Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Games and Idleness

I have been thinking for sometime why the board game 'bawo' seems addictive to many Malawians and why people spend hours on end playing it. Bawo is usually 'overseen'by a small crowd that among other things offers technical advice to the two contestants.

I have also been wondering about the practice of men idling at street corners or watching caterpillars (tractors) constructing or grading roads.

I ask myself how did this waste of time begin? Is it due to an innate penchant to curiosity? Lack of employment? Mere laziness or purpose?
I tell you sometimes I feel bawo shouldnot be played anyhow in the cities and towns. I feel like telling off the players to quit and do something better with their day or lives! But I guess local legislation and human rights would be against this idea of mine!
But it is evident there is a huge loss in terms of manhours, productivity and economic gains from engaging in these acts.
I wonder if there can be way of comercialising bawo playing! Perhaps setting up a professional league in the towns so that the game is not a mere waste of time!

On another note my time in Lilongwe the capital city is coming to an end. I will miss Kamuzu Procession Road where I witnessed so much drama, Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Lilongwe Word Alive Church, Area 3, and more especially the quietness of the compound where I was based. Once again it is being torn between the joy of going home and the loss of friends I have made.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Lilongwe is...

I have been in Malawi's capital Lilongwe for over a month now, working for an international NGO involved in good governance and rule of law. It has been good experience especially when dealing with politicians in matters of allowances to attend workshops of national interest. One MP at a certain function said it is untrue that legislators are 'expensive'and are demanding when they are called to attend functions organised by the civil society. The reactions from the audience seemed to suggest the opposite was true.

But do we Malawians have to be paid always to brain-storm on crucial matters affecting the nation? How justifiable is that payment? Are we so immersed in a culture of receiving money to do things that we are already paid for? ( For example a journalist receiving 'allowance' to cover a function).

On another note Lilongwe is in my opinion overtaking Blantyre as a hub of commerce. I see industy, enterprise and hard-work from as early as 6am to dusk in the bazaars and market-place. I feel people in Lilongwe farm more, work more, trade more than the counterparts in Blantyre.