There are days driving along that you see things that are just ‘so Malawian’. Some cultural treasures that make me smile and or shake my head. It’s all part of the experience. There are times that I wish I had my camera at the front of my car to capture some of these moments as they often defy gravity, reality and common sense.
The common scene of someone cycling or pushing their bike for miles and miles laden with firewood twice the height of them, or cartons of eggs piled high bumbling along dirt roads all defying gravity but sheer determination of the individual to be able to get them home or to sell to at least get some profit in these tough economic times. In Zomba going to the top of the mountain to collect their supplies and then slowly making their way back down with fire wood on their heads or bikes. Amazing that gravity rarely wins.
I can also attend the ‘pet’ stores on the side of the road where I can buy dogs, rabbits and rather large turkeys on top of a man’s head.
The colour explosion of women washing or collecting water at the bore hole. Each taking turns to fill their coloured buckets. The stripe and spots combinations along with their chitenjis makes our Western sense of fashion cringe but here a beautiful expression of culture and vibrancy particularly at this time of year when everything is so dry and barren.
Driving through the villages and sometimes in town men all sitting round playing the game of boab where stones or natural seeds are placed into each beautifully carved hole. Concentration and strategy is so important.
Recreation of our childhood western games and sports such as elastics and football utilizing string, plastic bags and bottles, on the dirt pitches bringing all children together. The list could go on.
There are also the Malawian things that are out of our control. The 20hr power cuts, the lack of water, the smelly water, lack of rubbish bins and trucks all of which we have to learn to deal with and hope that progression to a healthier, more sustainable environment is on its way.
It has been a year since I moved to Malawi and each day has its trial and tribulations but each day also brings some great surprises. Here’s to many more!