A Malawian child found playing in the rain will certainly have a case to answer to that evening to their parents. This is contrary to my new brothers and sisters from the UK who have survived the hot Malawian summer and are now enjoying the beginnings of the rainy season. Aged 18 and above, their culture considers them adults, which made it strange to see them laughing and cheering whilst walking barefoot, like poor prisoners in the heavy rains, especially when the locals took to their heels to find shelter.
Quite disturbed by this behaviour, the locals wondered how and why our friends don’t fear lightening. “Won’t these people get sick?”, everyone was asking. If you were to ask a six-year-old Malawian child about the dangers of walking in the rain, they would immediately respond that they would be afraid of falling sick. Even fully grown adults, fit and healthy strong men and women would agree with this response.
On the flipside, the UK volunteers have fears which seem shocking to us, cockroaches for example. One of the UK volunteers will literally scream and run away if they see a cockroach. They are harmless to us, yet still they are feared by our friends.
How can these people fear the unfeared? They fear cockroaches more than rain. This is only one example of our cultural differences, and I have learnt that although we fear different things, we still manage to work together.
Written by ICS volunteer Lucy Shumba