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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Beige Malawian

A staple article of clothing for a Malawian woman is a chitenje.  This is a brightly colored piece of fabric that is sold in 2 meter increments and worn over a regular skirt.  This outer, wrap around skirt is used as an apron, a basket, a baby carrier, as well as many other uses.  I recently purchased a chitenje from the market and took it to a tailor where I had an ankle length skirt made. I wore the skirt to work today and it was so nice to wear something that was authentic.  I loved the compliments I received from coworkers and will definitely keep an eye out for more fabric.  My favorite compliment however; came from one of my students.  He is Malawian and when he walked in, he gave me a hug and said I looked pretty.  He then proceeded to tell me that I look like a beige Malawian.  I absolutely loved it and couldn't believe that a first grader had said this!  It made me smile and reminded me of the importance of culture.  I know he had no idea how much this comment meant to me (not only for the smile) but because it made me feel so thankful for the love I feel from those around me.  Malawi is known as the warm heart of Africa and I am finding that to be true through everyone that I meet. I am truly blessed to be able to experience the kindness and love of the people here.  I know my first chitenje was used to make a skirt that I can actually zipper and wear to teach in.  I will try and work my way up to just wrapping the fabric around me and maybe even putting it to use like the amazing women of Malawi do.  For now, I will smile whenever I wear my skirt for it gave me the title of "beige Malawian!"

1 comment:

  1. You can carry my kid around in your next one any day!!! It is nice to see you, the warm heart from America, living in the warm heart of Africa. You're well suited to each other! xo