While my progression in mastering the chichewa language is very slow, there are some words and sentences that stuck. This time I wanted to share a saying which is typical for life here: pang’ono pang’ono. It translates loosely into ‘little by little’ or ‘with baby steps’.
A man alongside the road has already said it to us when the roads were quite bad because of the rains. Slowly we were driving through mud and large pits in the road, however an old man smiled genuinely and encouraged us: ‘pang’ono pang’ono!’ he meant that we would get to our destination eventually, as long as we would not stop. A lovely saying.
Sometimes days or weeks pass where we have the feeling that we are not really progressing with the construction of the houses. When people back in the Netherlands asked us for pictures we often realised we had not taken many for a while, simply because there were so few new things to show. This was especially the case when we were working on electricity and the water pipes (the pipes are in the ground now, but unfortunately we did not get the pump to work so we don’t have running water yet). Now all those pipes have disappeared in the ground again and on the pictures you cannot see that there is now power on the sockets. Electricity was a big step though! We now have a fridge, can cook without building a fire and we can charge phone – both our own as the phones of all our employees.
But suddenly it was the day on which the doors and windows were installed. We have made many pictures again! These kind of moments are a reminder to me that – even though we don’t always see it – we are still progressing with baby steps: pang’ono pang’ono.