My Friend from Salima, Malawi

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my reflections on my Global Village trip to Malawi, Africa. In that post, I promised you that I would write a special post dedicated to one of the young ladies there that I grew pretty darned fond of. It’s even hard to type that, because there were SO MANY little girls that would come to find me after they were dismissed from school in the morning, but one little girl always seemed to find a place close to me whether I was building, or taking photos within the village. By the way, I did receive permission from her mom to share about her on the blog – because I’m adamant about people not just taking photos of my children and then posting them all willy nilly. Even though, most of the families knew that we would be taking photos and sharing them, as a partner family myself, I felt the need to get extra permission. 

Natasha Nicholes  from Houseful of Nicholes with one of the young ladies from the Salima, Malawi village.

This is Priscilla. Priscilla and I hit it off the first day that I was in the village because she was carrying her little brother around in a piece of cloth. Babywearing style. At 7, maybe? My friend IB, walked me through this style of babywearing when I had the ladybug, but to see someone the size of the ladybug now wearing a baby kind of made me stop in my tracks. I’m not sure WHY it did, but it did. Maybe because here in America we tend to think that our 6 and 7 year olds can’t do much of anything alone, while these 6 and 7 year olds were walking to school or across villages to give messages to fellow neighbors. Talk about free range parenting. I’m all for it. 

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Anyhow, she was pretty serious about protecting her little brother. So much so, that she stopped bringing him around later in the week because she said that all of the new people in our group frightened him. I could dig it. Little Miss P, attempted to teach me Chichewa (the language of Malawans) and I attempted to learn. She didn’t seem to get exasperated with my pronunciation, although at times she would give a polite giggle if I was too far off. She tried to teach me traditional dances, and how to do the typical things around the village. She also made sure to introduce me to her friends, and she had lots of them! 

I think what I loved most about being in Salima (besides the beauty of it all) was the fact that there was so much community. Each family was just an extension of the family next door. Basically each stoop belonged to the other families. Children could come and hang out and play at the next house. None of that policing how the other parents actually parent. I could totally dig it. 

Anyhow, Priscilla, for me was a focus point on stopping and taking time to enjoy the time that I had in Africa. I mean, for a first intercontinental trip of my life. I felt like I had so much to catch up on (especially being one of the few people on the trip who had never flown off of the continent of North America) but each day, life slowed down, and I was able to find the beauty in the dragonflies and pigs. The cows and the ducks. Heck, I even found beauty in the toads that were hidden among the bricks. Essentially, she was an extension of my very own children back home. Telling me in her way to enjoy this trip, and to experience it fully. To play. To laugh. To dance. To cry. To meditate. 

I look forward to going back to Malawi in a few years, and yes, I do hope to see my friend, Priscilla. 

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Kira
    August 31, 2015 at 6:30 am

    Aww Priscilla is beautiful. I’m surprised she wasn’t bombarding you with questions about America. Most African kids are usually inquisitive and eager to learn. I totally agree regarding free range parenting, in Africa they take the phrase it takes village to raise a charge a child to heart.

    • Reply
      Mrs. Houseful
      September 2, 2015 at 11:51 am

      Kira,

      She mainly spoke Chichewa, so we had a bit of a language barrier, but she did take me around the village and teach me words for common items there. I think of her often, and I can’t wait to go back!

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