These three days in Chintebe were an amazing experience.
Even if during the first month & half in Malawi, while walking from our TTC Amalika to Bvumbwe or visiting some primary schools we had the possibility to see villages and people, in these days we had the chance to live together with them. We spent three days working together, eating together, sleeping under the same roof and feeling their reality. Never like before I felt to be “shoulder by shoulder with the Poor”.
I was in the local Chief house, a 47 y.o. woman and together with my core-group teacher Kenneth, I had the possibility to try to understand some cultural differences that still exists in Malawi, especially in a “out-of-the-way” village. Even if she was the Chief, title inherited by his father as first born, and it was clear how she was a powerful woman, I could feel the idea that here men are considered more important than women. It was somehow embarrassing for me, coming from a family used to gender’s equality, the way the daughter of the Chief, had to give me a glass of water or others women had to greet me: knelt and with the head lowered. Or the fact that women are used to eat in another room, separated by man. All this in a village formed by Christians, most of them Roman Catholic.
Anyway, my best experience in Chintebe was the afternoon spent with a 84 y.o. woman. We talked about everything, from the positioning of the woman in the local society, to HIV, from how the Global Warming is affecting the life of the village to her memories about Kamuzu Banda, the firt controversial President/Dictator of Malawi, who obtained the freedom from the English colonial power but was responsable of one of the most repressive regimes in Africa, with almost 18.000 people killed during his 30 years regime.
The investigation ended on Friday afternoon, after the students prepared an “Open day” in front of the Chief and the family of the hosts, making presentations, dramas, reading poems and singing together to greet the families that hosted their trios, to talk about global warming and the importance of farming respecting the land.
Here’s some photos of the three days investigation.
As always, more photos in our Facebook page.