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Choreographer Anna Watkins trip to Malawi

My idea is to go to Namibia to do some teaching and hopefully perform there with my company. I am currently in Malawi, I arrived a week ago. When I first walked off the plane there were many children greeting us which was their field trip/day out, lots of happy faces. The airport is quite small and intimate, there is a lot of trust here. So then I got a taxi to where I am stayingg, my first impressions was absolutely amazing and overwhelming, so much culture already passing by. I noticed the woman carrying the buckets of water, men pushing bicycles full of charcoal, which look very heavy, small children selling sugar cane, tomatoes and cucumbers. I saw a man fixing a bicycle which is not something you see on the side of a busy road everyday. After seeing what I saw on the street where I am staying which is on the lower scale of accommodation it does not makes sense that this building is in the middle of the rural.
Everyday so far I have eaten Sadza which in Malawi they call Nsima. This a very traditional southern african meal.
 
A local was taking me around and for me some things were a culture but I seemed to be aware already that it was surprisingly normal to me from seeing on TV but obviously very differnet in real life. I saw some run down outdoor theatres which are amazing though and great place to perform. We went to a Museum which was full of history and culture, learnt a lot about africa and their traditions. Something I really do respect is the way they believe man and woman should treat one another. The men tell so much respect of a woman and the families make sure the women fulfill that repsect and pedal stool. At the museum I also looked at Gule Wamkulu. Gule Wamkulu is initiation of a boy to a man and a girl to a woman and to be repsected in their community. Not just that they have got a very dark side of how a typical witch craft juju as it is known in africa. I was lucky enough to meet the Chief of the tribe and he was happy to welcome me, they organised a performance for us. The performance for me was amazing, some fantastic dancers and great singing, the most inspirational atmosphere.
Today I walked through the slums which was completely overwhelming and emotional, it is exactly like 'Slum Dog Millionaire'. It is hard to explain the feeling until you have felt it. I was feeling fear, sadness and wanting to help but wouldn't know where to start. Washing clothes in the dirty water, drunk men who are very intimidating and forcefull. Walking back to go catch the local mini bus, children shout out to me " Mzungu" which means white person. This is something that everywhere I go is shouted and one group of children were singing it to me and waving and thumbs up, with their intention of saying hello! Where we walked today it is rare for them to see a white person walking there. It is very confusing how there is slums one side of you and then you look the other side and there are expensive houses, it is hard to get a grips of.
 
I have seen so much and I still have a week left, so much more to see, it is so inspirational and I feel very happy I made this trip as a person and as an artist I am learning so much.
 

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