By Charles Leyman Kachitsa
There is a marked difference between how western culture and the culture that I grew up in treat home visitors. In Malawi, Africa where I originated from, we grew up with the belief that home visitors bring blessings to the family. Of course this is pre Corona Virus era belief though may still be that in Malawi probably it does not matter.
Growing up memory comes to mind when as children we now and again had to shift our sleeping place in the house to accommodate visitors especially those who would have come from the village. When they came you never knew when they will be going back, it was not polite then to ask a visitor as to when they will be going back. There was/ is a proverb that emphasised that you don’t ask your home visitor about the duration of their stay that went like; “A visitor is like morning dew which quickly evaporates – (Mulendo mdi mame sachedwa kukamuka)”. This was in the belief that they normally would stay not more than three days almost, however, if I recall some in our case were staying more than a month. By visitor in the Malawi cultural case I do not mean immediate family members/ relatives, it is mostly distance relations or family associates of relatives; thus proper visitors or sometimes those called guests.
If you have ever watched a football match of teams in the West, you would have noticed that the visiting team would not normally put on their traditional colours and also they will have restrictions as to the number of supporters they can bring in as a visitor. This is not to mention the intimidation they are subjected to as a visiting team through abusive rhetoric from home team supporters. It therefore becomes a thing to celebrate more when a team wins a game as a visiting team. That experience of a visiting team is the same that you may have to endure if you are visiting another ones home in Western culture (I am not speaking of other cultures I do not know). For a start you can not visit one without giving them advance notice and also even after the notice, you need phoning them before you start off on the visit. In Malawi as far as I recall notices were/ are not necessary, one would visit another any time they will, it generally is still the case now.
In our case as a family though in the West, we still have kept to our tradition of welcoming any visitor with or without notice. If you came food is almost prepared in anticipation that we may have a visitor which usually is kept in case we have them after we have had a meal ourselves. The only exception perhaps is that we will not give you control of the TV remote controls as we never would like your taste of things you watch, remember that. Contrast this, the TV remote issue in Malawi, you would normally politely give a visitor the remote immediately they come for them to choose whatever they want to watch with the host silently joining in no matter their taste.
The quotations this week are from a book that when read will get you deeper in defining life skills and individual purposes. I am sure the extracts from the book will open up your mind to one or two positive lessons for impactful living, read and enjoy:
THE STRANGEST SECRET IN THE WORLD by Earl Nightingale
“The late Nobel prize-winning Dr. Albert Schweitzer was once asked, ‘Doctor, what is wrong with men today?’ The great doctor was silent a moment, and then he said, ‘Men simply do not think!’ —————- We live today in a golden age. This is an era that humanity has looked forward to, dreamed of, and worked toward for thousands of years. But since it is here we pretty well take it for granted. We are fortunate to live in the richest era that ever existed on the face of the earth. A land of abundant opportunity for everyone. ….”
“Rollo May, the distinguished psychiatrist, wrote in his wonderful book called: ‘Man’s Search for Himself’. ‘The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice – it is conformity.’ ——– And there you have the trouble today; the reason for so many failures. Conformity ….. people acting like everyone else, without knowing why or without knowing where they are going. —– Why do people conform? …. Well, they really don’t know. Most people seem to believe their lives are shaped by circumstances, by things that happen to them by exterior forces. They are outer directed people.”
“A survey was made one time that covered a lot of people, working people. These people were asked, ‘Why do you work?’ Why do you get up in the morning?’ 19 out of 20 had no idea. ——– If you press them they will say, ‘Everyone goes to work in the morning.’ And that is the reason they do it – because everyone else is doing it. ——-Now let’s get back to our definition of success. Who succeeds? The only person who succeeds is the person who is progressively realising a worthy ideal. It is the person who says, ‘I am going to become this’, and then begins to work towards that goal. …….. A success is the school teacher who is teaching school because that’s what he or she wants to do.”
“GOALS —– Think of a ship leaving a harbour…. Think of it with the complete voyage mapped out and planned. The captain and crew know exactly where the ship is going and how long it will take – it has a definite goal. And 9,999 times out of 10,000, it will get to where it started out to get. —– Now let’s take another ship, just like the first, only let’s not put a crew on it, or a captain at the helm. Let’s give it no aiming point, no goal, and no destination. We just start the engines and let it go. I think you’ll agree with me that if it gets out of the harbour at all, it will either sink or wind up on some deserted beach – a derelict. It can’t go any place because it has no destination and no guidance. ——– It’s the same with a human being.”
“Here is the key to success, and, the key to failure. —— ‘We become what we think about’. ——– Throughout history, the great wise men and teachers, philosophers, and prophets have disagreed with one another on many different things. It is only on this one point that they are in complete and unanimous agreement – the key to success and the key to failure is this: —– ‘We become what we think about’.“