|Wearing the KCN colours with pride|
On my first weekend in Malawi, Kamuzu College of Nursing had organised a football match with Salima Technical College, situated on the shores of Lake Malawi. Recognising the importance of integrating into the KCN, I (Michael) agreed to go on a road trip with a bus full of rowdy boys (and girls) to play football. It also sounded like a good laugh.
We assembled at 8am on board the ‘Mighty Torino’, KCN’s bus and flagship mode of transport and set off through the beautiful Malawi landscape.
We stopped off in Salima itself to buy snacks and supplies and I had my first glimpse of rural life. Upon the bus’s arrival, locals carrying armfuls of fruit and raffia headgear with a fervour that belied their desperation to capitalise on a much needed source of income, including one forlorn looking little boy who came up to me and tried to sell me a ragged page from an exercise book scrawled with various letters and numbers. Unsure how to react I and not wanting to show myself out as being an easy mark I mumbled some apologies and walked on, but in retrospect I wish I’d given him a few Kwacha.
|Kondwan, myself and Godwell before the off.|
We got stocked up then headed on to the campus at a place called Senga Bay which resembles a desert island, 100m from the shore of Lake Malawi, with fresh water breakers rolling in to the beach and the water a balmy temperature (or balmy enough for this Scotsman basking in Malawian ‘Winter’).
|The football pitch at Senga Bay|
We gathered for the football match and I was assigned position of Right Back, then I remembered I’d not played a proper game of football in at least 5 years. After a few simple passes left me wrong footed and sprinting after the ball, my team mates spared my blushes and kept me out of the play. I knew things weren’t improving when people were saying if I was tired I could come off, and eventually I got the order that I was being substituted for someone younger and more agile. I’d lasted about 20 minutes. Ah well, the game ended up a respectable 2-2 draw against strong opponents and no-one seemed to hold a grudge. Stuart, the KCN director of Sports summary was rather positive about my performance (‘quite fast but with poor co-ordination’).
The post-match bath was a dip in Lake Malawi then we had a stroll along the beach for a traditional meal of nsima, fish and beans, in an honest-to-goodness proper shack, where I was greeted with gasps of amazement, I don’t think they get many of my sort around here. The students of both colleges were incredibly friendly and I got know some great people within my first week of being here.