WOTD: Zinyalala

Chichewa word of the day: Zinyalala

Meaning: Rubbish / Litter / Trash / Garbage

Littering is a problem here in Malawi. Especially in urban or densely populated areas. The small blue plastic bags (called jumbos in Chichewa) can be seen everywhere. Caught in the branches of trees and bushes. Clogging up the drains by the side of roads.

We’re forever asking our kids to help tidy up the neighbourhood – see Operation Lap Sap. Broken glass, rusty tins everywhere isn’t a nice environment to even see. Never mind play in, with bare feet! One of our kids, young Danny, cut his foot when helping to collect rubbish two weeks ago. We treated it accordingly but I felt quite guilty.

Last week, after almost a year of living in Lilongwe, we used the city council’s rubbish collection service for the very first time. It’s not publicised anywhere and we only noticed that another resident in our neighbourhood puts out a small bin every Monday morning. So we finally organised ourselves to follow suit. Sure enough, two big bags of our rubbish disappeared by Monday evening when we returned home from work.

Yesterday was the start of our 3 month pilot of iHRIS in Malawi. I was at Kamuzu Central Hospital, one of three pilot sites, and saw this message painted on many of the walls along the corridors and had to take a picture. I will be printing this and posting in our Breakfast Club classroom and around the neighbourhood.

Malawians, please stop littering!

Meaning: Do not litter anywhere

Meaning: Do not litter anywhere

Categories: Healthcare, Malawi, Volunteering, VSO, Work | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “WOTD: Zinyalala

  1. maybe it’s a lack of resources that stops the councils from cleaning up the streets? Even in Britain, some councils have had to change from their weekly rubbish collections, and only collect rubbish fortnightly…


    • That definitely comes into it. Having no where to dispose your rubbish is a sure fire way to encourage people to litter. Digging rubbish pits isn’t fun! Burning everything is the normal practise here. Which pollutes and doesn’t get rid of glass or tin.


  2. Pingback: A to Z: J is for… | Herman is Out of the Office

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