Jayne and Sam in Malawi!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Happiness Is....

…..Sam’s new best friend! We have a new house girl at the house; her name is Happiness. As you know, I have been trying to find someone who can be at the house during the day – not just to give some help with the cleaning etc, but to keep an eye on Sam and to add some security to the place in my absence. Finding the right person has proved difficult though – and it’s all Sam’s fault! He seems to scare people; I honestly don’t know why. It doesn't help that he bounces such a lot though! Malawian dogs don’t bounce. They pace and roam – usually in a leisurely, but quite menacing fashion! Of course dogs here are generally kept for the purpose of guarding property. They fill a very functional role and their owners don’t really have what we would call ‘a relationship’ with them. Obviously in the UK, we are hugely sentimental about our pets; we see them as part of our families - say that to a Malawian and he/she will look at you as if you are crazy! When people see me out with Sam, they simply cannot understand how I treat him – patting and stroking him, talking to him etc. This is one of the best examples I can give you of the vast cultural differences that exist here; so many things that are part and parcel of life in the UK, are completely alien here – and vice versa of course.

However, because of the nature of their role – which is ultimately to be aggressive - many people here are actually quite fearful when they see a dog. So it isn’t really Sam’s fault that most people are very nervous of him. However, it has meant that my search for someone to look after him has been a big challenge. Finding Happiness, has been a wonderful blessing; not only is she unafraid of dogs, but she actually likes them. Amazing. She gets on really well with Sam and sees him for what he is – a dog with his own unique character and personality – a scruffy little boy who just wants to be loved and who wants to give love. It makes the most wonderful difference knowing that there is someone at the house during the day who can keep the place secure and who can give Sam some companionship. It is a huge step forward.

Unfortunately, my house hunting has been less successful; as I write, nothing has turned up. It is amazing how quickly the time is slipping away – I can’t believe that we are in the middle of May already; gosh, it will soon be Christmas! Before then of course, it will be the World Cup and the momentum is really building here. Football is huge in Malawi and many people support British teams. For instance, McDonald – my Deputy Manager - supports Chelsea and was over the moon when they won the League title last week. Ironically, some of my most enjoyable conversations here have been on the subject of football – something I care very little about. There will be enormous interest here in the England squad during the World Cup, although I keep telling people – expert football pundit that I am - that they have absolutely zero chance of actually winning it. I was thinking that if I were home at the moment, such a comment would - more likely than not - be met with enthusiastic agreement. In fact, I was trying to explain this subject to MacDonald recently – i.e. the very special relationship that exists between England and Scotland when it comes to issue of football. He couldn’t understand it and quite frankly, neither can I really. Why is it that English and Scottish football fans – who are after all, part of the same country – cannot bring themselves to support one another when their teams are playing in tournaments? For example, a friend of mine – who is Scottish and a passionate supporter of Celtic – has already emailed me to say that he has got his ‘Any Team But England’ T Shirt prepared for wearing throughout the World Cup competition! On the face of it, this sounds very comical, but I know full well that he is deadly serious. Friendly rivalry between the two teams? Not on your life. There are some deep felt and very nasty emotions/feelings floating around. It’s a real shame. If England were to win, I suspect that the fall out would be enormous; it’s probably a very good thing that the squad is full of players who are more interested in their hair and their appearance than in the business of being professional sportsmen.

On the subject of individuals who are pre-occupied with their hair and their appearance, I am doing just fine thank you! Fortunately, my hair has always grown quite quickly and so I’m hoping that things will be back to normal by the end of June – the end of July at the latest. I still look pretty awful, but at least I can look in the mirror without wincing too much now. That’s real progress believe me.

I’m hoping that when I next write, I will be reporting that I have found Sam and I somewhere new to live. In the mean time, we would be very grateful for your prayers on this issue; they can move mountains! Thank you.

God Bless

Jayne and Sam