Soon after interring Kaka Dr George nga Mtafu at Ntonda in Blantyre last week, we—Sheikh Jean-Philippe LePoisson, SC (RTD), Abiti Joyce Befu, MG 66, leader of our Bottom Up expedition, Mzee Native Authority Mandela, and I, the Mohashoi—decided to take a five day break during which we would not talk to and about anyone and anything.
When we arrived in downtown Blantyre, we decided to go and have a quick meal in one of those great take-away restaurants that litter the city of mediocrity.
“Two sausages and French fries with vikolakola, please!” Jean-Philippe called as soon we sat down at veranda of the food court.
“And you, Madam?” asked the waitress bearing the tag ‘Agnes’.
“Same,” Abiti responded, as she pulled her chair closer to the table and started fiddling with her Phony Xperience.
“And you, sir?” Agnes turned to Mzee Native Authority Mandela.
“Same,” responded Native Authority Mandela.
“And you, sir?” Agnes asked as she turned to me.
“Bottle of still water, boiled sweet potatoes and grilled kampango,” I said.
“Sorry, sir,” Agnes said, “we have still water but not sweet potatoes and, by the way, what’s kampango, Sir?”
“Okay. Will you suggest an alternative combination for me?”
“Fine. Try grilled steak or meat balls, chilled vikolakola, and French fries with mayonnaise.”
“Sorry, girl, I don’t take red meat or processed meats and fizzy drinks, anymore,” I said smiling.
“Well, medical research consistently shows that regular or overconsumption of red meats or processed meats and fizzy drinks may be as carcinogenic as being exposed to glyphosate based herbicides!”
“I am lost, sir, what is carcinogenic?” Agnes.
“Just give me still water and two boiled eggs,” I said.
“Carcinogenic relates to cancer. The research the Mohashoi referred to claims that there is a significant link between regular consumption of red meats, such as mbuzi and ng’ombe, and processed meats such as packaged sausages, and meat balls and the development of cancers in human bodies. Apikene?” Jean-Philippe explained as he exhibited his knowledge of Chiyao.
Agnes left to get our orders. As we waited for our meals, Mzee Native Authority Mandela wondered why every good food is condemned by scientists. Talking to nobody in particular, he said: “They eat red meat all over the world and when we try to eat the same here, we are told red meat causes cancers; they drink fizzy drinks all over the world, but when we want to drink the same here, we are told fizzy drinks are carcinogenic! If these foods are really that bad why does the West still make and promote them?”
“Mzee, don’t ignore science,” Jean-Philippe said, “You see, a Malawian physician friend of ours once observed that many children in urban areas of Malawi have ailments related to ‘too much gas’ in their lower abdominal parts, or something like that, because they are fed on fizzy drinks and over spiced foods such as cha abambo puffs. Parents think that giving their children fizzy drinks is better than feeding them on phala. Children are being operated on for medical complications that could have been avoided if only parents listened to scientists and medical doctors and watched what their children eat!”
“Ndiye tidzidya chiani?” Abiti asked as she scrolled through her WhatsApp messages.
“Fish, chicken, locusts, bwanoni and crocodile meat. Also, try vegetable protein-rich foods such as beans, mbalala or groundnuts, and soya and replace sugar with honey!” Jean-Philippe suggested authoritatively.
“It also means no Amalaula, no Chivas Mikhito, no Nkhota Kota shandy, no Captain’s Organ, and no Mulanje Gin?” Mzee wondered.
“You don’t have to stop consuming these important drinks. Just avoid abusing them, like some pastors do as they prepare for their sermons!” Abiti said and turned her head to watch Agnes who was dextrously carrying, in each of her two hands, a tray full of our orders. n