Wednesday, May 30, 2011
Wednesday was a day to be remembered for all ages…literally. It began with a visit to the Kangoma Youth Group, continued with a dinner with our more mature friends, Alf and Marianne, and finished with the celebration of our friend (in Chichewa “Zanga”)’s birthday.
For the past school year Nick had been leading efforts to raise money for the Kangoma Youth Group which is an outshoot of the Tilerane CBO. He spearheaded a series of Rock out for Africa concerts and, with the help of other SLIM members and awesome turn outs, managed to raise about $1000 to send over to the Kangoma Youth Group to save the program.Nick was seriously passionate about the endeavor, and we all believed in the cause to the extent that we could, never having been to the youth group. But today we were all fortunate enough to see why he felt so compelled to help keep this program going.
There’s a vibe there. I realize how lame this sounds but there’s really no other way to describe it. It is literally all youths running the programs; kids our ages and younger are initiating programs and following through. They take care of the younger children and maintain IGAs like a maize garden. And there’s peace there. A serenity one would least expect at a location run by teenagers. I’ve always associated teens with angst and complaints and general laziness but I guess in Malawi its just when the giving begins.
After hearing some incredible singing by the youth group members and watching a educational comedy about HIV/AIDS, we played a much less intense futbol passing game which we all adored because it excluded the running. I learned the hard way that if you don’t head-kick the ball correctly, it hurts. Also not so fun as a woman to hit the ball with your chest. Mental notes made.
Following this amazing afternoon at Kangoma we headed back to Budget and met up with our adorable, elderly, wise, crazy, carving/jewelry entrepreneur friend Alf and his wife Marianne for a Chinese food dinner. The couple have been married for 43 years and Marianne informed us that this is much in part to the fact that she just lets Alf do his thing. Alf made sure that our food was served in waves (“use your brain and bring the second round out five minutes after the first round”) and taught us that oranges are even more delicious when salted.
As if the day couldn’t get any lovelier, we finished up the night with a 30th birthday celebration for our market friend Osman, and our two other palls Morris and Allen. Lauren, Nick and I covertly snuck off to get a cake while Alexis, Ross, and Emily started off with the boys to a nearby club, Diplomat. Unfortunately, grocery markets close at 8 pm in Malawi. Nick, innovator that he is, suggested hat we go to Antonio’s, a nearby Italian restaurant. There we found half an apple pie, half a chocolate cake, and some sample gelato spoons. A perfect birthday cake. We utilized a half-used candle from our hotel and were off for the festivities. Osman was quite please with our :creative: offerings, and we danced the night away as all good nights in Malawi go. It was a perfect last night in Lilongwe before we headed off to Liwonde Thursday morn. It’s clear that awesomeness knows no age group in Malawi, and I hope I can learn to be as selfless as the Kangoma youths, as wise (and amusing) as Alf and Marianne, and look as good as Osman does at 30 ☺