I had a serious chocolate craving, so I went to the local msika (outdoor market). I ended up with these chocolate cookies, or as they call them here, chocolate biscuits. Biscuits, you ask? Well, let me explain.
Malawi used to be a British colony. While the country has been independent since the 1960s, you can still see subtle signs of the British in the culture and language here.
A few examples-- tea is quite popular, and oftentimes breaks are referred to as "tea breaks" (even though Fanta might be served instead). They drive on the left side of the road here, and the steering wheel is on the right side of the car. BBC News is on the television (so I've heard) and on the Malawian radio.
This photo is from my first week in Malawi when I was at the training center. Each day we had tea breaks with little snacks-- so nice.
English is one of the two official languages of Malawi, but the English they speak is closer to British English. (English English?) So french fries are chips, college is university and cookies are biscuits. Flashlights are torches, chalkboards are blackboards and erasers are dusters. To tune into the BBC station you would turn on your wireless. And I'm always having to check the textbook to make sure I use the local spellings for words like colour, haemoglobin and sulphur. Oh, and "herb" is pronounced with an "h".
I guess this is why whenever people meet me here, they usually assume I am British or Scottish. There are British VSO volunteers and Scottish church organizations in the area, so that's actually a reasonable assumption.
So how did I get on this topic? Oh yeah, chocolate biscuits. Everytime I say "chocolate biscuits" it brings a smile to my face because I think of this Eddie Izzard comedy bit where he tells the story of plane ride he took where they gave out cheap cookies. It's quite funny. I used to listen to that show over and over with my sister back when I was in college (or should I say, university). I think it was from his "Glorious" show. If you get a chance to listen to it, I recommend it.