Jean-Philippe and I came to Mchinji to see for ourselves how people here live without ever crying for food help, year in and year out. And we have seen. We went to Kochilira and Ludzi to admire the contribution of the Church to rural development. And we came back satisfied.
We went to Mkanda to tour the place and appreciate how Christian, Islamic, Ngoma, and Nyau music mixes into a mellow labyrinth. And we came back joyful. We spent some time with Nalia and her friendly colleagues at St Andrews Hotel. And verily, we say unto you, we received better treatment than what the legendary girls in Mangochi give. We ate chips mayaya. And we want to eat more.
To crown it all, we travelled to Ndawambe Village with Julia. And we came back most, most, most convinced that the Bible needs urgent revision. The Garden of Eden could not and should not be in a land where human beings have specialised in sadomasochism. The Garden of Eden is Ndawambe Village on the outskirts of the Mchinji Forest.
Jean-Philippe was really shocked that such a nice and potential tourist area is hardly promoted. Instead, money is spent on repairing hotels and other tourist unfriendly places. Jean-Philippe emphasized that it is the backpacker touristÂ who promotes economically viable tourism.
The great, original, intelligent and creative Nyanja people used to tell a story of a dog that was killed because he overslept near Kaluluâ€™s fireplace. Since we have completed our mission and done what all real men do here in Mchinji, we have to move on. And Julia, Nalia and others have given us the go-away.
â€œSo, from here, where do we go to?â€ I asked Jean-Philippe.
â€œI still want to swim in your lake before Tanzanians take it away from you. I hear even Mozambicans have started claiming Likoma and Chizumulu as theirs. So, say goodbye to Likoma and Chizumulu.â€
â€œThe two islands are in foreign territory.â€
â€œLet politicians sort that out politically. Meanwhile, we should go to Lilongwe and join the residents there in claiming what they are owed!â€
â€œThe Lilongwe Water Board is changing meters the whole of this month.â€
â€œSo, some residents want the board to refund them because the it has just announced through a radio advertisement that it has been fleecing consumers through its faulty water meters!â€
â€œWhatâ€™s in it for us?â€
â€œSolidarity, brother, solidarity. Today, itâ€™s Lilongwe tomorrow it will be us!â€
â€œThatâ€™s vanity. Only fools fight for other peopleâ€™s causes.â€
â€œI donâ€™t understand.â€
Jean-Philippe lectured me, literally, on the importance of knowing which protest to join. Only when you are invited and only when you know your direct or indirect benefits should you get involved in protests.
â€œIn that case, I suggest that we should go to Ntchisi.â€
â€œWhat is there?â€
â€œThe MBC say one girl there is asking her clients to queue and pay in advance,â€ I said.
â€œSounds professional. Pay before you earn. You want to be her client?â€
â€œI thought we were tourists.â€
â€œStop the nonsense. Please?â€
â€œOr, we can visit Malawiâ€™s only professor of herbs. He is somewhere in Ntchisi, too.â€
Jean-Philippe fell for the idea, but insisted that we should go to Salima for a swim.