A few days ago, I was with my friend Imaan enjoying cold drinks at one of the close to home joints in Area 49, Lilongwe.
Macheza atafikapo, we reminded each other of the past, looking into different scenarios at school and elsewhere. It’s always amazing to sit down with people who travelled with you from time in-memorial and reminisce about different issues that happened.
A story that made us all laugh is how I met Q Malewezi. I always heard about Q Malewezi from different people and for different reasons. One of the reasons that stood out to me was that he was once a member of the Hip-Hop group, Real Elements which David Kalilani, Plan B and Marvel were all part of.
It was when I came across a youth magazine called Abstract Beats which I think Is the best things that happened to urban readers in Malawi. I enjoyed reading the book because the style of writing and how it was structured in general. In the magazine I learnt Q was the Editor In Chief. We finally connected on Facebook, and I told him how I appreciated his work and how I was motivated to become an urban writer myself. I told him I would love to meet him someday, just to have a chat and get to know different aspects of arts. He gave me his number and agreed to meet me at a time I would deem perfect.
I was in Blantyre then, running a small business selling drinks and eggs at Kameza Roundabout and I managed to raise some money and was geared to travel to Lilongwe to meet him. That’s where the story got very interesting.
I took a night Bus on Thursday, hoping to arrive in Lilongwe on Friday morning to meet Q and return back to Blantyre the following night. In those days, a night Bus was indeed a night Bus. It took the whole night to arrive in Lilongwe and once you got to the Bus depot, you would sleep there waiting for the sun to rise.
I left the Bus stop around 6AM and walked to area 14 where he stayed at the time. I was economical because I did not have a lot of money with me, so walking made perfect sense. While on my way, he texted me that something had come up and he would not be able to meet me on that day, but the following day, which would be Saturday. I told him I had no problem with that.
At this juncture, I had to make very difficult decisions on accommodation. I went to area 25 and found myself a Rest House to sleep that night. I remember very well, the bed was a built in structure with bricks and concrete. It’s what I could afford at the time and it worked perfectly. I washed my clothes and hung them to dry hoping to be in clean attire the following morning.
On Saturday, I got ready by 10 AM as I was supposed to check out by 11 AM. I walked to Area 14 again and got to the corner near Baptist church by 12 noon, however, I stopped by that corner and started chatting with a group of traders selling Sugar Canes and Ground nuts, which eventually ended up to be my lunch.
I did not want to go there at lunchtime so I waited till 2PM and I finally called him that I had arrived by the church. He gave me directions to his house until I arrived by his gate.
I went in the house and we finally started to talk about different things. I listened to every word he said, asked where I wanted more clarification and direction. We had a very good perfect two hours chat that till today I will never forget. I was faced with a very wise young man who spoke calmly and did not portray himself to be a scary force. He made me very comfortable and I was the happiest person.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end and this session had to end. I said goodbye and left.
It was when I was outside that I remembered I did not have enough money for transport back to Blantyre. Stress started eating me up, it this was already around 4PM.
I called my friend Imaan with the hope that he would do something and gladly, he was in town that day watching football at some joint which was close to the depot. He was supposed to be in school at that time, but for whatever reasons, he was right where I needed somebody to be.
I walked to where he was and by the time I got there, my shoe had completely finished due to walking. We made fun of it and bought slippers nearby which I used to get home the next day.
Highlights of the story:
I left home in Blantyre to meet someone in Lilongwe who inspired me
When he said I would meet him, I did not expose myself by begging money for transport, I gave myself a month to raise enough funds for the trip
When I got to Lilongwe, I did not express any poor character when he said he would not meet me on the day we agreed, I did not even complain that I had nowhere to sleep.
I arrived around lunch time at his place, although I was very hungry and would have loved to eat at his house, I waited by the corner for them to finish eating and only told him I was there around 2PM
I met him, I asked about everything I needed to know, he did most of the talking, after exhausting my time, I left without asking for any financial help even though I knew I did not have enough money to go back to Blantyre. I did not talk about my poverty, but rather my talents and aspirations.
In short, he did not know any challenges I was going through in life and on that particular trip.
We only talked about this day later in life during lunch at his house when I visited him again, this time, I was driving my own car, with enough fuel and money to eat and sleep anywhere I wanted. We laugh about it a lot, but that has been my character. I don’t like to get things the easy way and I don’t bother people with my problems.
Most of you go to people’s inboxes, tell them how much you admire them and all that, only to end up begging them. It shows your character and that is where you lose it all. People with money don’t like beggars. They like character, talents and solutions.