In the “west” gearing up to Christmas usually means over-laden trolleys crammed with festive fare, bristling crowds, frantic shopping and stress.
Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world—how do they see it?
“Differently” is the immediate answer. In the remote areas around our Aid Africa Centre, Christianity is a core value, so Jesus’ birth is central to the celebrations. It’s a very special day— if they have any, all ages put on their best clothes, gathering together to enjoy community dances after eating good food.
But it’s all relative. Good food? Once I asked one of the ladies what her family would eat on this special day? At great cost, she delightedly provided me with a sample, as shown here. It’s a meal many there would aspire to - rice, and the rare-for-most treat of a rather scrawny chicken leg, garnished with fresh tomato sauce.
No sign of a celebrity chef’s latest concoction, mince pies or Christmas pud, nor crashing out in front of the TV afterwards—not much electricity in mud houses! No sign of a dishwasher, not even a tap with running water to wash plates—it all has to be carried some distance in a bucket. Many in the remote areas have never seen a supermarket, nor travelled in a car, so their only preparation is trying to get some piece-work to earn a little money for food and clothing. No extravagant gifts for children, scornfully discarded as the batteries run out - it’s just a joy to eat so well on that day!