A letter to my family in diaspora…

Dear achimwene,

Ulendo uja ndinayenda bwino. All was well until I hit Chileka International Airport. God only knows why it’s an international airport chifukwa maonekedwe ake mungamve chisoni. You’d think atsamunda sanachokebe ku Malawi; ngati tafika kale kumudzi. Imagine my disappointment when the young man sitting next to me on the flight from Lilongwe informed me that the reconstruction had been there for almost two years. Ena akuti the delay is due to ndale. Those stories we used to hear about the rusty toilets and poor service ndizoona. Chi building chosasangalatsa olo pang’ono.

The upstairs balcony where we used look forward to spending weekends watching planes take off and land as a past time, while partaking in those nice melt in your mouth like mama used to make them sausage rolls when we were kids is no more. A huge tent some yards from the main building is now the departure and arrival “lounge”. The departure terminal nde musanene! Mumachita kusiyirana pakhomo olo poti mungakhale.

Kaya ma tourist and investors amati chani? For you to believe me, ndikutumizirani chithunzi. You’d think that our government would build better infrastructures to attract them koma ayi ndithu. I guess the good news is that a new terminal is said to be in the pipelines.

As soon as I recovered from that trauma we set off for the city. The excitement was unbearable!

Titafika pa HHI ine dabwi! Kuyang’ana udzu ngati ku game park inayake. Ma streets nde musakambe. My eyes teared up remembering the days of Ngwazi when we’d line up and clap hands as he’d pass by singing “yede yede pano palimwayi”. Memories came flooding of Prince Charles muja anabwera ndi a queen smiled and waved at me as their car drove by pa convoy although nonse munanditsutsa.

Ukukumbukiranso kuti I got my blessing from the same lineup by Pope John Paul II when he came to Malawi? How those celebrities never paid attention to you is beyond me. Mwinatu ndi ma looks anuwo eti?

Either way, the standards of Ngwazi sadly followed him to the grave. Zinyalala mtauni ngati tili kuntaya. You wonder if our leaders pass through the same town as road travel is the common mode of transportation here.

Mavuto alipo. Minibuses are it for public transport moti ndaijailila bad. Anyamata oyitanila aja amachita kundidziwa. Sadly, they are a nuisance on the roads of Malawi moti ife ma born free kuona choncho basi chikumbumtima cha a leads kungobwelanso. United Transport of Malawi (UTM) was da bomb!  Remember ma Double Decker atabwera tikumajambulitsa m’wamba muja? Pano sungayelekeze kujambulitsa pa minibus. Ma minibus enawo ngati ugwamo; so raggedy and nasty looking. Kutchena nde ndinasiya chifukwa mipando ina imakung’ambira zovala.

It doesn’t take you long to realize that at every corner of the streets there’s a policeman there just hanging out being another nuisance like the minibuses. Yawo ati kumaimitsa magalimoto checking msonkho ndi zina zotero. This is partly why ma minibus a dangerous adakali pamseu. Amawasiya dala nkumapangirapo ndalama disregarding that in the process they endanger the passengers.

Between the police and the minibuses, one never knows who the King of the road is acting like they own the country with one not following the rules and regulations per the road traffic act while the other is busy fining people the maximum when in reality they are supposed to fine you an amount up to….koma iwo amangoyambira maximum basi. As you know kuno ndi pompo pompo kulipira ma fine. Za mawa samamva nde enafe ndikushota kwathu timaswerapo pa road side ndithu.

Ndisanaiwale, barely a week after I came back home I went to see the University of Science and Technology in Thyolo. Ndimafuna ndikaone ndekha. Chaona maso chimakhulupilika! Koma achimwene inu! Remember the pictures we saw on facebook of the brick and blue colored university blocks? Dikirani ndikutumiziraninso zithunzi zake. Komatu panafa vision! And to think, that it was built close to Bingu’s village like ndalama zinali zawo. Something magnificent like that should have been in the heart of the city, Lilongwe to be precise, where all would have been able to see it and marvel at its beauty. I’ve heard rumors that za China sizilimba especially ma buildings so I pray and hope that won’t be the case. Those buildings are too beautiful. Makes me want to go back to school koma ayi sukulu yakwacha. Nthawi ino ndiyomataka-taka.

Speaking of kutaka-taka. Amayi ndinawapeza bwino ngakhale ndimangowaona munseumu ndi pa TV channel yathu yachikale ija ngati kuti zabwera pompano. All these years and they still haven’t perfected television skills eti ngati tilikumudzi. Ena aka was reading the news monong’ona. Ndikamalankhula like it’s a joke koma zoona ndithu. I feel they either need to go for training or achite out source pajatu kunjako zonse ndi outsource basi zatheka.

Iiii komanso ine! Back to amayi. I must say I quiet agree with her when she says “azimai kumataka-taka” because the way life is in Malawi today, one cannot survive on salary yokha. Nanji enafe opanda banja nde pepani kuvutika kwake. Paketi ya shuga ilino pa K372. Imagine that! More than $1 for a small packet of sugar. Cheese nde tinasiya kale kudya moti ndikupempheniko kuti chonde mukamabwera tchuti ya Christmas please bring me some mu suitcase ndidzatsukeko mkamwa.

Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that times are hard nde masteni akamapempha ndalama mudzingotumiza chifukwa zinthu zadula zedi and to think that people are saying bolani pano. Atitu inafikapo nthawi yoti olo kanthu m’ma shelf mu ma stores kuli mbeee! So in a way, with the coming of amayi monga mwa slogan ya Atcheya, “zinthu zasintha”!

While that is good news, the downside about being a woman in Malawi is some people underrate us and our capabilities to rule/govern. It is still a challenge in our society for a woman even though m’makomo mwinamu you see amuna aulesi akulemekezedwa when the woman is the bread winner. Tradition and culture can be a bitch!

Ulendo wakumudzi ndinayenda bwino ndipo onse amapereka moni wamafuta a nkhosa. Katundu ujanso ndinakapereka koma amalume kuti, shati munatuma ija tai yake ilibe?

Nkhani ili mkamwa, mwamvako zomwe zanachitika kuno? Ndale za beba nyatwa moti I called amalume kuwafunsa ngati atabwelerenso ku Malawi Congress Party (MCP). What was a dream has now become a reality. Ngatitu show achimwene. Would you believe me if I told you a JZU achita retire and that MCP now has a new president? Dr. Lazarus Chakwera is the talk of town moti ati zipani zina zikunjenjemera. Ena ayamba kale kumati ndale zogawa ma t-shirt ayi kuiwala kuti dzulo dzuloli amagawa awo kumisonkhano.

Vuto la ndale zakuno timangolondola zomwe anena ena lekana sitikutukuka. There’s lack of independent thinking in Malawi and we wonder why we don’t progress as a nation. Tulo teniteni. Whatever the case, I’m excited with this new development as it gives people a number of candidates to pick from and it’s also good for democracy.

Firstly, it shows that unlike other parties MCP has demonstrated true democratic conduct in their elections.

Secondly, it’s a wake-up call for other political parties in that there’s some competition going. All parties will be evaluated based on their agenda through their manifestos.  

Lastly, this election happens to be a special one since those born after multiparty will be eligible to vote. They’re college graduates with no jobs so they have plenty of time on their hands to dissect the manifestos hence can’t be easily fooled.

Umphawi kuno nde osasimbika. Like I was telling achimwene ang’ono dzulo pa Skype kuti the people are so used to being poor it can’t get worse than this. However, they are frustrated, angry at all the lies and undelivered promises by our politicians. They also happen to be hungry so won’t refuse the freebies. The politicians will need to work hard to get their votes. Ine phee pansi pamtengo kungoyang’ana zonse zikuchitika.

Yinanso ya latest ndi ya esikomu. Long after you wrote about them in your book, the monkeys are still at it ku Nkulaku. Magetsi sikuti azima liti. Pano nde they work in conjunction with Blantyre Water Board nde pepani! Ma double feature almost daily. If nothing happens kuchita kudabwa. Madzi a brown nde tazolowera moti inu kundiona mutha kundidutsa panseu ndili biii! Nde some weeks ago ma twins analengeza pa radio ati madzi ndi magetsi avutirapo due to the SADC meeting which was going on in Lilongwe. I kept asking myself how that would affect the city of Blantyre. I have yet to come up with an answer. Ndikawagwira anyaniwo I’ll let you know chifukwa I’m getting tired of their jokes!

Anyway, ndatopano kulemba panyali ndikagone mwina mawalino basi kulawira kukatunga madzi kuchitsime nanga titani. Moni kwa onse. Tell them I miss them so much and can’t wait to see them akabwera holiday.

Tsalani bwino ndi ambuye.

Your ever loving sister,

MJN

P/s Musadabwe kukusiyani ndi mau opatulika. Kunotu anthu ndoopemphera kwabasi moti nanenso ndayambapo pang’ono pang’ono. Ndimakondako kuchalichi kuti ndizikaona azimai akukanika kuyendera ma high heels.

About Mbachi Joyce Ng'oma

Femme noire. Femme Africaine.Lover of Politics. My song is of STRENGTH AND DIGNITY! Women and Children Rights are my Passion... View all posts by Mbachi Joyce Ng'oma

7 responses to “A letter to my family in diaspora…

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