Thursday, January 19, 2012

Cultural Training in Ottawa with CCA

We arrived in Ottawa safe and sound and completed day 1 of our cultural training. The program is a little different this year, in the past, the returning 2nd year coaches would go to the same country and be the resource person for the 1st year coaches.  This year due to funding we were required to return to a different country so it brings in a little uncertainty...while I know what to expect this year as far as my role as a coach I really don't know all that much about Malawi, other than what I've read. So it was nice yesterday when we had the opportunity to visit with William, a Malawian who moved to Ottawa 12 years ago.

William was very open and honest with us as we asked very frank question of him about his country....being Canadian we don't usually ask such direct questions of a person when you are just meeting but you have to put that aside as we have so much to learn and William is our best resource. We learnt that they are 2 languages in Malawi (besides English) and as I will be posted in the North they speak Tubuka there and a common greeting is “Moni” which sounds like morning and they use it all throughout the day when greeting someone. I also learned that as a woman I should be respectful when meeting a man and to do this when we shake hands I am to grasp my shaking arm with my other hand and do a small curtsy....he helped me practice so I could get it just, that will be a first for me!

We also learned that in a business setting in Malawi it is expected that you would wear a suit jacket.....and while they would never say anything if you didn't have one it certainly wouldn't go unnoticed......who knew?! Certainly not Garth or I as we did not bring one of these from home, hopefully they will cut us some slack on this as we are foreigners.

All in all it was a great day and wonderful to have had the time to talk with William and gain some insight on his country......after meeting him and seeing first hand his warm, laid back nature I think I am starting to get what this "Warm Heart of Africa" is all about....I can hardly wait to experience it in person.....

Zikomo (thank you)
Heidi :)