When I got to the fig tree near the barbershop where we played bawo someone

When i got to the fig tree near the barbershop where

This preview shows page 36 - 37 out of 126 pages.

my realizing he was there. When I got to the fig tree near the barbershop where we played bawo, someone pointed and laughed. “Why do you need this dog behind you?” they said. “I don’t see any rabbits or birds around. Are you going hunting in the market?” The other boys started laughing too. It was embarrassing. After that, whenever Khamba tried to follow, I had to get mean. I cursed and shouted, but of course, he never listened. After a few meters, I had to pick up a small stone and hurl it toward his head. “Now leave me alone!” After a few times, he got the message. He’d still come to the trading center on his own, usually during July mating season, when the female dogs were in heat and roaming the villages. He’d see me and gallop over, wagging his long tail. I’d always stop him short. “Get!” I’d shout, kicking the dust to scare him before anyone saw me. Also, as I got older, the day-to-day fate of the MTL Nomads no longer determined my moods and emotions. Throughout my life, the Nomads had been more than men. I listened to every game on Radio One and imagined them as giants. When the Nomads lost—especially to Big Bullets— I became so upset I couldn’t even eat supper, not even if my mother served chicken, and I loved chicken. This following had become an obsession. During a game that year with Big Bullets, my heart started beating so quickly I was convinced I was dying (I think they’re called anxiety attacks). I thought, What am I doing to myself? Soccer is too stressful for my health. After that, I sort of stopped following the game altogether. A ROUND THIS SAME TIME, Geoffrey and I started taking apart some old broken radios to see what was inside, and we began figuring out how they worked so we could fix them. In Malawi and most parts of Africa that don’t have electricity for television, the radio is our only connection to the world outside the village. In most places you go, whether it’s the deepest bush, or the busy streets of the city, you’ll see people listening to small, handheld radios. You’ll hear Malawian reggae or American rhythm and blues from Radio Two in Blantyre, or Chichewa gospel choirs and church sermons from Lilongwe. Ever since the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation began, around the time of independence, Malawians have thought of their radios like members of their families. My father talked about the early days of MBC and hearing Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers from America and the wonderful sounds of Robert Fumulani. Back then, agriculture programs were very popular, and my father remembers President Banda—Farmer Number One—reminding everyone to clear fields, dig ridges, and plant before the rains, saying that doing so would make Malawians happy and successful. He also reminded people to apply manure! And for me growing up, I’ll always remember listening to the Sunday sermons of Shadreck Wame from the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian in Lilongwe, followed by the Sunday Top Twenty.
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  • Spring '18
  • fake name
  • Boy, old man, Malawi, chief

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