After bumping into each other in a nearby backpacker lodge in Nkhata Bay, Alice Leaper and Josie Redmonds became friends over their love for the extraordinary country that is Malawi. Alice had a love for youth and art projects and with Josie’s ideas for information and gardening related projects, they had a common desire to incorporate these ideas into a community space that opened up opportunities. They realised that Butterfly would make the perfect setting for bringing volunteers and the community together and this became their aspiration when they bought Butterfly Lodge not long after in May 2007.
With Alice’s background in film making, she was previously producing film documentaries on different aspects of Malawian life for the last few years. Josie had been in Malawi for nearly five years, and with her enthusiasm for gardening, she was volunteering on many projects including a local school garden and mushroom project. After they formed a solid friendship, they saw great potential with Butterfly’s original backpacker status but wanted to turn it into something more than a standard lodge for travellers. Along with continuing to be a backpacker haven, their aim for the project was to concentrate on bringing the community and international volunteers together to create opportunities for the local people living in NkhataBay. With this idea in mind, the new name of Butterfly Space was then born.
The aim would be to encourage volunteers to stay long term to make their projects more beneficial towards the local community and one of the great aspects about NkhataBay is its fantastic paradise location. Set on a cliff, facing the glorious waters of Lake Malawi, it is hard not to fall in love with Butterfly. With its homely feel and traditional bungalows dotted around the large grounds, volunteers would have enough privacy to chill-out after a good day of helping the community. Imagine jumping into the clearest water thanks to one of the world’s best fresh water lakes on earth. Now this lake is huge, and it is easy to confuse it with the ocean. Waking up to the sound of waves crashing onto the rocks with summer temperatures year round, and a private beach exclusive to the visitors at Butterfly, volunteers would have an experience they would never forget by also immersing themselves into Malawian life.
Alice and Josie have since developed Butterfly as a unique, non-profit, community space which is one of the few places that support a wide range of community projects both on and off site. It has been encouraged as a place with musical, informational, practical and creative opportunities. This space is also respectful of the environment is encouraged to sustain and develop its beauty. They had three main ideas which have now expanded Butterfly to becoming this vision they hoped for. Please click on the links below for further information.