Visiting the children’s families is one of the nice activities we do when we get the chance to be in Nkhata Bay. Now that the children are older, this activity got not only easier but also more pleasant. We can organise everything with them directly. They are also the ones who translate for us whenever needed. Somehow this makes it more personal.
This time, to go and visit Gift’s grandparents, we had to obtain a special permission from the school. Gift is a boarder at school so normally he is not allowed to leave the school premises. Since everything was arranged a bit last minute, Gift’s grandparents didn’t know we were coming. This however didn’t spoil the atmosphere, rather the opposite.
Reaching Gift’s home is a long long walk, up and down the valleys, among banana and mango trees and next to many ovens where bricks are being cooked. That’s where Gift was working when we first met him back in 2015. And that’s where many of his uncles still work. We reached his house pretty tired. We were just happy to find some shadow under a mango tree at their house.
His grandparents were luckily both at home and really glad to see us coming. His grandpa received very happily a package of sugar we brought to them (together with some rice and cooking oil). He was also very proud to share with us that he is now the village chief. That is a very important position in an African village. He gets to be involved in disputes and all the big decisions that concern the life and the activities within the village. His carved chair and stick certainly were a symbol of his importance. The red hat the final touch!
Despite the difficulties with the language we chatted quite some with them. It was a very pleasant meeting at the end of which we received a huge bunch of fresh and sweet bananas.
During the walk to and from his house, Flavio also chatted a lot with Gift and discovered some more things about him. For example his favourite animal is the snake! Also, when old, he was to be a scientist, preferably something which has to do with physics.
At the end of the day, we were so hot and tired, we could just go for a drink together and then a swim.