Sunday, July 25, 2010

Mbewa

Catching mice is a common activity for rural boys in much of Southern Africa. In Lesotho for example is a seasonal tradition and here in Malawi it appears to be quite common. I caught up with a few boys digging for mice – Mbewa- the other day. They were keen to show me their haul which they dig out of the rodents subterranean tunnels and pound them with cupped hands before the mice can make their escape. These are then roasted on sticks and enjoyed, although not yet by me....


These guys were quite keen to get their photograph taken with their prize. The gang was led by two feisty little guys who were clearly the ones making the decisions’. While taking some photos one grabbed my arm sharply and then indignantly said “Hey, I am not an orphan!” I must have looked confused at the his proclamation and he boldly restated “I am NOT an orphan!” to which his other precocious ring leader buddy said, “yes, me too, I am not an orphan...I have TWO parents! OK?”. Looking a bit annoyed with me I answered, “well I wasn’t here to know if you are orphans, I wanted to see what you were catching. I am also a hunter and want to see what you are hunting.” This seemed to impress them at which time he asked to have my camera... So I had my go at digging for mbewa, much to their amusement.