Entering Malawi – "Give me my money!"

Posted on 3 June 2009

The Malawian border was absolutely hassle free. Marc and I had all our ducks in a row and sailed through. We were in another country. Hello Malawi! We camped in the border town of Dedza. It is the highest town in Malawi, good to know when you cycling away from it. We froze that night, and by morning we had layered on our clothes for warmth. A very sudden change from lovely warm Mozambique. We set off on a late start, thanks to the cold, to Lilongwe.

It all started then.

“Mzungu!”It starts as a call.

“Mzungu!!” It starts to echo around and repeat itself in distant calls.

“Mzungu!!!” Its now a chorus of childrens screams all around you.

You keep pedaling and they start running into the road in front of you, hands palmed open.

“Give a me my money!!” They start to shout.

For a moment you actually think you do owe them money, but then the shock wears off and you keep your line on the road.

It is relentless. Everywhere you go, you are plagued with the “give me” virus. No polite pleases, just a very abrupt “give a me”.

All of this is not from older kids. Shockingly enough it is from kids aged 4 to 10 years old. The question we have asked is where the hell did they learn this nonsense. There have been some really funny ones too.

Imagine a four year old screaming: “Give a me your dollar!”, while cycling past. You starts laughing so hard in disbelief that you end up all over the road.

Some other precious ones are: “Give a me your pants!”

“Give a me your bike!”

“Give a me your shoes!”

You also get the frustrated toddler that can’t think of what to say, so he just screams to make himself heard.

It is apparently a new thing to pop up in Malawi, but it is definitely irritating and the elders are concerned that it is ruining many tourist perspective on Malawi.

All in all Malawi so far has been amazing and to every problem is a solution.

Our solution to the “Give me” virus.

Turn up your ipod.

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