“A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people.” – Mahatma Gandhi
After more than 20 hours of travel time from Kuala Lumpur plus the lay-over in Singapore, Ethiopia and Zambia, finally I reached Malawi – The Warm Heart of Africa!
It was a hot Friday afternoon when I arrived at Chileka International Airport. An immigration officer approached me, checked my passport details and stared at me for a few seconds. Suddenly, he told me that someone was waiting for me outside to bring me to my hotel and it was arranged by my NGO Partners in Health. I felt the comfort and the warm welcome by the Malawi people as I set foot for the first time.
On my way to the hotel, I observed the environment and the people. Everyone was busy. There were a lot of happenings in the surroundings. There were vendors at the side of the streets. People were enjoying just having a good talk with each other. The public transport terminal was full of people trying to get a spot on the mini bus. It was a typical Friday afternoon probably.
When my service car stopped at one traffic light, I looked at one vendor holding a live rabbit. He smiled at me and tried to sell the animal. I just smiled back to him and of course I would not buy that. Might be illegal to buy such kind of animal in this country. When I checked in on my hotel at Blantyre, the staffs were very accommodating (they were trained to do it lol) and welcoming. And after a few minutes, I headed on to my room, checked all my belongings, took one good damn shower, enjoyed the dinner and finally slept in a soft bed. It was very relaxing.
On the following day, I decided to go for a walk at the city center. I was looking for a shop or store to buy a local sim card and wanted to buy some grocery items to be brought in Neno where my NGO site is located. It was surprising that most of the people I met and passed by on the streets were smiling and greeting me. I smiled back to them since they were really the proof that the culture resides in the heart and soul of its people. Not far enough from my hotel, there were two lady security guards who asked where I was going. I told them I was looking for a shop to buy for a local sim card. They pointed me at one shop to check. Even though they were not sure about the shop but the effort of helping a visitor on their country like me was sufficient to feel and experience their hospitality. Indeed, all of them showed what the Warm Heart of Africa was.
I knew I only started my adventure here in Malawi as a PULSE Volunteer. It was only my first two days and I felt like there’s something more this place and the people could offer. Something that would tell me that this could be another home for me. Something worthy to be here and something to be I can be proud of.
Be with my journey (through my blog) at the Warm Heart of Africa as a GSK PULSE 10 Volunteer with Partners in Health in the next six months. Let’s discover together Malawi and share our God-given skills to those most in need.
Feature Photo : Snapshot of Blantyre from my hotel.