Fr Kelvin Ugwu wrote:

By Chinecherem Efobi

Someone said that I am getting too comfortable in Malawi.


Well, I hope it is not bad. Nonetheless, don’t blame me. I am having the rare opportunity of experiencing people and a way of living that is still at its simple and natural state.

The difference between my present parish and the place I was working before I was posted here is like the difference between 12 noon and 6pm.

I was working in the center of the busy Lagos. Shuttling around Ilaje, Bariga, Akoka and Yaba.

Everyone is on the fast lane in Lagos.

You will worry about the Danfo conductors climbing your legs in Pako junction in Akoka.

You will push your way around the market women and okirika sellers right in the middle of Bariga junction.

You will manoeuver your way through the crazy and smelling gutters of Ilaje to meet your fishermen parishioners speaking Egun.

You will drive through Akoka and Yaba watching your back because there will always, I mean always be one crazy thing awaiting you.

Then, just when you finished and return home to rest, you suddenly realize how you are surrounded with generator noise.

At your right, you will hear the loud voices of some very holy church people shouting their tongues out as they speak in throats.

Opposite it is the sounds from the horn speakers of a nearby mosque calling for prayers.

Then your room is hot as hell. You open the windows to see if fresh air will smile at you, only to be welcomed with the notification cry of the mosquitoes taking over for the night shift.

Somehow I got used to everything without knowing the effect it was having on me.

At some point I thought life is all about hustling. . . I started thinking that life is all about the amount of money you have, the type of cars you have, the place you live – Lekki or Bariga.

Majority of my parishioners then were all looking for breakthroughs. Once you put up a crusade or retreat and a “powerful man of God” is announced, you will see everyone there.

If you pray and you don’t shout, they will conclude that you are not a powerful priest.

What I was not aware of then was how everything was fueled by unnecessary competition.

For example, a friend came with a latest car to visit me in Lagos, I drove the car to see how it feels. . . After that day, I hated my own car. I was like: if only I can get this car, I will be very happy.

Those words: “if only” were actually the words of the devil.

When I arrived malawi, with no kobo to my name, I took time to look again at life. And in truth, all what we are looking for is peace of mind. This peace of mind comes with working at your own pace and with the simplest things in life that are free and with no unnecessary comparisons.

Picture: after mass today, these women prepared food for all to eat and thobwa (local beer) for all to drink.