Over the last few months, I have felt a growing sense of optimism in Malawi. When we arrived in September 2016, it was hot and dry, with daily water and power cuts. There was a slight air of desperation in the country- there had been 2-years of droughts and then floods with severe consequences on the food supply. Many people in the rural communities were starving and the country was dependent on foreign aid.
This year Malawi has had a bumper harvest. So good in fact, the Malawi government has lifted the ban on exporting maize, the staple food. The cash this year’s crop has generated is starting to filter through the economy. There is more traffic in the markets, with more household items being purchased rather than just food. And of course, the bars have been getting a little busier.
Therefore, this weekend some field research. Coincidentally, it was the English Premier League season kick off too, with the important game Sunday night. After assessing the various options we settled for our old favorite, The Breeze Bar (in Area 47). I’m so used to the Brave/Violet/Phil fan club I was even discussing the pre-match details with Brave when we wasn’t there.
So where was he? How could Brave not be front and central at The Breeze? The title picture is Brave in Guernsey visiting the in-laws with Carys, although I might have blown his “I’m just stepping out for some milk” cover story. Sorry Brave – but we miss you.
But I sought solace in a few Greens and experienced the joy all over again of being in a country inflicted with football fever. What a great atmosphere in the bar – I just can’t believe my luck that I see every game with my United-certified buddies and then I can talk smack with the non-believers after:
That was Isabel, our office Liverpool fan, demonstrating something called sportsmanship. As the world’s worst loser her generous nature is lost on me and she grumbled this morning that we didn’t invited her (a Liverpool fan to a United game?). I almost felt guilty. So we’re now planning a Game 2 (both the United and then the Liverpool game) party rolling to Fishani’s house for next Saturday. Brave will be there in spirit.
But is was so good to see a small slice of the country enjoying itself after a torrid 2-years. Natalia and I had almost completely forgotten the water and power issues of last year.
We returned home this evening to a dark house – the power cuts have officially started again.