Meet Mr. Precious Mereca! He is Head Housekeeper of the Chancellor College Guesthouses and has been my little angel ever since I arrived. Even though I am only in this Guest House temporarily until my private home is ready (cleaned and painted), he has seen to it that all of my questions are answered and my needs met. He has escorted me to town to get groceries before I had a car, and he even helped me to find a car. This is Malawian hospitality at its best.
At the Guest House, and also at my Private Home, the college is providing 24/7 security with guards. Malawi is a politically peaceful country, but the level of poverty prompts petty thefts and break-ins. I feel very safe here with this added attention to my welfare as a visiting American.
Yesterday, Mr. Mereca took me to visit the home of Mr. Benard Chiwaya, a previous member of the Chancellor College security team. He lives in the village of Thundu, which is still in Zomba City. Yet, most of the homes are without electricity, running water, or sewage systems – including his own. Here are some photographs of his lovely children.
Ms. Mary Wasiri, the Registrar of Chancellor College, invited me to her home for brunch yesterday. Her home is in Zomba, but a little farther up the mountain. On the way I was startled by a baboon standing in the middle of the road just looking at me like I was trespassing.
The mama baboon with her baby attached to her underbelly was also disturbed by my presence.
I said, “Hello baboons,” and then went on to Mary’s home. She told me that the baboons are a common presence in her yard and are friendly yet shy. I’ve never seen a baboon outside of a zoo, so I can truly say that these moments struck my heart significantly.
Mary Wasiri graciously prepared me a traditional Malawian meal, with Chambo fish from Lake Malawi, nsima (a corn mash which is a staple carbohydrate), greens from her garden, and a lovely bean montage with mushrooms.
I must admit that I am not accustomed to eating something that is looking back at me, just as I am not accustomed to eating with my hands (right hand only), but I felt that to experience this amazing culture I must try to venture out of my culinary comfort zone. Food and culture and so intrinsically connected.