PhD Journal Entry-Week Three

He coughed and corralled the rattle in his chest into her mouth and then ptui!-spat on the floor in a restaurant.

Imagine just how disgusting that is.

‘This is the beginning of the third journal entry, with a very disgusting habit I have seen some Chinese folks do. Spitting! I didn’t even know how bad it was until when I saw one sign in my dormitory elevator which read ‘keep clean and no spitting…’ I guess spitting is a big issue. I must say that I have not come across spitting on campus. It is usually when I am off campus that is how I hear someone cough, corral the rattle in the chest and then ptui! As a safety measure, I usually carry my headphone with me, blast the music so that I don’t hear this disgusting sound.

Despite the disgusting spitting, china offers one an opportunity to explore when it comes to food. Of course, thinking of the spitting sometimes, you start to overthink. What happens in the kitchen when the food is being prepared. Last Sunday, I tried hot and spicy clam, prawns, and lamb. Good food. I don’t think I enjoyed the taste of clam, and prawns to convince me to consider them to be part of my frequent foods. Nope! Looking for the next adventure to eat other foods. And I am open to suggestions.

I was formally welcomed by the Malawians association in Wuhan. It was a colourful event. I had the opportunity to meet most of the Malawians who are in Wuhan. The highlight for me was to meet one of the students I mentored in 2017.

‘Do you remember me sir?’-he asked

‘I am like no, please remind me’-I responded

‘You mentored me in 2017.’

You see, in 2017 Maphunziro265 organized a school leavers session targeting students who had just passed their MSCE. This session took place at Chinsapo. This guy was one of the students who attended. We talked about various local and international opportunities. I was more than happy to hear that in some way, what we shared during the Chinsapo session, some of the support he got from Maphunziro265 team, has helped him to get an opportunity to come to china. Currently, he is helping me with my Chinese. I will get into the Chinese issue later.

‘Ladies and gentlemen, in china, you cannot witness/evangelize anyhow. You will need to be very wise about it.’-Said one of the elders

Churching in china is something that requires the highest level of wisdom. There are designated places for worship, and you will have to go by that. Under the ten prohibitions for CCNU international students, two are related to religion and faith. ‘Number 2 and 3 read: no missionary work on campus and no religious activity or participation on campus.’ The fact that they dedicate two rules to religion and faith tells you how serious this issue is.

I asked around and I was told that there is a Wuhan International Christian Fellowship. This Sunday I managed to attend service. Wuhan has a vibrant youth church. It reminded me of the church at home. And the multinational nature of the church makes it a great place to fellowship. I like how the use of mobile money payment was one of the options of giving an offering. It made me start thinking about mobile money platforms in Malawi that could be used too. But then I started a debate within me on whether there is another reason for giving hard cash. I guess theologians can help me with this one.

In short, despite the restrictions in China, we are allowed to congregate and worship in designated buildings by the government and, at the designated times.

My running game is getting better by the day. I am now able to run for a straight 5kms without any stop. I have discovered a football pitch and it is the best place for a morning jog. My speed keeps increasing as well. I used to do about 9 minutes per kilometre but now I able to do the same below 7 minutes. And I believe when I master it, I should be able to cover 5kms in less than 30 minutes. Which works for the busy schedules that are coming soon.

Classes have started, and so far I am enrolled in 3 courses, Public Chinese, Chinese Culture and Education Psychology. The course that has been challenging for me has been Public Chinese aka the Chinese language. I remember getting into the first class, spending close to 2 hours, and left without picking anything. Literally ‘ndinamwetsa ndili m’momo.’ My overthinking mind started telling me to drop out of the class and do it later. I entertained the thought until I talked with a couple of people from Malawi and other countries, who also told me we were in the same boat. Folks who have done the class before, have given me guidance on some of the things that I have to do to get my Chinese right. And slowly, I have started following. And I am sure by the end of this month I will catchup.

The highlight of them all is that I have finally found ‘Ufa’ and I have been having my Nsima. Thanks to Malumbo, after seeing my last blog post, gave me directions on how I can get ‘Ufa’ in China. I followed her advice and the rest is history.