Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Ms. Funny Maseya
I am so excited to explore this new part of Malawi. Of course, I have heard about Mzimba but had never stayed here before. So, I have embraced this as my chance to discover new things while I work as a Volunteer. “Cheer up girl, this is your new-found opportunity to meet your prince charming here,” I even joked to myself and smiled within me. It’s now been a month since I left the capital city to live in Mzimba. Now I am used to hearing birds singing in marvelous sounds and trees chorusing along. It’s almost like background music for this place.
I was sitting down on my Kabwacha (small chair). The sun felt so good parading its rays on my face and the air around the place was so soothing and fresh.
“Mwauka uli Ngoma?” That’s the good morning greeting in Tumbuka. I was startled to suddenly notice Adeze standing beside her local baking stove (wuvuni), smiling at me.
“Good morning, thank you”. I waved back as I responded in the same language. (Ngoma is the name that people call me in this area).
Adeze (not her real name) is one of the young ladies in the community. She is the first person that made my settling in so easy here in Mzimba. She runs a local bakery and has been in this business since she got divorced from her marriage. She decided to change things for herself instead of staying idle. She learned how to make bread using a local stove. This was the launch of a whole new venture that would change her circumstances for the better.
Adeze entered her house to collect the remaining bread. It was now 3 pm in the afternoon, and this was her last piece to make. She had been baking since morning.
“Do you like baking this much Adeze?” I asked. “Yes Fannie, you know how people love bread in this area, and they have been buying since morning, so I couldn’t help it but bake more for tomorrow,” she explained.
“This bread is so delicious, you know? It tastes like the one people make and sells in bigger shops, how do you do it Adeze? What’s your secret recipe?” She looked at me and smiled, “Funny, there is nothing special there; it’s just the mixture of flour, salt, and yeast. I guess that’s the energy I put to it huh?” she joked about it, and we both laughed.
I like Adeze because she is a very hard-working lady and she is very unlike the other girls in the area. If you didn’t know more about Adeze, you would think she was one of the teachers in the community. She has a personal discipline about her hygiene and dressing which defy her status in the community.
“For how long you have been in this business?” I asked her one morning.
“It has not been that long; about four months now” she responded, gazing upwards as if trying to count birds in the sky. “Yes! Four months it is!” She finally assured herself.
“Nice, it looks like you have been making a lot of profits from this business, Right?”
“Of course, it does fetch me some good figures. For instance, when I use 25kgs of flour, I make a double profit on it and so, yea I can’t complain my dear. Things are far much better for me. My business sells most during school days because students and teachers love buying my bread.” She explained.
“I can see that you are really happy my friend.”
“Honestly, I never thought I would be this happy, considering my disappointment after the divorce. The only regret I have now is that I had to quit school at so early an age and if wishes were indeed horses I might ride one that would take me straight to the next class room in the village so that I could re-live my career dreams. But that is for another day my friend.” Adeze said with a grin and a shrug.
I could tell she really meant those moving words. Adeze was a little bit sad as she was telling me this, but she tried hard to hide her emotions. She finished packing her bread, and went inside the house to grab her wrapper. She took the packed bread and put it on her head ready to make deliveries.
She smiled at me and said, “Let’s go make money….” We both chuckled and happily parted ways as she went about her passion.
That is just a part of Adeze’s life story, and I must admit that it left me both inspired and musing at how such a young lady, who has gone through such a difficult life at a young age, can be successful against all odds. Her own is just one of the many stories in the community that stand out as clear testimonies of how one could change from being a nobody to a somebody in this life through self-inspiration. To women out there the ball is in our court; let us use it wisely to score.