Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world
First Impressions of Dowa, Malawi
“Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world however I have never felt that people are poor in the terms of interactions with each other and in the relationship between people”
By Nozomy from Japan.
It’s been approximately for three weeks since when we arrived to Malawi. I am working at the Teacher Training College in Dowa and here I write about my community life and about the lifestyle here in Dowa.
Personally, I have never felt stressful since I arrived in Dowa and I really love the community life and lifestyle. The three things that stand out for me as most enjoyable are as follows:
1. The Early Morning Starts
In general, people start to work in the very early morning. My neighbours start to clean and take water from the water pump at 4:00 or 5:00 am. Our students clean toilets, corridors and classrooms in the morning cleaning time from 5:00 to 7:00 am.
Electricity in the evening is rare, thus, people tend to go to bed early due to lack of electricity, and then they wake up early to start activities the next day. In the first place, I am a morning person who goes to bed early and wakes up early. This characteristic is not common in Japan or Denmark where electricity is always running.
Thus, this morning-lifestyle is quite comfortable for me and I don’t have to hesitate to knock on the neighbor’s door to ask something anymore at 5:00 in the early morning.
Sharing Life with People
There is a very close relationship between neighbours in my community. It’s been only two weeks since we started to live in the accommodation that the school provided us in Dowa but I can’t count how many times my neighbor helped us and invited for refreshments, lunch and supper.
My neighbors are three ladies who work in the primary school of the refugee camp, plus the daughter of one of the women, my two teammates and three girls from another university who will be here for four months for an internship in a primary school near the college. We help each other if something is needed, but it is so much that I am helped by them so far.
Moreover, children who live in a community near often visit our neighbours. The ways that people live a community life and help each other are quite broad. Nifa who is one good friend told me “sharing something even food is our culture in Malawi”.
I can see it through living with them. It is common to lend or borrow something from each other. This situation induces people to have more conversations and it develops the strength of relationship between people in the community.
3, Avocado’s are INCREDIBLE
Unfortunately we missed the season for mango and pineapple. Instead of that, the season of the avocado has just started in Malawi. You can purchase an avocado with 100 KWACHA or 200 KWACHA in the market and it equals between 15 JPY to 30 JPY (less than 1 USD). The “AvocadoCclub” that is an informal club that was launched by two cool co-workers and me.
We eat a lot of avocados each day.
These enjoyable times make me feel blissful in Dowa. Of course, I already have met new and amazing people: teachers, students and local people and I really
love them and spending time with them together at the college and in the community.
I especially like community life and the touching the connection between people in the community.
In Japan, my country is quite developed and you can buy many things. You can live your life without interacting much with people, indeed, we have been further isolated from community life due to the development of the Internet.
Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world however I have never felt that people are poor in the terms of interactions with each other and in the relationship between people.
To look back at life in Japan and Denmark I feel we have lost the opportunity to touch the kindness and sympathy of people as a community.
Our countries have developed in the terms of income with money, but it seems that we are poor in terms of the strength of connection between people in the community life.