Posts Tagged chichewa

Cinema Matawale

Various small retail triumphs today. After the morning’s induction – a very useful talk with Felix Kauye, the Chief Govermment Psychiatrist – we headed into town to do some shopping using Rob’s car. Rob comes in to Zomba from Blantyre every Monday and Tuesday, staying over in our large house, and while we are without transport his RAV-4 is a luxury. Found the local Carlsberg depot where one can buy a crate of 20 Carlsberg “greens” for K1470. That’s a mere 74 kwacha (30p or R4.60) per beer, including bottle deposit. I think we’re onto a winner there. Then into town, where I manage to find white bread flour – in 10kg sacks, for about the same price as the crate of beers! I’ll need to bake a loaf of bread in the little oven about every three days to get through that bag in four months. I am very pleased with this. Driving back to the house, Steph points out a small rattan couch being sold next to the road which she was quoted K3500 for. We stop and talk to the man who seems to be in charge of making them. This time, with more than one person showing interest, the price starts at K4500, but we rapidly bring him down, eventually negotiating two couches for K6000. Only one is ready now, and we’ll pick the other up tomorrow. That’s £24 for a very basic lounge suite – plus K300 (120p) for a gentleman to carry them to our flat. I do feel almost a bit bad about this, because the couches are well made and seem to be worth much more.

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This is how the hospital works… (Day 1)

Induction as expected, very slow and painfully detailed, including such details as the full list of all hospital employees and their government pay grade, from chief superintendent down to cook and porter. I found out that our night-guard, provided by the hospital, gets paid more than the VSO allowance for night-guards, which means we do not need to apply for the grant. Cross that off the list. I spend some of the time going over Chichewa verbs in my head, with the book next to me to glance at surrepticiously.
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Zomba on a Saturday

Today I went into town. We live in Matawale, a suburb just on the outskirts of Zomba town. A ten minute walk and a five minute minibus ride for K70 – 30p – gets me into town. I greet the locals with the brief opening we learnt a few days back, and it really works. The routine dialogue is followed pretty much verbatim every time:
“Moni achemwale/abambo/amayi/achimwene” – “Hello young woman/man/woman/young man”
“Moni …”
“Muli bwanji?” – “How are you?”
“Ndili bwino. Kaya inu?” – “I am fine. And you?”
“Ndili bwinonso.” – “I am also fine.”
“Zikomo.” – “Thanks. [And lets now move on to business.]”
“Zikomo.”
This is cursorily rushed through, sometimes without even slowing down if walking past each other. I suppose it’s not that strange – we greet people like this in English also, but here it is done routinely.
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Day two and three

This morning started with a shower and a health warning. The shower was cold, and I stood next to it, only occasionally daring to put part of my body into the stream. There was a knock on the shower door.
“Doctor? Doctor?”
“Yes hello Doctor Rhada.”
“Oh I’m sorry Doctor I’ll go next door.”
“The showers are cold.”
“They are cold?”
“Yes, the water is cold.”
“You must turn the red tap.”
“[sigh] Yes I have.”
“And the water is not warm?”
“No it is cold.”
“You mustn’t shower in cold water. Very dangerous, you will catch a fever!”
I laughed. At breakfast we had a few more tussles over whether or not Milo comes from South Africa or India (I suspect neither), and whether we were eating oats or rice (it was clearly oats). Read the rest of this entry »

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