Malawian music taking Panamanian stages in WYD Panama

By Francesca Merlo

Amongst the pilgrims from all over the world visiting Panama for World Youth Day is the Alleluya Band Malawi, who have come bearing gifts and sharing their music.

Every year, for the past 7 years, Coss Chiwalo has represented Malawi at World Youth Days around the world. And every year he learns a lesson that he takes back to other young Catholics on the African continent.

A first for all
So far, says Coss, Panama 2019 has been “very fantastic”. What he is particularly happy about is the fact that Panama seems even further away from his hometown than Europe. He’s been to Italy numerous times but it is the “first time people of Panama will be able to experience our culture”, he says, the Malawian culture.

To love to learn
Lessons given and lessons learnt, it seems Coss loves to teach and loves to learn. Perhaps he has the love for teaching that every teacher should have: the kind that makes the student want to learn. And perhaps that is why one year ago, when Coss Chiwalo visited the Vatican with his African drum, Pope Francis asked Coss to teach him “how to play African drums”.

This personal encounter Coss had with the Pope, he says, is what makes him “always very happy, to be here with Pope Francesco”, he says, having picked up the Pope’s Italian name on one of his many trips to the Vatican.

Intangible memories
Blessings, another young Malawian travelling with Coss, also loves the lessons that come from human interactions. His greatest memory so far (and there is still a long way to go before reaching the end) is that he has “interacted with so many people”. He emphasises that it is, in fact, “very, very important to interract with people”. Travelling, knowing each other, and exchanging “ways of God, so that we can improve our spiritual lives”.

These pilgrims exchange thoughts and feelings, and not only the usual material memories, the gifts that the pilgrim tradition calls for. Their gift to this correspondent were two CDs of their own music, recognisable by both Blessing’s and Coss’ faces on the cover of one album, and the face of Pope Francis playing Coss’ African drum as he looks him in the eyes on the other. Perhaps this music is the best way to share both their beloved thoughts and feelings that come from human interraction and the tradition of their beloved country.

Alleluya Band Malawi
This music, so beautifully recorded by Alleluya Band Malawi, is yet another wonder that these young Malawians have brought to Panama. They perform it in the traditional dress that Coss says “attracts so much attention” in Panama’s Parco Bazzara on Wednesday evening.

Young Africans, wearing animal skins and carrying bows and arrows as they sing original African, Catholic hymns, is surely something new to the Panamanian stages and the thousands of pilgrims who have travelled from all around the world. Another day, another lesson.

Source Vatican News

Malawi Needs Women, Youth for Economic, Church, and Society Growth

By Nyasa Times Reporter

The CCAP Synod of Livingstonia’s Church and Society says Malawi needs to invest massively in youths and women if its goal of realising social-economic and political growth is to achieved.

Happy Mhango, monitoring, evaluation and learning manager at Church and Society said in Karonga ahead of a 10 year long multimillion kwacha project the society is going to implement in the districts of Karonga and Rumphi.

Making a presentation under the theme ‘children, youth and community for change’, Mhango said the project will be implemented in the areas of Traditional Authorities (Taa) Wansambo in Karonga and Mlowe and Chapinduka in Rumphi.

According to Mhango, youths and women are key to any country’s economic growth hence the idea for the project with an objective of empowering them.

“Women and youths have been undermined big time to such an extent that their input towards the country’s economic growth has not been felt and appreciated. This project will ensure that they are empowered,” said Mhango in an interview.

He added: “Our goal to give the youths and women opportunities to be involved in economic activities like entrepreneurship and having access to social protection programs that are there and make sure children grow up in an environment where they are protected and are safe so that they realise their aspirations at the end of the day.”

Karonga district youth officer, Jessie Wasambo, said the 10 year project will “definitely change lives for the better.”

The project, which will begin with a baseline survey soon, is being funded by Transform Aid International.

Source Nyasa Times