After having spent more than three months Malawi, I need to write some words to express my feelings in this country, but I am stuck as to where to start. Because my senses guide me and urge me to make each of them feel like a story, I think I will begin here.
Of course the eyes enable us to see, but they cannot only express our feeling and emotions. Seeing with eyes is not always the only way to view things. When we are somewhere totally dark with no light, we are able to walk and guide ourselves through the spirit. A quoted by Saint Exupery in “The Little Prince”: “We don’t see only with the heart, the essential is invisible to the eyes”…
We cannot say Malawi without mentioning the mountains that are scattered across the country. It's what most impressed me, the beautiful landscape I viewed from the airplane before landing. Early in the morning, I used to contemplate the mountain located behind our hostels in Dedza. We could see at the top a smog. The architecture of the houses had me taking pictures all the time. An effective ecological and local building. After having spent one month in a forestry college for training, where plants are reforested in a horizontal way and successively with immeasurable height, I understood why the climate is so sweet in this area of the country
Once I crossed the mountain, I couldn’t help but enjoy the fresh and pure air I breathed deeply. It had a healing effect for me. The smell of the earth I want to sniff every day. This smell that gives off the fertility of the soil with brown, black, and red colours. The soil is so fertile that people even farm roadside. I can’t help but buy chips in the street when the smell comes to my nose.
I shake innocent and labourer hands. Hands who belong to brave, hardworking, owners who wake up early to go farm. People, who whenever I greet, I rethink of the reasons why I travelled 6538 kilometres to be here. People who remind myself, “kumalimba mtima” which means “be courageous.”
We say: “to hear, you must listen, to identify the noises, the sounds, to learn how to recognize and to understand the meaning”. . The most awesome sound I hear in my village is the kids playing and the women cleaning at 4:00 am. At first, I thought I was dreaming. Inmy country, at this time, apart from the noise of the wind, the roosters, and the call of the muezzin, you cannot hear anything. So when I hear these sounds in Malawi I conclude to adapt to the pace of the country.
Most Africans like spices. I’m part of them. Certainly in Malawi, they don’t put spices in their meals, but they still have tsabola. Tsabola, which means pepper, is a very spicy sauce that I don’t stop adding to my food. Talking about Malawi without mentioning Nsima, it's like talking about Senegal without mentioning Thiebudieune, or talking about Morocco without mentioning “Couscous”. This staple food of Malawi is prepared with so much energy and love by the women of this country. It is made by maize flour and eaten with sauce and “chinese”, which is a green leafy vegetable rich in nutrition. People were impressed to see me eating it on my first day. As a cook amateur, I like discovering new dishes, exploring new spices, although I miss the food from my country.
Senses connect us to the life, and enable us to perceive the world. Malawi narrated by the media is completely different from Malawi perceived by the five senses. I can say that I listened to my eyes, I touched my taste, I smelled my sight, I tasted my touch, and I saw my smell in this Warm Heart of Africa.