Messages from Malawi

“We are eating mangoes now. The picture I have sent is one of our own trees outside our house.“ I wake to messages like this often. They arrive on my phone all the way from Malawi in the middle of the night, at the latest by 5 o’clock, when most Malawians have been up and … More Messages from Malawi

Yesterday

Yesterday, I met a woman in a shop. She didn’t give me her name, but she did divulge her age: 92 – yet she looked closer to 72 with her bright blue eyes, and I told her so. I asked her what her secret was. She looked a little bemused by my question, paused to … More Yesterday

Malawi Matters

I’ve taken you out to Margret’s Malawian Kitchen, and introduced you to Israel (again) and F Man (briefly). So here now is a fuller idea of why my son and I went to Malawi. (This post can also be found on Empathy Action.) I’m tagging along on my son’s trip (he’s here to gain some … More Malawi Matters

About F Man

A little bit about my friend, Fazili Gama, shared originally by Empathy Action. Meet Fazili, otherwise known as F Man. He lives in a town called Kasungu in Malawi, and is THE man to go to if you need your phone fixed. He started out young, fixing his teachers’ phones when he needed to pay … More About F Man

Israel

I first met Israel in 2016 at a primary school in rural Malawi. I remember introducing him here on this blog, telling of his penchant for my sunglasses and the sparkle in his eye. He was nine years old. I wondered whether I would ever see him again. But when my son and I revisit … More Israel

Margret’s Kitchen

Jon chops onions, I take photos, and Margret is sensational in yellow. We are in Margret’s kitchen, to the rear of the house she shares with Kenneth, her husband, and their son, Jonathan, in rural Malawi. It’s the end of a fascinating trip (more of which later). Clean pots and pans wait as fires hot … More Margret’s Kitchen

The Shop

Right next to the bar is the shop. It sells all the usual staples, like daily bread and cheap local wine, hunks of cheese and carefully cured meats. Great wedges of watermelon are piled high in the fridge, dwarfing imperfect red tomatoes of all shapes and sizes. In charge of it all is a super … More The Shop

The Wolf Whistle

I’ve not been wolf-whistled in at least 25 years. That’s quite a time. But it’s now no longer true. Rewind four weeks and I am walking up a quiet Greek road thinking about figs. I am whistled at. Technically, I know it to be a wolf whistle (the short rising note followed by a slow … More The Wolf Whistle

The Bar

Occupying prime position on one side of the roundabout, about which all traffic to Thermisia village comes and goes, is the café-bar. It takes the unofficial, unassuming, low-lying role of the watchtower. Neatly aligned chairs occupy the narrow strip of pavement, where men sit with matching glasses of ouzo and water. Friends buzz up on … More The Bar

A bit about Makis

Nelly tells me that Nikos (her son, who fishes) caught them. They drape over a high metal bar (like the top of an old-fashioned swing) under the burning sun. Yiannis (Nelly’s other son) elaborates: they must hang to dry for about 30 hours before they are ready to grill. Nikos will do it simply with … More A bit about Makis