Saturday, July 26, 2008

A Mother of Nine with Eight Different Fathers

8 July, Tuesday

Drove up to Ekwendeni with Billy in the driver's seat and a few other passengers in one of the older vehicles. Smaller dirt road than the one to Jenda, then tarmac up to Mzuzu and Ekwendeni.

Great interview with Mphatso Nguluwe, deputy principal at the College of Nursing in Ekwendeni. Just listened to a bit of the audio (which I backed up on the firewire drive). Good quality sound and everything. Also tagged along as she supervised a couple of student nurses in the hospital.

Just before we left, caught up with Esau Kasonda, a Malawian nurse who wrote an essay that was published on He's now teaching at the College of Nursing at Ekwendeni.

Mphatso talked about many things but two I want to remember most. The first is that she is, as she says, "the mother of nine children by eight different fathers" and the second is that she feels like she needs a break from teaching. She is getting frustrating it seems with the quality of the current crop of students.

What she means by saying she is the mother of nine kids by eight different fathers is that she is raising nine children. She actually has never given birth to a child herself. Was engaged to be married once but her fiancĂ© died in 2002—in South Africa. She talked briefly of grief and then wondered whether, had he lived, he would have allowed her to take care of so many children?

I also learned Mphatso likes to tell church groups and gatherings that she is the mother of nine with eight different fathers. And then when she hears a gasp or murmurs of disapproval she likes to say, "What? Aren't we in church? I thought I would not be judged in church."

What you might call a teachable moment.

We stopped at an internet café to update blog. After 45 minutes, nothing went through. Tried twice on Gmail and kept getting server errors. Not sure why. Wonder if Yahoo would have been simpler? Seems to be what everyone else is using.

No comments: