Welcome to Mzimba!

Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Mr. Billy Makombola

Tampokelerani mose (Welcome you all) to my warm heart in the northern region of Malawi, Mzimba District, especially my beautiful community located in the southern part. I once read Ms. Khwima Nyirenda’s (Group2 Volunteer) blog talking about the beauty of the district and how welcoming the people are and I thought she was just exaggerating until I arrived here (in her village!) and witnessed with my own eyes, and you know seeing is believing right? So in this one month I have stayed in my community, I’ve noticed a few interesting things about people here that I want to share with you.

1. Friendly and Caring!
The people here are so easy to get along with. I never imagined how my life would be like being in a new environment with new people that speak a language I totally don’t understand, have you ever been in that kind of situation? But my imagination has been proved wrong because people here are so welcoming and caring, and are even making me think thrice about going back home after finishing my service.

2. Culture
I have also noticed that Mzimba district is mostly dominated by Ngoni people. One of the things that got my attention is how these people respect their culture. I will give you an example: Ngoni culture allows a man to have more than one wife and stay with them on the same compound. My host father has three wives and so has my counterpart. To my surprise, these women care and love one another as if they are blood sisters because they know it’s their culture and are not supposed to feel jealous at all. I wonder if ‘hate’ lives in this community.

3. Respect 
Talking of respecting culture and language barrier, there is only one significant language I am able to understand, that is Respect. People are so respectful here. Unlike in many urban areas, children are so respectful to their parents and all elderly people. Talking of greetings, I like how they do it here and let me teach you the common one; when you find two or more people together, you don’t have to spend the whole day greeting them all one by one, NO! All you have to do is greet one person and ask him/her how the rest are doing. Simple and nice, huh?

4. Farming
If there’s anyone who knows any other district that values farming most apart from Mzimba, contact me and we should debate. These people really got the Bible verse that says “No sweat, No sweet.” No wonder my counterpart says he can’t sleep on an empty stomach because he’s a hardworking farmer who goes to farm at 5am and come back at 5pm. Yes! You got me right there, from 5 to 5.

5. Meat
Talking about Ngoni people without mentioning ‘Meat’ is like an Indian main meal without spices, tasteless. I have only been here for a Month and have had meat at least 5 times given by my counterpart. I wonder how much Kilograms of Meat I’m going to finish by the end of my service. My host father had 30 cows but he’s now remaining with 29 because the other one was kidnapped by “Christmas” and his brother “New Years” a few days ago (laughs).

Anyway, these are some of the few things I’ve learned so far in my first month of service and I’m looking forward to learn and observe more exciting things about the people and community so that I would share with you again. I wouldn’t ask for another site than this one, Mzimba south, home away from home.

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