The warm heart of Africa

Bike Taxi

Malawi is called the warm heart of Africa, named from the friendly and peaceful citizens. We experienced this firsthand when we rode our bike taxis and visited Njobvu Cultural Village.

When I first heard that we would have the opportunity to take a bike taxi, I expected I would be riding in a rickshaw bulled by a bicycle. What we did get though, was an adventure I can only begin to describe. We rode on the back of the bicycles on uneven roads and paths that wove through the bush. Our drivers pedalled past onlooking villagers, waving children, animals, and villages.

When we arrived at Njobvu Cultural Village, we learned how the Peace Corps helped to establish this village to aid in communication between the Malawian people and government and help people learn about the culture in Malawi. After a short tour of the facilities, where one can stay overnight for about $5, they put on a show to teach us about how they live. We listened to a band play music from some guitars and a makeshift drumset, and we watched as people danced to the music. We learned the workings of a marraige proposal and were given a demonstration of grinding corn. We were shocked by a fire eater and informed about the use of witchcraft. We played ball with some children, while others sat on our laps.

This village was so hospitable; I do not question why Malawi is called “the warm heart of Africa.” They also made me look at develping countries in a different way. It is easy to come to a developing country and make suggestions that would make things better. But, we have to remember that our values and background experiences are different. Malawians may not want to live the way that we do. They embrace their rich cultural background, and we should appreciate that. Volunteer trips are not meant to change the way other people live, but rather, help in the ways they feel are most needed. And along the way, we get a chance to learn more about the lifestyles of one another.

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One Response

  1. As you lay sleeping (hopefully soundly) on your second to last night, in preparation for your last full day in the land of Malawi, I can only bring up images of what all you must have seen and what you have felt. I think of all the people who have crossed your paths the last 2 weeks, from the people who donated money and items for your trip, to the people changing the TP in the airport, and all of those wonderful people in between. Each person placed in your path for a reason, to teach you something important. I wonder as the days unfold ahead of you, in your years to come, if you will put the pieces of the puzzle together of why each and every person was introduced into your life at this time. I envy each of you for your experiences, and I can not wait to wrap my arms around my daughter and give her a big lovin’! Can not wait to hear all of the stories and see the look on her face as she tells them. I am so thankful you have all stayed safe and healthy and know that God will watch over you as you journey back to reality. I enjoyed your last entry Kevin, as you so rightly stated that we do not go to these places to change them to our ways, but to learn from them and help in the ways that they know and are comfortable with. Have a wonderful last day and we will see you on this side of the world in a couple of days! Godspeed……

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