Banja: “family”

Let me begin this entry by sending all the love from our group here in Malawi to our respective families back in the states. We miss you all, love you all, and thank you all for supporting us in our decision to head off to Africa for a month.

That being said, while we miss our families back in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York, we were warmly welcomed into a new Malawian “banja” when our friend, Nefeeza, took us to her family’s home for her brother’s birthday BBQ.

Let me tell you, this BBQ was every bit as awesome as any backyard BBQ in the United States. We had all the fixins. There was BBQ chicken, huge T-bone steaks, grilled chambo (head to tail was all there), nsima, rice, Malawian potato salad, greens, coleslaw, and baked beans. It was all there, and there was more than enough to go around. (So much for losing weight in Africa.) We even finished our meal with homemade tapioca pudding, cake, and sweet Indian tea.

The food was fantastic. No question. We ate until we were all “dukuta” (full). The deliciousness of the food was surpassed only by the quality of the company. In addition to our usual crowd of SLIMers, minus Nick unfortunately, we were joined by Nefeezas sister, brother-in-law, cousin, brother, children, nieces, and nephews. Her daughter, Amara, was more than entertaining throughout the evening. She is a social three year old with big brown eyes and curly black hair. Nefeeza’s son is seven and a great soccer player; he gave Lauren a real workout. There were a whole mess of others who left to go to a soccer game, and so little Bilan, Nefeeza’s shy two year old nephew, stuck behind to hang out with us. We stayed with her family all day. It really was great.

As night fell, we finally returned to our side of town, despite Amara’s request that we stay over for a slumber party. We got back just in time for the big Manchester United/ Barcelona soccer game. I actually passed out in my room and, subsequently, missed the entire game. However, I have heard a lot about it. Apparently, ManU is the local favorite team. Anyone who follows soccer knows that Barcelona won, and so, needless to say, there were many not too happy Malawians walking around that night. Even though the locals did not like what they saw, the rest of our troop enjoyed watching the game at our nearby watering hole, Club Inferno. It’s not as ominous as it sounds; it’s really just a small sports pub, and a friendly reminder of home.

Exhausted from the day and the excitement of the game, everyone returned to the lodge for a good night’s sleep.

Ross Morgan

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