The photo below is of my house in Area 18B Lilongwe while I was working at the Reserve Bank of Malawi (1993-95). This photo was taken a few days in January 1995 before I left for West Virginia, USA on January 21. My work colleagues used to make fun of my house that it was a “squash court” because it was the most empty house in the neighborhood.
The house only had a music system (a must for a young man), a refrigerator and deep freezer, a 2-coil (hotplate) floor stove, two Salima-made cane furniture chairs, two Chilinde-made beds and mattresses, and my clothes and those belonging to my house helper Gadson Chiponda from Dedza. I wonder where he is. I guess people expected an expensive sofa set, curtains, dining set and much more. Well, little did most of my colleagues know that during the whole of 1994 I had been saving half of my salary every month to send myself to graduate school in the USA in 1995. With those plans in place, there was no reason to stock up my house with all sorts of items as others expected; hence the “squash court”.
Other work colleagues even used to stop by now and then as if they were just visiting but I was informed that some of the visits were not genuine visits. They were just to confirm the rumors that were swirling around about one “weird graduate” whose house was almost an “empty” shell. Apparently some were asking “koma mwati ameneyudi ndi graduate” (is this guy really a graduate?). Well, well.That green baby parked outside The “Squash Court”. Oh my! I loved that car. A 1974 Datsun 1200, registration number BF 1167 which was nicknamed The “Stonewash”. Some of my work colleagues used mock the car as having shingles on the front passenger’s door. It was just rust. These friends were mocking the car even though they were hitching rides in the same Stonewash on regular basis. One of my mechanics lost my car floor mats and with that empty floor, one would see the ground. They would make fun of that as well. I took it in stride and we laughed it off as our baby took us to our destinations. In hind sight, I think I should have kicked off one or two for biting the car that they were given a ride in.
We had major adventure with this baby. We used to overload this vehicle while shuttling to Sunday Jazz afternoon sessions between Capital City Motel and Kalikuti Hotel or shuttling between Hollywood, Lingadzi Inn and Lilongwe Hotel, or dropping off my fellow Lilongwe Pacers basketball players from Falls Estates to Kawale to Area 49 in Lilongwe, or dropping off volleyball players across Lilongwe City when I was Team Manager for Silver Strikers Volleyball team. This baby took very good care of us while racking up loads of kilometers. We loved that car. I wonder where that baby is today.