Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Just around the Corner

So last week we were invited to escort one of the other teachers home. On this particular day the headmaster had told us that they would be preparing lunch for us. So we told the teacher we could not be gone very long because they were going to have lunch for us. She told us no problem and we were off. We started walking and she told us it was just around the corner and it was not far. We kept going another 5 minutes and we went around another curve and through another neighborhood and she said “we are almost there, just a little bit farther,” so we walked about another 5 minutes and she tells us it is just around the corner, so another 5 minutes have passed and now we are in the middle of the village and have made so many turns I couldn’t tell you even if a lion was chasing me how to get out of the village. We finally walked by another home and she tells us we are in her neighborhood. We left the school at noon and arrived at madam’s house at 12:35. On any other day, this would have been ok, but like I mentioned earlier, they were preparing us lunch and actually it was probably waiting for us. (sure enough it was). We arrive at madams home and were greeted by her squealing mother who is so very pleased to have us. It was the best bear hug I had had in a very long time!!! We go inside and have a seat in the living room. While we are sitting there…the true Malawi or African thing happens. All of madam’s neighbors start coming and sitting down. They don’t say anything, but they all find a seat. It was quite a quotable moment because Johanna and I read a book that talks about this exact moment. Fun fun fun. They are all there because they don’t want to leave us alone. Malawians believe that you dont ever want to be left alone. So although the ackward silence was almost unbearable for me, it is completely normal there. After about 8 people coming in a sitting down we had some introductions and I was able to say she had a very nice home in chichewa, and then we told Madam that me might need to go. She said she just needed to eat really quick and then we would go, go. Yes this is a great term here. There is go and go, go. and there is now and now, now. When they say now now or go go, it is really that minute, but otherwise, not so much. So madam ate quickly and we were on our way. We arrived back at the school at 1:10. So the few minutes we thought we would be gone turned into an hour. The headmaster was very understanding and we then ate our lunch.

1 comment:

Shilingi-Moja said...

What a typical African "moment". I don't know how many times in 22 years I have heard these phrases (in Swahili, of course):

--> It's not far
--> It's won't take long
--> It's coming just now

It really is all about relationships, isn't it?

Bob A