Getting to Know the Locals

 

Sunday was a very significant day for Malawi, and it wasn’t because President Mutharika was addressing the nation that night.  It was a special day because the Flames of Malawi were competing against the Botswana Zebras in an African Cup of Nations qualifying match.  I’ve kind of come to the realization that when travelling abroad the best way to learn about the host culture is to see how they watch soccer games.  With that in mind I insisted on seeing the game in spite of the fact that the power at CCAP went out (due to a blown transformer which took 6 months to fix last time it happened) and that TV’s are a luxury that frankly few in Malawi can afford.

Luckily for us Patrick Wowo was up around our dorms selling ironwood boxes and I asked him where the best place to watch the game was.  He said he’d take us to where he was going to watch the game.  As he lead us down the hill to Likhubula, I thought he was taking us to Club Sapitwa or some other bar or market place.  Instead we ended up walking to someone’s quaint house where there sat 3 surprised men.  A little overwhelmed by the wave of Azungu sweeping through their house they graciously pulled out all extra chairs they had and offered us all their seats.  We watched the game with them without understanding what the commentators were saying because it was broadcast in Setswana with random sentences of hurried English dispersed intermittently.

The game ended 0-0 and honestly it was a pretty poor match.  If either Malawi or Botswana advances in the tournament I’ll be surprised.  But what the game’s main purpose was to experience the interior of an average Malawian residence.  I was incredibly grateful to the men that invited us into their homes without the slightest sign of inconvenience.

Monday Dr. McCusker started to let whoever was interested to go interview villagers with the enumerators who administering the survey for his research.  Chelsea and I went with Noel and Uribe to the village of Nkawera.  We stopped at 3 houses and got the chance to meet face to face with the locals.  It was a little boring because the interview was conducted entirely in Chichewa, but regardless, it was great to witness up close how people in this small slice of Africa live.

The electricity supply to the CCAP House has been out for the past couple of days due to an issue with the transformer.  Dr. McCusker said that the last time this happened it took them about 6 months to fix it.  Luckily we only have 4 days left here in Mulanje otherwise our entire trip could’ve been without power.  The national electricity company doesn’t put to high of a priority on a single compound on a mountain in Mulanje.  TIA.

Saturday we leave Malawi and Chelsea and I meet up with Tish in Johannesburg to begin our weeklong stint in South Africa.  I’m extremely excited to return to South Africa to visit friends and also to get back into the industrial world.  I love Malawi but the thought of riding in car on a paved road to a place with electricity and terrific food is almost too much to bear.

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