You can only get to know a country by meeting its locals.
May I introduce you to Samson, a local from Malawi.
Go for your dream
He prepared the most delicious Fish Curry I have ever had. Samson, 40 years old, is one of the chefs at the hostel “The Funky Cichlid” at Cape Maclear, Malawi’s version of the Cote d Azure at the southern end of Lake Malawi. He was born and raised in Blantyre, a city in the south of Malawi. Samson´s parents were brought up in Malawi too. Back in the days his father was a manager of a farm, where they grew maize and tobacco. Tobacco production in Malawi is one of the nation’s largest sources of income whereas maize is the base for the stable food “Nsima”, a porridge made of maize meal. Samson had a strong connection with his uncle. He used to work for a family in Zimbabwe and prepared food for them. Whenever his uncle visited Samson and his family he taught Samson how to cook. By that time Samson was only 10 years old but he already realised that he had a passion for cooking. Encouraged by his uncle Samson became more and more serious about starting a career in hotel management. His parents wanted him to do a course in purchasing and supplying instead but Samson decided to go for his dream.
The fortune of receiving a proper education
After secondary school Samson started a 1 year course in Hotel Management and carried on with his diploma for another 3 years. When Samson studied, education was still affordable in Malawi. In 2015 the Malawian government released new laws and higher education became really expensive. Whereas primary education is still free in Malawi, secondary education and going to a university has to be paid for and can only be afforded by rich families. After his studies Samson worked in different hotels and lodges to gain some work experience. In 2015 the owner of a lodge at Cape Maclear wanted Samson to open the kitchen in his new lodge. In this position he trained the kitchen staff and waiters. In 2016 Samson started as one of the chefs at the hostel “The Funky Cichlid”.
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Having dreams is important
Together with his wife Beatrice and their 3 children Paul (10), Precious (6) and Plais (3 years) Samson lives in a house at Cape Maclear. There is one room for him and his wife, one room for the kids and another one that is used as a kitchen/ living room. Samson loves to try out new recipes and is interested in learning about the world. I squeezed Samson like a lemon to get to know more about Malawi, it´s people and his life, the same he did with me as he was really keen to learn about Germany. Samson works 8 hours per day, 6 days a week. In his free time he enjoys reading. He visits the library regularly to discover new books. His favourite books are novels, he says, they inspire him to try out new recipes. Besides that, Samson enjoys playing and watching soccer (a popular hobby for most Malawians). He has many dreams. Travelling is one of them. For an average Malawian seeing the world is almost impossible. Samson would love to visit the U.K. one day because his guests shared good stories about this island nation in north western Europe.
Food plays an important role in Samson’s culture, however most of the time preparing food is only done by women. Samson hopes to change men’s attitude and perception towards cooking and to encourage them to start enjoying cooking as well. Samson also dreams of improvements in the Malawian economy and its impact in the world, with Malawi being one of the poorest countries in the world. If more and more people discover his beautiful home country it would help the people to live a better life one day.
Watch my vlog with Samson and see how to prepare a traditional Malawian dish – Fish Curry:
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