Malawi African Youth Choir tours the North Country

Their last concert will be the 22nd in Vermont. By the time this is in print they will be back in Mzuzu, Malawi with an adventure to share with their families.

On Wednesday evening July 18th the Youth Choir gave a concert at the Chazy Presbyterian Church. Church members welcomed them by hosting a pot luck dinner in their honor. All in attendance attached name tags to their shirts before filing into the buffet line. Choir members enjoyed trying to read the names of their hosts and visa versa, an activity that generated much laughter.

Eighteen-year-old Chimwemwe Kalua and Tammy Burrows, a Chazy resident and member of the Chazy Presbyterian Church, chatted throughout the dinner.

"Chimwemwe means happiness and is a very common name in Malawi," said Chimwemwe.

The two went on to discuss their families, their favorite foods and many other things. "One of my favorite dishes is pumpkin leaves," Chimwemwe said. "You boil the pumpkin leaves and then you fry them with onions and tomatoes."

This was the first time that Chimwemwe and any of the other youth had ever been on an airplane.

"I was frightened," she said.

What did she think about the United States?

"I want to live here all my life. Here in America life is very easy," she said.

"Technology is very high, you have good schools and there are many jobs," she said.

She listed poverty, lack of jobs, thieves and witchcraft as the biggest problems in Malawi. Her dream is to become a nurse, but there is no money to pay for her education, and no jobs to earn the money.

Life is hard in Malawi, but you would never guess it by the smiling faces of the choir members. Their faces were aglow with joy when they were introduced to the audience at the opening of the concert immediately following the dinner. Each member was dressed in an orange t-shirt and black pants or skirts.

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