Step 1. Ask your boss for leave
Step 2. Book your holiday to Malawi with Malawian Style
Step 3. Learn some handy phrases in Chichewa, the local language
Step 4. Feel like a boss – you are now a Malawian’s ‘achimwene’ for life.
Those of you amateur globetrotters may find yourselves feeling a little anxious about travelling to an unfamiliar place, so far from home, and where you can’t speak the language. Well, first of all, English is the primary language spoken in Malawi so you can certainly get by, with many of the local people being able to understand and speak enough to help you out should you need it; but if you’re looking to impress, and make a few friends along the way, then learning a few words and phrases in Chichewa will get you far.
Now believe me when I say, Malawians are the friendliest, and I mean FRIENDLIEST, people around. Drop a few words in their local language and it will have them shrieking with joy and high-fiving your efforts. They are always ready for a laugh, a little chat, and an impromptu song and dance, and this easy-going and warm nature of her people is what makes Malawi one of the safest places to travel in Africa.
So, without further ado, here are a few of the most common Chichewa words or phrases that you are going to need on your holiday to Malawi:
Hello, how are you? Muli bwanji?
I’m fine and you? Ndili bwino, kaya inu?
I’m fine Ndili bwino
How are you? (informal) Boh boh? – Response: Boh
Thank you Zikomo
My friend Achimwene
I am going to… Ndikupita ku…
I want Ndikufuna
I don’t want Sindikufuna
How much is it? Ndalama zingati?
Where is… (person)? Ali kuti… (person)?
Where is… (something)? Chili kuti… (something)?
See you later Tiwonana
What’s great about Chichewa is that it is entirely phonetic, so everything is written just as it sounds. Another thing to note is that ‘R’s and ‘L’s kind of sound the same, so often ‘Gabriella’ can become ‘Gablierra’, ‘Chloe’ becomes ‘Chroe’ and ‘Rory’ becomes ‘Loly’!
Take a moment to familiarize yourself with a few of these words and phrases or print out this page to keep on hand for when the time comes.
A little bit of effort goes a long way and shows a level of respect for the country you are travelling in and its people. Connect with the Malawians around you on your holiday, it will enhance your experience in the best way and you will leave with a full heart, treasured memories and a few more Facebook friends!