An eye catching picture on a product in a korean supermarket in Lilongwe.
After being in Malawi for the second time, in November 2017 (just for 2 weeks on official trip again), wanted to write things in this blog. But it was postponed until now. From now on, plan to post everything little by little as I have written drafts :).
The nsima (pronounced as sima) made from maize flour.
The way they carry their baby:
A wedding ceremony:
The meaning of their names, still, makes me wondering about the reason behind the names :).I already wrote about this in another post. Here are three names, for them I can’t find the meaning :).
Eg: Kambewamkako – the mouse is yours
Mumderanji – why hate that person
Bwerera – go back
I did a google search regarding this issue and landed in this bbc page.
There are some categories in the dancers:
Women dancers – chisamba or chinana
Male dancers with costumes – dressed like females are Maria
They dance at a funeral too, mostly in central region.
Muslims – don’t put the dead bodies in coffins. Just wrap the bodies in cloths
Children are very creative and make their own play tools and games.
A few tribes:
There are some tribes called Nyau / gule wankulu. They acts differently from others and even the other Malawians are a bit scared of them. In case you meet them, you have to give direct answers whatever they ask. They may ask some naughty questions too :). If you don’t answer, they would abduct you.
Though some incidents happen in some backward villages, these are some issues need to be attended deeply. These incidents happen to the extend that the President of the country put some banners on the roadside.
* They belief in magic powers and witchcraft belief is a curse. 😦
* One very tragic belief is that the limbs of the albinos (or sometimes the disabled) have magical power and brings good luck. So such people are hunted, abducted, mutilated, raped and killed. 😦
2. Initiation ceremony to the girls – They send the girls to have sex with one particular man (who might have aids and spread the disease through those girls).
It’s a relief that the awareness programs are in place now and the incidents get reduced.
It’s proved again (for me) that the poor people are often more generous. The local people use to adapt their relatives’ children when the children lost their parents, no matter of their own situation.
A few other interesting behaviours:
1. Respect to the elders: there are ways to greet elders and give and get something from elders. They used to kneel down to the elders. Not sure the town people do such things nowadays, but I saw in the village.
2. Relationship : Sithy’s, periyamma’s, periyappa’s and siththappa’s children like brothers and sisters and mama’s mami’s children are cousins. (This resembles a lot to out Tamil culture)
3. Like our fathers calling their daughter’s ‘amma’, they also do the same. (This resembles a lot to out Tamil culture)
4. If we do any mistakes in their presence, they say sorry before we do so. This might be as a consolation to us.
5. If we say to someone that you become fat, they would be very happy, because for them, ‘fat’ is good.
After a long time, I logged in here :). Actually, my plan was to update everything here in this blog. But, because of the slow internet and problem with the uploading of photos, I share the photos and my thoughts in Facebook. May be, I can update this site later when I’m in Norway :).
Today, 3rd March, is a holiday in Malawi and it’s for Martyr’s day. So, I decided to write something about Malawi on this particular day. Martyrs for African freedom are honored by giving representation in Malawi’s flag.
The flag of Malawi has 3 equal horizontal stripes of black, red and green with a rising sun at the center of the black stripe. The black stripe represents the African people, the red represents the blood of martyrs for African freedom, green represents Malawi’s ever-green nature and the rising sun means the dawn of freedom and hope for Africa.
Their staple food is ‘Nsima’, porridge like food made from maize flour. They eat rice, vegetables and meat too, if they can afford. Though it is not common, some people eat rats and termites too. We can see some people sell rats which are hooked in sticks. As I was surprised to see that, some people are surprised when I said that I eat crabs and prawns. They said it’s not common here in Malawi.
We can see a lot of road side shops with baskets and masks. Basket weaving and mask craving are very common in Malawi.
The majority of Malawians are Christians and the minority is Muslims. I heard that there are so many different types of Christianity in practice and each one of them has its own church. A member of one kind of Christianity is not allowed to get married a member of another kind. If they want to get married, one of them must be converted to the other and it takes time. Almost everyone in this country is very religious.
The people like singing and dancing. In ceremonies and in church, they sing and dance a lot.
I admired (and a little scared too) to see the way they carry their children on their back. They just cover their children with a piece of cloth on their back and just put a nod. I always worried about whether the nod would, at anytime, loosen. But, I could see that they are very confident on carrying like that. The cute little babies sleep comfortably on their mother’s back.
Usually, their names have some meaning. I came across many interesting names as I use to register the names of the patients. Some of them have the direct meaning in English like Gift, Ambulance (may be the child born in ambulance or the mother going to the hospital for delivery in ambulance), Innocence, Wisdom, July, Meter, Precious, Future, Loveliness, Fortunate, Church, Lovemore etc. When the names are in Chichewa language, almost always, the names have a meaning. Sometimes, it looks like there is a big story in the name itself. Some names have very strange meanings:
- Chimwemwe – happy
- Mfitiidzafanso – even the witch will die
- Timalakwanj – what we do wrong
- Nkaphaidyani – If you kill, you must eat
- Tiopa izi – we are afraid of these
- Badyani – keep on eating
- Tifelanji – why are we dying
- Tobalire – let’s have this / don’t take it this from us (they named like this because the previously born children died and they want to ask the witch not to take the new born away)
- Mumderanji – why hate that person
- Bwerera – go back
I knew the meanings of the names from my colleagues. When I ask whether this single word means this big meaning, they said ‘YES’.
See these too:
Working Place, Pathology Laboratory, KCH (Kamuzu Central Hospital)!
Though I had been working in a developed country with good facilities and technologies, I feel that I have many things to learn here too, may be in a different way. I could improve my competency on different issues.
The laboratory here, of course, has the important instruments and crucial basic facilities and it is air-conditioned. So, it is not so difficult to work here though we have some problem with environmental, health safety issue.
The technicians are exposed to hazardous chemicals or vapor like formalin as we don’t work under any fume hood/fume extractors. The vapor level is monitored periodically, but I still feel the smell and irritation in the eyes sometimes. As there is no fume hood, we work with the patient samples in an open table. The ventilators that are fixed in the laboratory walls do not help much. May be, the technicians are also get used to the condition and they do not complain much.
I am happy that I could make some improvements in the laboratory. My suggestion of changing a protocol was accepted and adapted now after I tested and proved the betterment of the result. As I could arrange regular monthly laboratory meetings, we could discuss various issues and move towards the improvements on many things. I used to send reports to Norway every month and I am happy that I receive very good comments. Examples are:
1. Good and extensive report. Sounds like you are doing a great job.
2. Thanks for very interesting and well documented report. I am impressed by the work you do and the way you go forward. Very impressive!
3. Great report and I am pleased that you have managed to achieve so much already.
4. It is always interesting to read your reports. Very good and detailed report. It seems like it is moving forward and that you achieve a lot!
5. Very good reports. I enjoy reading them.
Colleagues are very nice too and it’s not hard to understand why Malawi is called as ‘The Warm Heart of Africa’ :).
Got up a bit late today. I actually wanted to go to the market and for some other shopping today. But I had to wait for the plumber in the morning. I started doing some cleaning and cooking as the house keeper gets his off in the week ends. Then I feel a bit lazy to go out. Instead, I retired myself in the sofa that is kept in the sit-out.
My daughter was preparing for the tests next week at school. I asked her to come and do her home work using the table in the sit-out. So, she also joined.
A big garden around us, the breezy environment and the voices of the little birds in the trees made my mind very peaceful. I started talking to a good friend over the phone and the talks went on for nearly one and half hours. We haven’t talked after we left to Malawi and thus we shared a lot of stuff.
After lunch, we went to the local market for fruits and vegetables and supermarket Chipiku for some other stuff. We planned to ‘walk’ with friends in the evening, but couldn’t do it because of the laziness in the morning :).
I always want to take some pictures in the local market, but forgot every time. May be because of the all excitement inside the market :).