Ten young men and women with a common interest in promoting tourism, yesterday reached the finish line of their 10-day 314-kilometre walk from Blantyre to Lilongwe.
Dubbed as The Walkers, they took the initiative to raise money for the training of tour guides who play a vital role in the tourism sector.
So far, The Walkers have raised K7.5 million against their target of K7 million.
From Bunda Turn-off to Gateway Mall, The Walkers were joined by Vice-President Saulos Chilima, Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Culture Michael Usi and a throng of well-wishers.
Speaking to the media during the last stretch of the walk, Usi said tour guides play an important role in helping tourists get to the country’s most interesting places.
“The tour guides are like the face of the tourism sector and they have to be professional,” said the minister.
He said the big walk’s success shows that Malawians can support their initiatives without relying on foreign donors.
Speaking at Gateway Mall, where the journey ended, Chilima applauded The Walkers for taking up the challenge of promoting the tourism sector.
“The dream of creating one million jobs is possible. Just like the young people have proved that it is possible to walk from Blantyre to Lilongwe. Just like they proved that it is possible to raise K7 million,” said the Veep.
He, therefore, thanked mobile service provider TNM for pumping K2 million in the initiative. Chilima, however, asked the company to consider topping up the donation.
The Walkers comprise Thandiwe Likhao, Thoko Liwimbi, Kay da Silva, Holmes Banda, Chipie Gombwa, Charles Chokani, Madassir Anjum, Ipyana Mkangama, Innocent Kaliati and Yangairo Yangairo.
Their team leader Yangairo branded the experience as tough but fulfilling.
One of The Walkers, Gombwa, who appeared strong and took on the Vice-President to a pushup challenge, said it took a lot of strategising to physically remain resilient.
“We listened to our bodies and rested when we felt tired. The longest we covered per day was 50 kilometres,” he said.
Likhao, who was among the youngest walkers, said day six was her worst as she developed sores forcing her to take off shoes.
Money realised from the initiative will be used to trained tour guides on proper conduct, linking interesting cultural, social, historical and economic aspects of places of interest and first aid administration.