Posts Tagged With: Rubbish

A to Z: J is for…

  • Jambo – Swahili word for hello. Used plenty during my trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar.
  • Jumbo – Chichewa word for the ubiquitous plastic bag! Earlier this year, the Government of Malawi banned the sale and use of thin plastic bags. But of course, this is Malawi… so there was considerable legal wrangling to overturn this! Officially, it’s an attempt to protect the environment and curb the scourge of littering which happens in most places. Expectedly so since there is no real working waste disposal system, even in the capital city of Lilongwe. So people (including volunteers and expats) resort to burying, or worse, burning all their rubbish (“zinyalala“).

    All in all, a good idea in principle, going by the progress made on this issue by Rwanda – The Country That Bans Plastic Bags.

    However, as my savvy fellow volunteer David pointed out, the way this was implemented with such a short notice, brought severe livelihoods challenges for many street traders. In most markets, you’d find an invariably young boy trying to sell you a jumbo to carry your fresh vegetables and other groceries. I wonder what’s happened to them and their “trade” now.

Rubbish, kids and a "freshy" / FOB Chinaman

Operation Lap Sap

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Categories: Malawi, Volunteering, VSO | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Operation Lap Sap


Lap Sap
垃圾, which means rubbish in Cantonese.

As far as I know, there is no public rubbish collection service here in Lilongwe. The type that involve dump trucks cruising round your neighbourhood at very early hours of the morning, operated by the local council. So unfortunately, there tends to be quite a lot of rubbish scattered around because there is just no where to dispose of them. Other than digging holes in the ground yourself, which is very low priority here.

So a couple of Sundays ago, I had the kids from my neighbourhood go round and pick up rubbish in our vicinity. It was more of an educational exercise as opposed to an actual mass clean up.

I bribed (read: motivated) them with sweets to get them started. Showed them what I wanted, which was picking up all the nasty rubbish items (plastics, rusty tins, broken glass, the ubiquitous plastic bag remnants etc.). Their reward was a “yogie” each (local yoghurt drink; rather nice).

Their incentive for keeping the neighbourhood clean was a football and smaller sponge/stress ball (which they love to play catch with, courtesy of my previous employer – DB), which I would take back if the neighbourhood became rubbish ridden again. So far, the regime seems to be working!

P.S. This is the first photo of me looking like a “freshy” after I had my shortest haircut ever – Grade 4 all over.

Rubbish, kids and a "freshy" / FOB Chinaman

Rubbish, kids and a “freshy” / FOB Chinaman

Categories: Malawi, Volunteering, VSO | Tags: , | 4 Comments

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