost Mountain in a multitude of ways. Stay tuned for more over the next weeks as we ramp up for departure. There’s much more to share. For now, allow me one more update:
Our team purchased all of our tickets for our May trip yesterday. It felt powerful to execute on this. It felt scary. It felt 100% right. Now there’s no way those vice grips are going anywhere but Africa.
*Andy Bardon, Werner Conradie, Jonathan Mawdsley, Dan Portik, and many others remain great friends of the project.