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I'm from Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi. It's very hot in my country and you feel a huge difference withIrelandthe moment you step out of the plane. My first impression ofDublinwas that it is very fast and so packed, it's crazy! I was amazed to see so many people in the streets all around me. But at the same time there are plenty of things here that remind me of home. Ireland is very green, just like Malawi. I'm also Catholic and in Dublin I can find a Catholic church on any street!
Malawi is a small country and our people are very friendly. We have never had wars, we are one of the most peaceful countries inAfrica. But Malawi is also quite poor - currently we are the ninth least developed nation in the world. I think some responsibility for this lies with our former president, who became like a dictator during his last term. For example, one of his ministers wanted to introduce a law to ban, umm... breaking wind in public, but he didn't succeed. Who does that kind of thing? Last year we also had fuel shortages and motorists had to queue for up to three days to get petrol! There was no foreign currency too and many things were scarce. But in April this year our former president died and actually most people were quite happy! Our new president is a woman called Joyce Banda and she is changing Malawifor the better so things are looking up for our country. For example, they've just built the first 5 star hotel in Malawi. It's beautiful, better than anything I've seen here!
There's quite a lot of Irish people in Malawi. We have a lot of Irish pubs, we also celebrate St Patrick's Day. I think the Irish are similar to Malawian people. They're laid back and they take the day as it comes. The Irish are very friendly and I've seen many examples of this here inDublin. For example, once we were going home to Leixlip from work - we worked in Maynooth College at the time. But we lost our train ticket. So we decided to walk home and it's about an hour on foot! We started walking and we noticed that a police car passed us and then it came back and stopped. A Garda officer asked us where we were going and then said: are you insane? He explained that the road had no sidewalks and it would be dangerous to walk all the way. He offered us a lift. On the way we made friends with the officers, they were very nice people. When we arrived the neighbours saw us coming out of the Garda car and wondered what we did. That day we were the talk of the village!
There's quite a lot of Malawians in Irelandat the moment. There is a Malawian community organisation that has a president and a vice-president, but we're not involved in it. They even held a Miss Malawi Ireland contest recently, but we didn't participate. Most people inMalawispeak English so it's easy for us to integrate in Ireland. Our community was shocked after the murder of a Malawian student Rudo Mawere in Dublin this February. The girl's body was found inside a travel bag beside some rubbish bins. The killer was not fromMalawi, so after this happened I think we became mistrustful of foreigners. For me personally, I am afraid to walk in the streets of Dublin alone. At home you know which places you can visit and which places you should avoid, but here you don't really know about anything.
Apart from the weather I really miss food from home. In shops in Dublin you find mostly processed foods which I don't really like. The traditional food inMalawiis called nsima or pap - it's made of maize or cassava flour. It's a bit like mashed potatoes, but tastier. It's lovely with a beef stew and I really miss it! I also miss a type of fish found in Malawi- chambo. It has been very hard to adjust to the weather here, I also miss my family and my pets, but I always keep my chin up and tell myself that if everything and every place in the world were the same, life wouldn't be exciting. For me, coming to Ireland was worth it. It has been an amazing experience, and I am yet to experience more!