Chichewa and Comfortably Installed at COWLHA’s
Malawi — Uniterra
I finally learn yesterday what will be my mandate for the next 2 remaining weeks (yes already!) I didn’t mention it before, but next Monday is a National Holiday in Malawi. Without counting today, I have less than 7 days to work on my project as I have to submit my idea and to adjust it to their need if required before I leave on January 27th. More as the days go, more I realise how 3 weeks is really short for a mandate. My mandate consists to propose a tool and procedure to compile and to track feedbacks received from COWLHA’ direct beneficiaries (e.g. women living with HIV /AIDS). By proposing new way of compiling these feedbacks, it will allow COWLHA management team to follow-up on the evolution and progress of their organization as a whole and to improve skills and knowledge of COWHLA staff for all their services and trainings.
My morning at COWLHA was cut short as I left in the afternoon to assist a basic Chichewa class given at the WUSC office. The basic Chichewa class is normally only given to long term volunteer which is why mine was cut short on Monday. I’m lucky to have other 6 volunteers in Malawi at the same than me which allow me to benefit from this training. The only greeting that I manage to remember is Muli bwanji? (How are you?), but it was interesting to know how Chichewa function as a language. The teacher, Austin, was quite insightful and gave us a lot of tips about greetings in Malawi. Greetings are an important part of the Malawian culture; if you do not greet, it could be interpret as being rude.
For those whose wondering what I’m eating… well I’m eating the same thing than in Canada! My last night supper was a homemade vegetarian curry. Being in the capital, Lilongwe has everything that can be easily found like any other big city which could explain why I didn’t experience any “cultural shock” yet. What I meant is that people usually associate “Africa” to poverty, but Africa is a big continent with many beautiful countries, each with their own charm. Of course I miss home, but I didn’t feel any culture shock yet; I might experience it more when I will be travelling to the fields with COWLHA next week.
Today, it’s my first full day in COWLHA. I’m comfortably installed and I’m already familiar with the place, thanks to COWLHA’s team. Elina agreed to take a picture with me; she’s one of the staff at COWLHA.