Our first day in Lilongwe we stopped to visit a memorial site for Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda, the first president of Malawi. The memorial included a large monument, photos of Dr. Banda, an empty casket that is the exact replica of the actual (it’s forbidden to visit the real one), and flowers. Stopping to visit the memorial in Lilongwe is similar to how U.S. residents would stop at the Washington Monument or Lincoln Memorial. It's a quiet place that represents the history and culture of Malawi.
Dr. Banda was initially the prime minister in 1964, but he became president in 1966 when Malawi became a republic. He was president until 1994.
At each corner of the monument is a pillar and written on the pillar is a word: Loyalty, Unity, Obedience, Discipline. These words make up the foundation of the Malawian culture. I joked with Gibozi that they were good words for parents to call out when talking with their children. He agreed.
We drove by a tall Memorial tower with a statue of Dr. Banda out front. After walking around it a tour guide ran over and introduced himself. He said he'd take us to the top of the tower if we wanted to look out over the city. So up we climbed! The view was amazing!
I’m so thankful we had the weekend in Lilongwe to sightsee and learn more about Malawi. Having that time to a) adjust to the time difference and b) experience the culture helped us prepare for the week of work ahead.