Hippo Watching on the Job

Johan Skorve - Kamuzu Barrage - Photo:(Photo: RNE)
Johan Skorve checking on progress (and watching for hippos) on the Kamuzu Barrage at Liwonde (Photo: RNE).

Just around the corner of the beautiful Liwonde National Park is Johan Skroven overseeing progress on the rehabilitation of a major infrastructure project - the Kamuzu Barrage. Staff from the Embassy recently had the pleasure of spending some time on site with Johan admiring the scale of the project and talking to him about life in Malawi for a Norwegian.

You may very well have driven across the Kamuzu Barrage at Liwonde and, if you’re really curious about this vital infrastructure project, you may even have taken the time to study the information sign listing the different companies and institutions involved in the project. If so, you will have noticed the name Norplan which is part of the Norwegian Multiconsult Group and which is responsible for construction supervision on the project. Johan Skorve, from Voss in Western Norway, lives in Zomba with his wife and three children but spends his weekdays overseeing progress on the rehabilitation of the barrage. The barrage regulates the flow of water from Lake Malawi into the Shire River. One can only imagine the importance of proper regulation of the water flow from the lake into the river; the Shire River is the source of around 95 % of Malawi’s energy production, drinking water for the city of Blantyre and irrigation for the vital agricultural region in the Lower Shire Valley. In addition to the professional challenge of a project of this scale, the location of the construction site on the Shire River just south of Liwonde National Park also means that Johan usually sees hippos every single day - an on-the-job experience few Norwegians can claim to share.

 How do you find living in Malawi?

I think it is very nice. This is a relatively safe country with little violence. The kids’ school is a good one, which is of course important for the well-being of the family. We have a good social life. The climate is pleasant, at least in Zomba which is slightly more elevated than Liwonde.

Living abroad, what do you miss about Norway?

Obviously friends and family, but also the way the seasons change in Norway, the open spaces and the close relationship we have with nature.

How do you like to spend your weekends here in Malawi?

We seem to always end up somewhere along the southern lakeshore. Lake Malawi is really such a beautiful place!

 

Norplan/Multiconsult’s work on the Kamuzu Barrage is one of the major Norwegian business ventures in Malawi. Other examples include the sale all over Malawi of fertilizer from Yara and the investment that development finance institution Norfund has made in Malawian halaal meat processor Nyama World. You can read more about these business ventures here: