There is a Malawian proverb that says, “ukaipa dziwa nyimbo.” This means, when you are bad at something, know your song. This song is not one of the ordinary songs we sing, in the form of music; there is talent within it. So in short this proverb means when you are bad at something just know your talent. There is a woman in Mangochi, in my site if I am to be precise. She has a good shop, dresses nicely, and looks gorgeous. She has a lot of leadership positions in the community as well.
The time I got a chance to talk to her, she told me she is not educated and she successfully runs a hair dressing salon. I am always humbled with how she carries herself and the positions she holds. I was quite surprised! She also said, she never got a chance to go to school but she knows how to read and write. Do you know how she got those wonderful literacy credentials? Well, she was actually home schooled by one of the teachers who works at a nearby primary school. Back to the hair dressing issue, she learnt it just through observing others when doing it.
My host father is currently renovating his house. He called one of the village carpenters to help with the windows. The carpenter did a great job and people were asking my host father who did the work. That’s when my host father told me that the guy learnt carpentry by observing his elder brother who is a talented and experienced carpenter.
So far I have noticed that a lot of people in my community who are builders, carpenters, hairdressers and others. They did not learn their skills from any recognized institution. Instead, they taught themselves through observing or just trying. Most of us feel that we don’t have talents; but have we ever tried to learn something new? Know your own song. If you think you are failing try harder. One way or the other, eventually you will make it. Remember that no one is a failure!