Malawi, my first impressions
This is my first ever blog, never would I have thought that one day I’d be writing my thoughts and then share it for the world to see. Anyways, here goes nothing!
Malawi, also known as the Warm Heart of Africa, truly stole my heart. Nothing could fully prepare me to what I was about to see and witness here, and I was glad. I kept my Google searches to a minimum, because I didn’t want to spoil the surprise of one of my craziest adventures. Give Malawi a clean slate, without prejudice or any pre-made ideas of the country.
The first thing that hit me once I got off the plane was the heat, obviously. Coming from the land of the cold known as Canada, this type of dry heat is not something we normally see. Nevertheless, I was not one bit disappointed. Bring on the sun and blue sky! This past Canadian summer had been quite the let down. Malawi was giving me a second chance for summer!
The second thing that really struck me was the chaos. But this chaos was different; it was a functional chaos. People, bikes, mini-buses, cars, etc. they were all over the place with no clear methodical system in place to divide and guide them. In other words, it was a « free-for-all ». Strangely, I loved it. Loved everything about this chaos: the merchants yelling on the street, cars honking, music coming from anywhere and everywhere. I felt like I was in my element; being at my calmest in the wildest places. Thus, Lilongwe was slowly becoming my urban jungle.
The third and last thing that stuck with me on arrival was the friendliness of the local people. Although I already knew Malawi was known as the Warm Heart, I didn’t think the stereotype would be this accurate. People here are genuinely happy to see you on the street and they will take to the time to introduce themselves or at least wave hello. This friendliness was no doubt a big help for my integration in the country. They are also more than happy to help you learn their language, Chichewa. That’s probably why I’ve been picking it up rather quickly. Zikomo!
An advice to future volunteers that come to Malawi, learn a bit of Chichewa. It goes along way and helps you to not get the « mzungu » price everywhere you go (you’ll understand this once you are here). Anyways, I can feel like this is the beginning of something amazing and that will leave a lasting impact on my life. Here’s to Malawi and potentially future blogs!